Students at Santos Novoa School Center in El Salvador, show the book they were gifted by students and teachers from the Adventist Training School of El Salvador (ECAS) in San Opico, La Libertad, on June 6, 2023. The initiative saw hundreds of students, teachers and parents donating funds to provide literature to every student at two nearby public schools in the region as a new initiative to share about Jesus and build better relations with public school officials in the region. [Photo: Comunicaciones ECAS]

Inter-America

Adventist Students and Teachers in El Salvador Gift 1,400 Books to Public Schools

This year, the initiative became something that engaged the entire school.

El Salvador | Aida Rivera and Inter-American Division News

A recent outreach initiative led by the K–12 Adventist Training School of El Salvador (ECAS), in San Juan Opico, La Libertad, saw hundreds of students, teachers, parents of teachers, and church members purchasing 1,400 books to share in two nearby public schools.

Every year, ECAS purchases Christian literature to share with parents and students to promote the importance of reading, but this year, it became something that engaged the entire school, said Ana Mirian de Argumedo, school principal. The challenge was to get students excited about contributing to the cost of at least one book—80 percent—while the school would cover the rest, explained de Argumedo. The books were obtained through one of several Inter-American Division Publishing Association (IADPA) bookstores in the country.

Students and teachers at ECAS stand next to books purchased through the church’s IADPA Bookstores to be delivered at the public schools earlier this month. [Photo: Comunicaciones ECAS]

Students and teachers at ECAS stand next to books purchased through the church’s IADPA Bookstores to be delivered at the public schools earlier this month. [Photo: Comunicaciones ECAS]

Thanks to this initiative, 350 students and teachers at San Juan Opico National Institute School and 966 at the Santos Novoa School Center obtained a book. The books dealt with getting to know Jesus, health, God’s love, the state of the dead, finding hope in the midst of chaos, and more.

Adventist school teachers and students paid a special visit to both public schools, prayed with them, and shared moments with school officials and teachers on June 6, 2023.

Edwin López, who is a district pastor in the region, spoke to de Argumedo and her administration about the idea of establishing closer relations with the two neighboring public schools through sharing inspiring books.

Pastor Edwin López (right), district pastor in San Opico prays with school officials at Santos Novoa School Center with the hundreds of books for students. [Photo: Comunicaciones ECAS]

Pastor Edwin López (right), district pastor in San Opico prays with school officials at Santos Novoa School Center with the hundreds of books for students. [Photo: Comunicaciones ECAS]

“We wanted to involve the student body because they feel so good about sharing hope to other children and young people,” said Pastor López. “Engaging each student and staff member in the institution to share these missionary books means that they are engaging in preaching the Word of God. The mission belongs to all of us, not just to a special group.”

López said when he visited the institutions with the boxes of books, he was very welcomed and thanked for the gifted books for every student, teacher, and staff member in the institutions.

“I’m so thankful because ECAS has donated so many spiritual books that can help us all to grow spiritually and become better persons, better citizens, and better children and teachers,” said Rene Abrego, vice principal of the San Juan Opico National Institute School.

Secondary students from the San Juan Opico National Institute School hold their gifted books.  [Photo: Comunicaciones ECAS]

Secondary students from the San Juan Opico National Institute School hold their gifted books. [Photo: Comunicaciones ECAS]

One student at San Juan Opico said, “Thank you to all of you for these books because I know they will be a blessing. I have read several of Pastor Alejandro Bullón’s books, and I totally recommend them for his good advice.”

Blanca Estela Larios, principal of Santos Novoa School Center, thanked the Adventist group for the special initiative of the teachers, students, and their entire staff. “We love the books and hope that we can have other opportunities where we can share between both institutions,” said Larios.

The initiative was more than a strategy, said Pastor López. “It was about directly fulfilling the mission of preaching the Gospel that Jesus has given us.”

Secondary students from ECAS hold books for two nearby public schools before they ride the bus to deliver them on June 6, 2023 to distribute the books. [Photo: Comunicaciones ECAS]

Secondary students from ECAS hold books for two nearby public schools before they ride the bus to deliver them on June 6, 2023 to distribute the books. [Photo: Comunicaciones ECAS]

ECAS has 414 students in its primary school and 475 in its secondary school. The training school also houses dormitories for the secondary school students.

Since its inception, ECAS has been of paramount importance to the work of the Adventist Church in El Salvador. In the 1980s, during the national civil war, it was a refuge for young people who lived in conflict areas yet wanted to finish high school. During that period and until now, its facilities have provided a safe place to hold meetings of churches, districts, conferences, and unions. In addition, camporees, training schools, spiritual retreats, and many other activities have taken place at ECAS. (Source: Karen Alfaro, Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists).

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division website.

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