September 11, 2018 | San Salvador, El Salvador | Gamaliel Guerra/IAD Staff
A new facility recently completed by a local Seventh-day Adventist Church in El Salvador will provide overnight shelter to parents while they wait for their children during their in-patient care at a nearby hospital in the capital city of San Salvador.
Dozens of church and community members recently took part in the inauguration ceremony of the Miramonte Adventist Shelter and unveiled plans to benefit dozens of families who travel from far away to bring their children to nearby Benjamin Bloom National Children’s Hospital. The hospital is the only pediatric hospital in the nation that assists low-income families in El Salvador.
Miramonte Adventist shelter
The new facility will provide a safe, clean, temporary shelter to parents as well as a few meals, daily worship services and more, church leaders said.
Franklin Vazquez, M.D., director of the oncology unit at the Benjamin Bloom National Children’s Hospital, praised the work of the church for the initiative.
“During my working years I have not seen a shelter such as this highlighting the two key elements that should spearhead such a facility: equal and passionate care to everyone,” said Vázquez.
The shelter is made up of two houses with a children’s area, a prayer chapel, a reception area, men’s and women’s bathrooms with two showers and three stalls each, a kitchen and dining area, a room for a family with special needs, two rooms with seven bunked beds for men and women with restrooms respectively. The shelter can accommodate 30 people and one baby.
Church Elder of the Miramonte Adventist Church David Gómez recounted how the project came about and carried out by the faithful congregation who donated funds and worked together to see the shelter completed.
Beginning of the project
Elena del Carmen Cabrera, a church member, donated a house to the Adventist Church with the hopes that it could be used to assist those in need, Gomez said.
Members of the nearby Miramonte Adventist Church saw how parents would sleep on cardboard on the floor outside of the hospital day and night, and began providing meals and clothes to them and soon began funding the project to remodel the house in 2016 and then assist in building the two-story addition for the shelter.
“A lot of efforts from the Adventist congregation went in to carry out the remodeling of the house to adequately serve as a shelter,” said Gómez. Sundays were taken up knocking down walls, cleaning, painting, and more, he said.
“This is a beautiful congregation, beautiful for its charisma, its vision, for its desire to help others and reach others and show the human face of Jesus,” said Gómez.
Church members raised funds to cover expenses and the local conference office also contributed funds to assist in the project.
The church’s union leadership and the Inter-American Division also contributed funds towards the project, church leaders said.
In addition, El Salvador’s World Vision—a Christian organization bringing humanitarian aid—which has been operating for over 45 years in El Salvador, donated furniture.
Pastor Luis Aguillón, executive secretary of the church in El Salvador, applauded the vision and efforts of the Adventist congregation and encouraged them to continue with the task at hand.
“There is much more to do from now on, but this work has started and if God has provided then we should help not only one person but many persons, regardless of where they come from,” said Aguillón.
The shelter is working closely with the hospital in receiving needy parents in need of shelter. Adventist congregations have committed to donating food and clothes according to the needs of those who stay in the shelter.
Members of the Miramonte Adventist Church will oversee the management of the shelter in partnership with the Metropolitan Conference in El Salvador to deal with utility expenses, maintenance, human resources, worship services and more, church leaders said.
Plans also include connecting families who stay at the Adventist shelter with local Adventist congregations when they return home if they wish to, church leaders said.
Church leaders plan to expand services in the shelter in the coming months, as finances are available.
Fabricio Rivera contributed to this report