When it comes to family, “traditional” seldom has the same meaning in El Salvador as it does to most Christians in America (husband + wife + children). According to Don Triplett, missionary to El Salvador, “93% of families in El Salvador are not traditional.” This means they grow up with the mother and father living together, but not married, or the father is unknown and the mother raises the children.
So many couples, even within the church, are living together unwed. Many times, the cost of a wedding is a major factor in couples not marrying. Rather than paying all of the fees associated with getting married (minister/judge, marriage license, the event itself, etc.), the couple just moves in together and lives a “married life.” This causes much confusion for children about the biblical way to live and have a healthy Christian family.
King’s Castle Ministries in El Salvador has developed a program to work with couples in the church, who are already married, to create “family role models” for others in the church. Once these married couples/families receive training, King’s Castle holds an evangelistic outreach. The married families disciple the unmarried families. They teach the importance of giving their children their family name.
Following the marriage and family outreaches, which are held several times a year, King’s Castle Ministries offers a free “group wedding” for the unmarried couples. This allows them the opportunity to have a ceremony alongside others who have also made the decision to get married after attending the outreach. If a couple goes this route, the only cost they have to pay for is a wedding reception if they desire to have one.
Builders International is partnering with King’s Castle Ministries in El Salvador and missionaries, Don and Terri Triplett, to build a Family and Marriage Center. The center will provide a place for training families and strengthening relational issues that Christians are faced with in El Salvador. Through personalized ministry, the outcome will be stronger families and a better understanding of relationship boundaries. This will be helpful in raising up healthy and exemplary Christians, which will foster a healthier culture in the church.