El SalvadorEl Salvador

Youth evangelism

Training young leaders in El Salvador to share the gospel with at-risk peers

Education & TrainingEducation & Training
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The Need

El Salvador is considered one of the most violent countries in the world, with homicide rates reaching 503 deaths per 100,000 citizens. An intense spiritual battle is raging—and the next generation is on the frontline.

More than half of all murder victims in El Salvador are young people. Sadly, 38 per cent of the country’s suicides occur among 20- to 24-year-olds. Youth ages 13 to 30 account for more than half of all police arrests. Nearly seven in 10 victims of sexual violence are youth, as are nearly five in 10 missing persons.

It shouldn’t be this way. Children should grow up in a safe and loving home, with access to the holistic care and attention they need to become healthy, fulfilled adults. But many children in El Salvador are on a much different trajectory. Toxic patterns of poverty, violence and abuse are far more common for children to experience than affection, care and stability. As children begin to navigate the often complex dynamics and changes of young adulthood, deep reservoirs of unresolved pain and confusion can explode into violence, exploitation and despair.

But this isn’t the end of the story! We know that the love of Jesus is more powerful than all sin and all despair—and that the gospel can change the nation of El Salvador forever.

Our Response

Your partnership has enabled us to launch the Gospel Project in El Salvador—an initiative equipping young men and women from Compassion centres across the nation to share the life-transforming love of Jesus with their peers through outreach events. Partner churches from communities where poverty, violence and crime rates are exceptionally high have been selected to participate in this intervention, ensuring that we can target this project to areas with the greatest level of need.

Together with a Compassion youth specialist and partnership facilitator, local church pastors and centre directors selected a group of 30 young adults who showed servant leadership, commitment, responsibility and motivation to participate in discipleship and evangelism activities. Participants were then organized into small groups and began meeting together to first build trust and strengthen their leadership abilities.

Some unforeseen challenges have arisen; widespread gang activity and several tropical storms have put a temporary pause on the in-person workshops on leadership, evangelism and personal discipleship. The spike in violent crime has been so severe that the government has implemented its response at a national level, including restrictions on movement and mass arrests. Some parents are very nervous to send their children out of the house, so churches are currently working on adapting their plan to include virtual training. We expect that over the coming months, the workshops will continue to be implemented in a blend of in-person and virtual forms.

Please pray for the ongoing situation in El Salvador—that the violent activity would cease, and that children and their families would experience God’s supernatural protection and peace during this frightening time.

Activities

Youth leaders: Thirty young people were selected as leaders in the Gospel project, based on their demonstrated servant leadership, commitment, responsibility and motivation to participate in discipleship and evangelism activities.

Planning meetings: Project teams have been meeting with small groups of the selected students to share the objectives of this intervention and open the floor for ideas and questions. Teams have met both in person and virtually.

Specialist support: A Compassion youth specialist has been providing ongoing support to centre directors as they develop an implementation plan for this initiative.

Your Gift Provides...

Your gift is helping establish the Gospel Project for young people in El Salvador:

• Training for 30 young leaders from 21 Compassion centres in El Salvador, including:
o Evangelism and discipleship
o Training materials
o Food and transportation
o Personal protective equipment
• Design and production of training materials for 21 Compassion centres
• Gospel Project workshops and classes across the 21 centres
• Development of outreach events for 1,000 youth, such as retreats and concerts

ReportThank you for your generosity

You are equipping 30 young men and women to be beacons of hope to those around them. As the Holy Spirit continues to move in their lives, we have faith that your investment in this small but mighty group of young adults will ripple out to reach countless others in the months and years to come.

Two of the young leaders would like to share their thanks:

“Since 2020 I have been part of some leadership and discipleship groups that were coordinated by the youth specialist and the partnership facilitator. Later, some of us were selected to lead the meetings. Since then, God has continued to surprise me with what He can do through me. I never thought I would be in front of another group of young people speaking about the Word of God. I was very shy and very sensitive, and I was led by what people thought of me but being a leader in discipleship meetings has allowed me to let God take control of my character and of who I am completely.

Now God surprises me again, as I will be one of the people leading an evangelism project with other young people. I feel more than blessed for everything. Knowing that I will be an instrument for the salvation of others fills me with great joy and pride as a young Christian. Thank you very much for making me part of this blessing, and to God, of course, for keeping me alive in this violent world that needs to know about Him.”
—Katherine

“My name is Juan, and I am part of the project Jehova es mi Fortaleza. Thank God I have the opportunity to be a Compassion beneficiary and fulfill my dreams. I am also part of the worship ministry of the church and help to lead youth meetings.

Being part of this group to evangelize others fills me with happiness. I am a witness to the love of Jesus and how He changes our lives for the better. I know that there are many young people who need to know Jesus and experience the changes in their lives that He makes. I trust that God can use me for His glory and transform lives through discipleship and evangelism. I thank God for His love. I thank those who trust us and make us part of these activities, and the sponsors who make this possible.”
—Juan

Because of you, Katherine, Juan and 28 other young adults will have the opportunity to develop strong leadership skills that last a lifetime. They will learn how to communicate the gospel in a powerful and effective way and to develop a teamwork mentality built on mutual trust and respect. With the help of the newly trained youth, we aim to share the gospel with 1,000 other young people through smaller evangelistic events such as retreats and concerts for about 100 people each. We are hopeful and expectant that the presence of God will impact every person who attends, changing their lives forever. Thank you for partnering with us to share the gospel in El Salvador!