Struggles over inequalities and corruption in leadership led to armed uprising in 1981 resulting in over 75,000 deaths before the peace agreement of 1992. Democratically elected governments since are continuing to respond to high levels of violence in urban areas.
Economic devastation at the time of the civil war has been countered by growth since where coffee growing, light industry, the service sector and remittances from abroad are important.
El Salvador is on the Pacific Coast of Central America and is the smallest and most densely populated of the Spanish speaking mainland states of the Americas. It is susceptible to earthquakes and there are a high number of volcanoes. The capital is in the central upland plateau.
El Salvador is a highly connected country due to high levels of Salvadorans living outside their own borders, within Central America and with the West Coast of the United States particularly.
Ancient ruins testify to Mayan cultural history, and the threat of earthquakes continues to shape responses to security, alongside dealing with gang members.
The legacy of civil war have contributed a highly politically developed society, with recognition of wrongs committed at the governmental level but no formal process in place to resolve outstanding issues.
Alongside the recognition of the legal status of the Catholic Church in the Constitution other churches and religions have freedom to practice.
Growth of Evangelical movements has been impressive since the 1980s. Some of the largest Latin American churches are based in El Salvador.
In the civil disturbance of the 1980s Catholic leaders were outspoken in their denunciation of violence and Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated on 24 March 1980 while celebrating mass, a day after calling for the cessation of violence by state forces..
Latin Link has sent its first member from El Salvador in 2013 to Uruguay as a worker among university students and looks to continue to partner the Salvadoran churches in their mission outreach, including into other countries within Central America.
In a context of recent church growth there is a need for ongoing leadership training, deepening of discipleship programmes particularly in rural areas, and envisioning in mission alongside national partner ministries, as well as outreach among disaffected ex-evangelicals.
The backdrop of high levels of violence in gangs remains disturbing.
Applicants must be willing to study and learn Spanish well.