Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ramblings of preparing missionaries

Saint Expiditus AKA Saint Elpidius, Patron saint against procratination

We’re still ironing out details with less than a month to go. Things get hectic but we get something done every day. There's no time for procrastination.

 The required vaccinations are almost done, one more round of rabies and we’ll be done. There are a lot of dogs in El Salvador and few have shots. Being naïve, it’s easy to want to pet a cute dog but rabies is no joke, it would end the mission and pose serious health risk fast. The rabies shot doesn’t give immunity but buys you time to get more vaccine in case it’s not readily available. 

We’ve made lots of progress packing, we have lists of lists. I’m a list person; Dianne is a person who puts up with list people like me. Armed with the lists we’ve started to pack. We estimate that we will both have a carryon, a personal item and then check 3 bags each. 1 piece of luggage and 2 plastic totes each. FYI, plastic totes aren’t always allowed on flights, check with the Airlines 1st. During certain times of year there are tote embargoes, why? I have no clue but we ran into this when we travelled in Aug 2012. Luckily the airlines recognized that I was about to have a conniption fit and they very graciously gave us a very large piece of luggage to swap the tote with, conniption averted

Luckily a friend reminded us about international driving permits. Finding out that as an American I can’t just drive wherever I want, at a heavily armed Salvadoran checkpoint would qualify as a bad thing. They are very easy to get at Triple A. Bring your current license, $15, have a passport picture taken, fill out a form and you too can drive internationally. It was an international treaty in 1949 signed by numerous nations that allows this. El Salvador never signed the treaty but they do honor the permits. Stay tuned, that could be another blog entry depending on the accuracy of that statement.

So we’re making good headway but Oh yeah, that’s just pragmatic planning. What about the Mission!? It’s the pragmatic planning that causes the stress, angst and concerns. We’ve found that the best boost for our spirits and energy is thinking about our friends in El Salvador, the children we’ll be working with and a new life of learning. Not often do we start from scratch learning a new culture, language, and spiritual view point. It’s a great opportunity to grow as humans and children of God.
Tom & Dianne


  1. I carried an international driver's license to my mission assignment, but when I saw the condition of the vehicles,the roads and the other drivers in rural Kenya, I decided to walk everywhere.

    Please be safe, dearly beloved friends!

  2. When I spent sabbatical in El Salvador in 2004, I asked about auto insurance and was told that if the car was older than five years, no one bothered. This was from the the then-bishop's executive administrator! I drove an old beat-up pick-up and it didn't matter... I started out driving on Sundays when things were quieter and I could learn my way around. I am so envious of your adventure and will follow it avidly. ¡Suerte y ánimo!