Meet Dulce Maday Cueva Salas Schuyler who is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church since 2013, although she has been attending since 2009. Dulce’s story is one of inspiration and hope, a story that highlights how one small church cannot change the whole world, but it certainly can change the world for one person or family. This is a story of the living, breathing spirit of God working through God’s people to bring love and wholeness into the world.
Dulce transferred from the Diocese of Costa Rica where she was a member of Todos Los Santos (All Saints) since she was four years old. Her mother, Ruth Maria Salas Gonzalez, was introduced to the Episcopal Church after Hurricane Joan-Miriam hit Central America on October 22, 1988. They were rescued by Fr. Simon in a minivan who was rescuing as many children and mothers as he could. That began a life-long relationship with the Episcopal Church and what became Todos Los Santos.
Fr. Simon opened a sewing class that Dulce’s mother joined. That was the beginning of her education and learning of a trade. “Todos Los Santos gave my mom hope, and the tools, to provide for her family,” recounts Dulce. “I eagerly took on many roles in the church from Acolyte, Usher, Choir, and eventually, Sunday School teacher.” The church kept Dulce busy and was a very different world from where she was living.
When Dulce’s mother moved to a new neighborhood, hoping to get her own home (a dream realized in 2012), Dulce stayed behind at Todos Los Santos and lived with Fr. Orlando, the new priest, and his family for two years in order to finish high school. “When I hear people talk about ‘church home,’ I can tell you that has been my experience,” recounts Dulce. “Todos Los Santos is our home and helped my mother and me to grow spiritually and become stronger. To me, Todos Los Santos is the home where I feel safe. Today, I want to give back the blessings I have received from the Episcopal Church, and I feel I can best do that by helping Fr. Orlando continue to serve other children in the neighborhood.”
Todos Los Santos is a church of about 35 members who serve well over 100 children in the neighborhood who are in need of a safe place to study, learn, play, and help families organize and gather together. Dulce explains, “Fr. Orlando wants to keep the church doors open to the community and to offer them the opportunities and programs that can help them to grow and provide for their families. Just as Fr. Simon did for my family, 27 years ago.”
Dulce and Alyssa had been working on plans for three years. Since the Diocese of Texas and the Diocese of Costa Rica already have a partnership, in January of 2016, Alyssa Stebbing, Brent Stokes, and Dulce Schuyler flew to Costa Rica to meet with the Bishop of Costa Rica, Fr. Orlando, and the members of Todos Los Santos. We determined that the immediate need for the after school program that is already running, was a couple of computers so the children could do their homework. Brent has since evaluated the possibilities and found two computers that will get them started while we plan out a longer term relationship with the parish.
The cost for two desktop computers, printer, backup power surge protectors and the network router will cost $2,500. Brent Stokes will provide the time and labor for the initial configuration of the computers and will travel to Los Todos to setup the computers and network. In addition, he will support the Los Todos by providing local setup, configuration of software and hardware and troubleshooting guidance including remote technical support.
We would like to get these computers in this summer! Please contact Alyssa Stebbing, firstname.lastname@example.org or 281.367.8113, or Dulce Schulyer, email@example.com if you would like to donate to this new partnership effort or go to online giving here: http://trinitywoodlands.org/online-giving/.