Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 5: "Words can not describe nor do justice for the pain and suffering I saw today with my own eyes"

She's just a precious child herself!

These sweet girls are wearing their pillow case dresses!

Sweet dreams!

Words cannot describe nor do justice for the pain and suffering that I saw today with my own eyes…

God is good. When I see no hope for these kids future, I am quickly reminded that God has it in His hands, and He has prepared every footstep of their journey. When I forget about the pain and suffering of these people, God quickly sends a reminder my way. He reminds me that I am grateful to not have to worry about my next meal and where its going to come from, how to provide for my siblings, weather I will see my Mom ever again, if my Dad is still out there, If I will ever be rescued, if I even have a future, or… if God even exist through all the hurt. Today God allowed me to witness a ton, and be changed through what I saw.

We spent the day at a government orphanage. This particular orphanage that has babies, toddlers, special needs children, little boys, teenage girls, and teen moms. We started off our day with doing the Jonah skit for all the kids. They loved it! Their faces glowed and lit up as they giggled and laughed. We played soccer with the little boys, or more so, watched them run circles around us as we attempted to keep up. We let the teen moms and girls decorate cups and plant flowers and put soil in the cups. We talked to them about growing in Christ, and how it takes studying, praying, and doing to build and grow a strong relationship with our ultimate Father. We held babies and rocked them until they were fast asleep, and played with toddlers until they couldn’t play anymore. We had a fantastic time, until God sent a reminder of where we were.

A family of three girls that were 14, 7, and 2 came to the center. They were screaming and crying as I watched the coordinator weigh the oldest girl, and take records. We talked to the girls, and tried to calm them down. They told us their story. Last night, their Mom left the house at 9pm, and went out. Their other sister that was 5 was in the house asleep. The other 3 girls were outside playing, when all a sudden their house went into flames, and they could not get their 5 year old sister out of the house. The police came and took the girls to the station. When their Mom finally came to the house, the police arrested her and took her to jail. The three little girls lost their sister, their Mom, their home, and everything they owned in one night. Upon arriving at the orphanage, the girls were left with the torn up clothes on their backs, surrounded with strangers, and no hope for their future. I was torn up. I didn’t know what to think, do, or say, but just to cry.

If anything, God allowed me to witness this situation to remind me of what these people live and go through. He brought me out of my routine at this center and told me that I can’t get desensitized by being here from the past trips. He told me that even when I think that I have seen the worst of worst, there is still worse. Before we left, we said a prayer with the girls, and we prayed blessings and peace over them. I don’t know if those girls will ever see their Mom again, but one thing I do know is that their sister is rejoicing with Jesus in Heaven. It brings me joy and peace to know that they will get to run and play with their sister in Heaven one day.

Getting ready to feed the homeless

Everybody loves rocking babies!


My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.  Psalm 62:1-2

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 4 B -How sweet it is to be loved by YOU!

Maybe the reason that I could not fit all of Day 4 on one blog page, is that the Special Needs Center at San Martin is SO near and dear to my heart, and I just could not slight it.  Maybe it was because there were so many fabulous pictures of old friends, and I just could not narrow it down to a few to share with you!  Whatever the reason, here is Part 2 of Day 4. . .

The Special Needs Center at San Martin is a difficult place.  There are well over 100 residents, and most of them are mentally handicapped.  A few are children, but it's mostly adults that live at this center.  There are some (probably about half) that never get to leave the little cabins that they live in, because either are not abhle, or they would cause themselves or others harm.  Some have to be restrained to their chairs to keep them from hurting themselves.  When you tour those areas, it is a very emotional experience.  It's hard to understand why some people have to live with the constant torture that their minds have them in. Sometimes you pray over them, sometimes I have sang to them sometimes all you can do is cry, and know that God understands every tear.
Please pray for peace for these people who have such a hard time. The staff at this facility are no doubt overworked and underpaid, because the government could never pay them what it is worth to do what they do, so please keep them in your prayers as well.   San Martin is not all sad. . . .

 The other half of the population at San Martin are some of the happiest people on earth!  They probably don't realize that the rest of the world lives like many of us do.  This is their world, and they just want to be loved and shown attention.  Most of these people have been marginalized by society.  Society has no better place for them, they are "thrown away", and most of the world doesn't know or care that they exist.  These people make the most of their situation.  It is amazing to watch them care for one another, and you will notice that some have taken on parental roles, and some are ,more reserved than others, but they all have one thing in common, they want to feel loved!

 This is the easiest place in the world to show love!  If you give them a hug, for some of them, it's like you have just handed them a million dollars!  If you show concern for them, they will soak it up like someone who has been stranded in the dessert for days, would soak up water.  We offer them band-aids when we go.  A few of them will have boo-boos, but it doesn't matter, they just want someone to show concern for them, and they LOVE their band-aids.  So if you see pictures below with band-aids on their faces, they probably didn't have sores, it's just our way of trying to make up for times when they did have hurts, and no one cared.

 One of the favorite things these precious friends of ours like to do is dance.  They are REALLY good dancers, too!  There is one guy that they call Michael Jackson, because he dances just like him!  They also like to play "air guitar".  They also LOVE to get their pictures made.  I copied some old pictures from he past 6 years of people that are always there, and sent with the team, and those seemed to be a hit!  They usually want team members in the pictures with them. 
New friendship!

Old Friendship!

We have built relationships with these peole.  Some of them remember us and our names, or nicknames.  They remember what we did with them the last time that we were there.  I just can't wait to meet up with these friends some day in Heaven.  I think they will be the ones with the most there!  What an honor it will be to be their friends!

He's showing her the miricle God provided him!

