Valley Center family goes from San Diego County Fair to El Salvador missionary work

Posted at 2:27 PM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-08 17:32:02-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Living at the fair is a unique life as it is. But for one Valley Center family, the fairground isn't their only home.

Mike and Brittney Peterson run the Bacon-A-Fair booth at the San Diego County Fair. During the summer months, the two and their children, Eliana and John, help dish out bacon-wrapped creations to hungry fairgoers in Del Mar.

Outside of the fair, however, the family doesn't just lounge around North County in anticipation for the next summer. They head to their home away from home: El Salvador.

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There the Petersons set up El Salvador Missionary Fellowship, providing support services for missionaries working in the country.

The family first visited the Central American country about 10 years ago during a surfing trip, before returning yearly and getting to know those in the missionary community.

"Saw a lot of the personal needs [missionaries] had how a lot of them had great hearts and were doing amazing things but didn't have a lot of support," Mike Peterson said. "We were thinking through how we could use are business background and some of the other skill sets we have to kind of come behind the scenes and support these people."

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The fellowship helps provide families with care, marriage counseling, and other support to prevent them from being burned out during their work or struggle to return to the U.S.

The community they form overseas mimics the feel of the fairgrounds, where they live in a communal atmosphere throughout the summer.

"There's a tight community with the concessioners here," Brittney Peterson says. "We really try to help each other out. We want each other to do well out here. We do what we can to make that happen."

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"It's like modern-day American gypsies. You got the whole caravan and move from place to place," Mike added.

Eliana and John lead a normal life aside as well, aside from the differences in culture. The two are homeschooled, play with friends in both countries, and — through their work at the fair and in El Salvador — know the value of a dollar.

"We get to go to one country and then we get to come back here, which is completely different," John Peterson says. "I like it, we get to experience both."