December 2022 newsletter
Ann Greig, El Salvador
Advent blessings to all of you!
The Soy Program is closing here in San Ramón as 2022 ends. Melissa, Pete and I are excited to begin a new chapter in Zaragoza in 2023.
This is the season of preparation, waiting and joy. It is by no means an easy moment to say goodbye to beneficiaries whom I have walked with and accompanied during these last 28 years. There is a cluster of emotions; it is sad to say goodbye.
Joy, collected over time, fuels resilience ensuring we’ll have reservoirs of emotional strength when hard things do happen.
—Author Brene Brown.
Every Monday we offer baked soy products. During these years of serving Salvadorans, it has been endlessly inspiring to see the look of happiness on the faces of the children. Especially when it is soy cake, pancakes or banana bread. The beneficiaries enjoy these products only on special occasions, due to their economic situation. That may be why we have the highest number of beneficiaries on Mondays!
The program has served some children and adults with lactose intolerance and cow milk allergies. I have taught the women to make soymilk at their homes several times. I am encouraging mothers with children, especially in developing years, to make their soymilk. There are two good reasons I recommend this: the first is overall health, and the second is the high cost of soymilk in the supermarket. I have watched some of these children grow into young women and men. Some are currently attending the National University or have found employment.
I am grateful for the many people (in the U.S. and El Salvador) that have walked with me and supported me in many different ways on this part of my journey. It helped me through the fluctuation of ministry responsibilities and sometimes-difficult national reality.
We had our last workshop in October 2022. A local non-governmental organization facilitated it. It taught ways to dialogue with those with different opinions. Even though this was just an introduction, it demonstrated the importance of listening to other views, including respecting their opinion when it differs from yours. Vicky, the facilitator, would continue to ask the participants about their statements to explain their beliefs. Vicky did a great job of facilitating and encouraging participation.
It gives me joy to have the opportunity to share my experience in the area of nutrition and cooking with the new team coordinators, Melissa and Pete Altman. Next year we will all be working in Zaragoza, in the department of Libertad.
Melissa and Pete will give continuity to the dream of making God’s love and mercy present in their new communities. I firmly believe that they will give the ministry a lot of creativity and innovation as the program evolves into the future.
I am grateful and indebted to all of you who have supported me in my ministry and sustenance. Please continue to support the Soy Program in its new location in Zaragoza in January 2023. I am looking forward to orienting the new team for one more year and plan to retire at the end of 2023. We certainly will keep you updated and informed on our new ministry developments.
I wish you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas and a healthy and safe 2023.
As we continue to remember each other in prayer, Warmly,
Please consider making a special gift to Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ “Walk With Us” campaign, which raises money for the recruitment, training and ongoing support of all of us lay missioners. We can only “walk with” the people here because you are “walking with” us. Now and through Dec. 31, thanks to matching gifts, every $100 given to the campaign in effect becomes $150. To donate ONLINE, click the “Walk With Us” button below. Thank you so much for your generosity!