Baptist Association of El Salvador
(Asociación Bautista de El Salvador, ABES)
The first Protestant mission in El Salvador was the Bible Society Mission to Central America, which arrived in the country in 1896. They preached the gospel and distributed literature, but did not establish churches. In 1910, the local leaders related to the mission called on the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (now the American Baptist Churches in the USA) to send missionaries. This is how the Baptist Mission was inaugurated in San Salvador in 1911. In the two decades following the arrival of the first Baptist missionaries, churches were set up in various cities, regional associations were formed, and two Baptist colleges were founded. In 1928 there were 19 churches, 14 church buildings and 10 ordained pastors. In this context the Baptist Association of El Salvador officially came into being in 1934. The first generation of Baptist Christians in El Salvador had to endure hardships on the part of the Catholic Church and rejection by the society at large, to the point of denying them the basic necessities of life.
The Baptist Association of El Salvador understands its mission as preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, promoting the distribution and study of the Bible, and advancing the values of the kingdom of God on earth. The main objectives it pursues are 1) coordinating the efforts of its members in evangelization, education and cooperation, on the basis of Baptist principles, 2) promoting actions of Christian solidarity which make it possible to live the gospel in daily life, and 3) enhancing solidarity with sister churches at the international level, to extend Christian support to all the poor, the afflicted and the distressed. Currently the association is involved in the organization of evangelization campaigns to win new souls for Christ and initiate new missionary activities; in the development of theological seminars for the training of pastors, lay people and missionaries; in working with young people and the formation of young leaders; and in diaconal work, especially homes for the elderly and persons without relatives who need the compassion and love of Christ offered to them through these efforts.