Priests in a Foreign Land


By Mario Vega

Around two million Salvadorans live outside the country, mainly in the United States of America. Many left the country because of the civil war, while others fled the country due to the unemployment situation. Salvadorans who live abroad experience nostalgia for the country they left when they find themselves out of their homeland. This is called by Salvadorans in the Diaspora “homesickness for their own country.”

This “homesickness” drives the Salvadorans to meet in cells and share common memories, expressions, etc.. This is how the cells have been multiplying and then becoming a branch church of Elim El Salvador.

More than forty-four branch churhces have developed this way in the United States alone. And this number continues to steadily expand. These churches were not planted as a result of a strategic plan or even the sending of missionaries. These were churches that emerged spontaneously. The trigger element of this phenomenon is the training that those Salvadoran Christians had at Elim. As cell leaders, they learned by practice about the priesthood of all believers. For them, to find themselves in another country does not annul their Christian responsibilities.

This is probably a church planting model that responds more to the passion for evangelism and the action of the Holy Spirit, than any other element. At the same time, this confirms the truth of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry and releasing them to exercise the priesthood of all believers.



Translation into Spanish:

Sacerdotes en tierra extranjera.

Alrededor de dos millones de salvadoreños viven fuera del territorio nacional, principalmente en los Estados Unidos de América. Una parte de ellos salieron del pas por causa de la guerra civil, otros para huir de la situación de desempleo del pas. Al encontrarse fuera de su tierra, los salvadoreños experimentan nostalgia por el pas que dejaron. A eso, los salvadoreños en la diáspora le llaman ‘mal de pas.’

Esa condición, es el caldo de cultivo sobre el cual el trabajo celular se desarrolla de manera efectiva. En la células, los salvadoreños se reencuentran a otros compatriotas, reencuentran las memorias, las expresiones, etc. Es as como las células se han ido multiplicando y, posteriormente, convirtiéndose en filiales de Elim en El Salvador.

Un poco más de 44 filiales se han establecido de esa manera en los Estados Unidos. Y ese número continúa en constante expansión. Esas iglesias no fueron plantadas como resultado de un plan estratégico o el envo de misioneros. Fueron iglesias que surgieron de manera espontánea. El elemento activador de ese fenómeno es el entrenamiento que esos cristianos salvadoreños tuvieron en Elim. Como lderes de células, aprendieron sobre el sacerdocio de todos los creyentes en la práctica. Para ellos, el encontrarse en otro pas, no anula sus responsabilidades cristianas.

Probablemente, este sea un modelo de plantación de iglesias que responde más a la pasión por la evangelización y a la acción del Espritu Santo que cualquier otro elemento. A la vez, esto confirma la verdad de capacitar a los santos para la obra del ministerio y liberarlos para ejercitar el sacerdocio de todos los creyentes.




2 thoughts on “Priests in a Foreign Land

  • I really love this article since I am a missionary in the Philippines. Filipinos are all over the world mostly for work as well. We are going to Japan that is a nation with less than 1% Christian. Filipinos who have found themselves working in Japan mostly were Catholic before they went there and after finding a need for “community” many of them became born-again. Now in Tokyo alone I have heard there are many Filipino churches at one time close to 50. I have been there 8 times and will be going again in end of May, early June. We will minister at these churches and connect with them. Their relational culture is so needed in a place like Japan. Please pray that we would follow the Holy Spirit’s leading to help plant future missional churches in nations where Filipinos are already working. That is a passion I long to see and get more involved with. Wonderful article!

    Eric Miller

  • The natural flow of life in His body is beautifully described here Pastor Mario, thank you for providing this insight and truth.

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