"Armored" Workers Bring Hope to Families, Pastors in El Salvador
Workers with King's Castle in El Salvador wear masks and gloves against COVID-19, and King's Castle T-shirts to protect them from violence while bringing hope to hurting people.The pandemic-induced lockdown is nothing to ignore in El Salvador; thousands have been arrested because they didn’t have a good enough reason for being outside. Yet, King’s Castle leaders are not only distributing food to needy pastors and families with the police’s blessing, many leaders are also entering extremely dangerous, gang-controlled neighborhoods wearing “armor” gangs have come to respect — a “Walking Tract” King’s Castle T-shirt.
King’s Castle is a ministry created by Don and Terri Triplett, longtime AGWM missionaries to El Salvador. Since the beginning of the country’s lockdown, it’s been evident that the pathway to reaching people spiritually has been through extravagant acts of compassion.
However, even though people have been restricted to leaving their homes only twice a week for groceries or to go to the pharmacy, King’s Castle leaders are finding some leniency — they are being invited by police to join them on Friday nights to pray on every street all across the country.
“Our King’s Castle leaders in El Salvador are respected in the communities where they work on a regular basis. So they are trusted by the people and the community leaders, including the police,” Terri says. “The Walking Tract T-shirt is a big deal, because it allows us to go into gang-controlled territories. It’s like putting on the Armor (of God), wearing a Castle T-shirt. It’s our uniform that identifies who we are.”
King’s Castle is also partnering with Convoy of Hope to assist pastors of small churches in El Salvador who have no income and little food.
“We’re partnering with Convoy of Hope to provide 1,000 43-pound bags of food monthly for three months,” Don says. “We give the executive presbyters (of the El Salvador AG) the bags and they then distribute the bags to the general presbyters who deliver the food to pastors in desperate need — pastors who have small congregations of 99 or less.”
The food bags consist of staples such as beans, rice, ground corn to make tortillas, pasta, tomato paste, salt, sugar, soup mix, dried peaches, milk, and other basic food items.
Don notes that God has been at work within King’s Castle’s walls as well. He says that two 43-pound bags of food a month have been provided and miraculously feed the 120 workers at King’s Castle.
Police have also asked King’s Castle leaders to drive two or three vehicles with sound systems on them and play Christian children’s music and distribute pre-approved toys, tracts, and food items in very needy communities.
“The police had all the toys and candy sanitized. Designated, screened Castle workers with masks and gloves then gave the gifts to the children at the doors of their shanties (typical size is 400-square-feet; 20 x 20),” Don says. “Older people wept and spoke in tongues as they received Hope. Many asked for prayer for pre-existing illness since the hospitals are currently only treating COVID-19-related issues.”
As in many developing nations, the quarantine in El Salvador deeply impacts the people whose food “today” is what they earned yesterday. The Tripletts believe that the pandemic has expanded to include hunger, economic, and non-COVID-19 medical issues, which are being ignored due to the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In a direct effort to spread the gospel message, the 8,500 children’s workers serving with King’s Castle in El Salvador are posting a daily testimony, prayer, Scripture, or message through social media. The Tripletts are also inviting all 35,000 children’s workers serving with King’s Castle in the 30 countries where it is organized to use social media to preach and share God’s Word like never before.
Currently workers are reaching hundreds of thousands of children and youth all over El Salvador and the 30 countries associated with King’s Castle International using every media tool available to them. Don says: “Imagine 35,000 young people reaching 1,000 kids each through their devices, and anyway you look at it, they are reaching millions.”
Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) has played a significant role in King’s Castle’s ability to respond. Through BGMC funds they were able to purchase part of the Convoy food bags, they have greenhouses to help supplement food, Walking Tract T-shirts, curriculum, electronics, and much more.
“Funds given by kids to BGMC and many other funds have gone to provide these T-shirts and other resources,” David Boyd, national BGMC director, says. “These T-shirts now serve as visas for teens and workers to enter needy areas to provide food and clothing. Truly God has gone ahead to provide a way for such a time as this.”
“BGMC has helped us train our leaders using the Castle Club Discipleship manuals and has helped provide us with T-shirts over the years,” Terri states. “Most of our leaders were children reached on the streets or in schools during an evangelistic Castle program.”
Children reached for Christ are discipled in local Castle Clubs, followed by attending the King’s Castle Assemblies of God Bible school annex.
“They are very bold and courageous young men and women who have a passion for reaching the lost through evangelism and acts of compassion, Terri says. “They are our heroes.”