Dirt and Jesus’ Seat of Love

[NOTE: This was supposed to have posted on Monday, February 18, 2013, but the wifi where we are is selective at best. We hope this works today. :)]

Submitted by team member Andrea Sagsveen from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck ND.

Today was a tiring and exhilarating day all in one. We rose early and spent a full day at the Habitat homes. The heat got to a lot of us and I wondered if I could make it past lunch without a nap. Thankfully we all perked up after a lunch of fish, vegetables, rice, and tortillas. Our tasks today included moving a lot of dirt, helping the masons with mezcla, sanding, and taking care of each other in the heat.

The week before I left I heard a radio commentary on Klove about a man who gave up his first class seat to another since he felt she needed it more. Even though he was entitled to that seat, he gave it up for her. The commentator said that that’s what Jesus did for us – he sacrificed his first class seat to save us. I’ve thought about that a lot since I flew down here (unfortunately, not in first class :)). I thought about how I would give up my “first class seat” of having a comfortable life back home for only a week. What I have already found is that I can spot many people on our team, on our journey, and here in El Salvador who are continually giving up their “seats” to help others. When I can see the sacrifices of others I feel empowered to sacrifice more myself. What a blessing to spend a week with these wonderful people and hear and experience more opportunities to give up my “first class seat” this week.


Final framing our of the window before installing.


One of the many children in the Child Care Center at Villa Esperanza – the first Thrivent Builds and Habitat for Humanity El Salvador. 135 families now live in this community.


Outside of the clinic at Villa Esperanza.


One of the homes in Villa Esperanza.


The ruins of Tuzamel in Santa Ane, El Salvador.


The market outside the ruins site.



About Bishop Craig Schweitzer

The Rev. Craig Schweitzer, of Bismarck, was elected as bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod on July 17, 2020, in the first-ever digital Synod Assembly. A historic event, Schweitzer is the first bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to be elected in an online assembly. Bishop Craig Schweitzer began serving the Western North Dakota Synod-ELCA on September 1, 2020. He has always seen himself as an easy-going person who seeks to daily discover anew how God is present in his life and the world in which he lives and serves. Prior to service in the Office of Bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod, Bishop Craig served at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck, ND as Music and Worship Minister (lay staff from 2002-2010), Associate Pastor (2010-2014), and Senior Pastor (2014-2020). Beyond his service in the church, he has an eclectic background that is a diverse collection of musical, educational, and business experiences ranging from live concert production and promotion to recording studios and live performance to music education. Throughout all of his professional and personal experiences, the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome have been a guiding light that has kept him grounded in whatever work God was calling him into – “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7) Bishop Craig is a graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership. He also holds a certificate degree in Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. He was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament on September 16, 2010. Outside of his life as Bishop, Bishop Craig enjoys reading, all music, a little golf, a cold beverage with friends, and intentional times of quiet. And, of course, spending time with his wife Wendy and their adult twin daughters Ilia and Taegan. View all posts by Bishop Craig Schweitzer

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