They love a great manicure!
We have been blessed to be used by God to do many things at San Martin over the past 6 years. We have built a fence, bought washers and dryers, underwear, personal products, adult diapers, we have been wittness to the complete healing of a man who we were told by doctors, would die. We have been blessed to provide clothes, shoes, Christmas parties, field trips to the beach, beds, pillows, mattresses, and the list goes on!  We have seen God's provision for these people, first hand!


We try to explain what it is like on our mission trips, but you can not put it into words.  The pain and the joy come in waves and sometimes even overlap.  You really just have to experience it for yourself to understand!  It is like precious gold, and that's why people keep coming back!

We may not be able to save all the needy children in this world, but God didn't ask us to.  He did say "visit", in James 1:27

27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Day 4::Hard to say "Good-bye!"

There was no way to incorporate all that the team did on Wednesday, on one blog page, so here is what they did in the morning, and shortly I will be posting about them going to the Special Needs Center at San Martin, in the afternoon..

Today the team returned to the village where they had built the home. They finished putting together some furniture, and had a dedication of the home, and fed the community. It was REALLY hard to say "Good-bye", both for our team, and for the family that they built the home for. In just a few short days, they had made a bond that surpasses human understanding. This is a bond so much deeper than what would ordinarily be made in a few days. It seems like the same kind of bond that people make when they go through a crisis together, like random people stuck on n elevator for 3 days, but this was far from crisis! It is almost a "reversal of crisis".

This family was in the kind of crisis,  that we here in the United States rarely know. They (the mother and the grandmother) not only had to make decisions like "Do we go and spend $20 for the medication for the handicapped child, or do we buy food for the other children", they also had to worry about the handicapped child wandering off. They only had an opening for a door, in their previous home, that had a sheet over the doorway. The boy had the tendency to wander off. Once the police had picked him up and he wound up in an orphanage that our teams frequent. They thought that they had lost him forever. Now they have a home, with a door that they can lock at night when they are asleep, and not worry about waking up and him being gone!

The grandmother told one of our team members, (with the help of a translator) that they thought they had lost the boy forever. They had been so frightened that they would never see him again. In reality, God used the boy being lost to bring attention to the conditions that the family was living in, to get them the help that they so desperately needed. Had Starfish Orphan Ministry, and our missionary friend not heard from the government about this family, we could not have helped them. The very difficult time, that the family went through, thinking they had lost their boy, was the very thing that God used to get them the help! HOW AMAZING is our God!

How often in our lives do we think that things are truly awful, but God uses them for our good? He uses those times to mold us, to shape us, to guide us to the good that He has for us, like He did for this family. Now this family has an ample supply of medicine that the boy needs, they have a new home, their home has locks on the windows and doors, that will protect them, and the boy with special needs that wanders. They and their community have been loved on, and they have seen the love of God in tangible ways. They saw it with every drop of sweat that the team dripped (and I understand from the team that there were THOUSANDS). They heard it in the testimonies and the Bible story about Jonah, where our men and teenagers were willing to humble themselves to dress up with tablecloths on their heads, to hold the attention of children and adults that were SO anxious to hear the story! They experienced it through touch as the team hugged each of them, and they felt it as the team poured their hearts out to this group of neighbors. They tasted and smelled Gods love in the food that was given to them by our team.

We are told in Matthew, Chapter 25 that whatever we do for "the least of these", we are actually doing for HIM! Our team had the honor oft serving HIM in a precious, intimate way these last few days, and I know that each of them grew in that experience!

To follow suit of a popular commercial ad campaign : Cost of a mission trip to El Salvador. . .  approximately $1400. . . . Value of the experience and the renewed understanding of what's important in life. . . . PRICELESS!
So pretty in their pillow case dresses!

Such an unlikley group!  Only with God's guidance did they all wind up here now!

Pappa Starfish!

Starfish above thir door to remind them of this time when God sent the Starfish Team to bless them!

Testimony about today from a team member: 
Today we went back to the house and made some final touches. Upon arriving, I went into the house and noticed in the corner that the family had gone and picked beautiful flowers. This was confirmation that this house meant a lot to the family and it would really be taken care of and looked after. I also noticed that Dora, the middle aged girl of the family, was so much happier. I asked her how she slept, and she quickly informed me that she had never slept so well and felt so good when she woke up. It really made me more grateful for my bed. Next, we officially turned the house over to the family, by presenting the family with a plaque that was nailed to the front of the house. As well as a certificate, and two painted starfish hung above the window and door. As we handed over the keys to the family, it was such a beautiful moment for the team. For the first time the family showed emotion. All they could do was cry. At this point I realized that this was going to change this family’s life forever. Through God, we made a difference. We also had the opportunity to deliver bags with beans, rice, and sugar to other families living in the village. This was very humbling because these families welcomed us into their houses and were not ashamed of their messy house/shacks. They were just thankful. Where as, in the U.S. we get so worked up about making sure our houses our spotless before we welcome people in. They were just so thankful. Next, we traveled to San Martin where we were greeted with “Waz up?!!!!” and “Juan Carlos.” We put band-aids on all the boo-boos, danced to Michael Jackson, as well as blew bubbles, painted faces, and handed out treat bags. We headed to the Aids Orphanage after that, and painted their faces and played soccer with the children. Later we ended the night with feeding the homeless on the streets of San Salvador..
New gas powered cooktop will enable them to cook without building a fire!

Grandma praying for the team!  What an honor for our group!

Everyone has their own bed now!

Plaque of dedication for the home!

So hard to say "Good-bye"

So many blessings for the family and the team, but so hard to leave!

Grandma was SO thankful!

Giving God the glory!

No need for words!

Until we meet again!