Friday, October 5, 2012

"It's difficult to put into words what we've seen, heard and felt over these past few days. The way that God has worked in the people of Sus Hijos to minister to the people of this country is nothing less than miraculous. We've done so much more than to just give people a good time, but we have given them hope, joy, and most importantly, the love of Christ. I have seen people who had no hope begin to smile, dance, and just feel joy. It's enough to melt your heart when you see the things that these amazing translators and volunteers do on a day to day basis.

Today we went to San Martin and saw some of the most amazing individuals anyone could have the pleasure to meet. We went to the special needs center, a place filled with the some of the most loving people on the planet. When someone is in a place like they are in and can still be as excited as they are it really ministers to your heart. We went there today with the intent of raising spirits and showing love but almost every person there was already ecstatic before we even did a thing. They witnessed to us with their love and excitement from the very first step out of the bus. It truly is a joy to be able to witness God in such a spectacular way as this."-Daniel
I am being completely honest in saying that I didn't know Kike very well. I had the wonderful pleasure of being around him on my first trip here. However it was very obvious while visiting his grave how much he truly meant to those around him. It was beautiful to hear the stories that so many had to share. It was heart breaking to see so many hurting and in pain from the loss they were experiencing. This child changed the lives of so many. His motivation to live and survive was beautiful, it inspired so many. While visiting the grave we each placed a rose of the grave, sang, and prayed. One life can effect the lives of so many.
Once we left the ceremony for KiKe we went back to San Martin to play for a little while. These special needs kids are the best to be around. They are full of so much joy and happiness.
We left San Martin and went to the AIDS orphanage. This children, despite their disease, are so incredible full of energy. The wonderful children at the orphanage wanted nothing more than to be loved on, held, and played with. Each person from the team stepped up to the challenges that they have been faced with this week. Working with special needs and children with such a devastating disease has been truly challenging for many. However, the needs have not held a single person back from working and being what God has called them to be.  
"Most of this week, my thoughts have centered around the verse in Matthew 25 where Jesus says "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.. As we have seen the orphaned, the mentally handicapped, and fed the homeless, my continual thought has been that surely this person or that person was the least of these. And today as we had a memorial service for a boy who had died at one of the orphanages my heart hurt for this person I would call the least of these.  But later as I was reading alone, God revealed to me that in his eyes I am the least of these.  My spiritual poverty is no different than their financial poverty or their loss of family.  It was humbling to be reminded  we all are bankrupt before God and in need of his mercy and Grace.  - Brad

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Let Your Light Shine - Wednesday


"Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Words cannot do justice to our experience thus far in El Salvador.  A little blood, a lot of sweat, and a few tears have been shed in our service to the people of El Salvador and to our Lord.  It was amazing how a bunch of gringos and some local interpreters could piece together some rough cut pieces of wood and somehow turn it into a home for a gracious mother.  Even with the language barrier, I could see her graciousness for our help.  She worked just as hard as the men of the group as well, helping to carry wood up the mountain and sealing half of the house on her own.  Meeting her family and seeing how much they appreciated us is an experience that I will never forget.  Another experience I wont soon forget was today at the beach with kids from CIPI orphanage.  Hearing kids asking uno mas!” (one more) over and over again as we tossed them into the pool was a highlight of my day.  These kids dont get out of the orphanage much, and personal interaction with outsiders is just as rare, so it was an awesome experience seeing their eyes light up as we interacted with them.  All throughout the week, I keep thinking of the words from a Jack Johnson song, I can change the world, with my own two hands.  That line pretty much sums up our week so far."- Alan

    Today we took kids from CIPI Orphanage to the beach. It was such and blessing and privilege to be trusted with these children. God has called each person on this trip for a specific task. Many of the woman couldn't help with it the building of the house, but it is very evident as we go throughout the days that each person is on this team for a reason. What one person does well another may not, but everyone here is needed and being used.

Loading the children to the buses at CIPI presented an opportunity for each person to use there special skills. The older girls, teen moms, and little boys all loaded up. All that was left to get onto the bus was the special needs children. The busses that we were taking are not handicap accessible. So just pushing the child's wheelchair onto the bus wasn't an option. It was such a blessing to see how God used people to help these beautiful children.  People of all ages where helping. Many of the men would pick to a child that needed to be held and carry them to the bus, despite the urine and slobber that the children had all over them. They held these children as any protectant father would their own child.

      Arriving at the beach we had activities set up for the children to participate in the first half of the day. The woman of the team set up an area full of stations to pamper the young girls with us.  These stations included a nail, hair, stick on tattoo, craft area, each girl received a neckless and shirt. It was such a blessing to see how excited these young girls got over being pampered. Its the same things in life many times that we take for granted, make up/being able to paint our nails, while these girls where going crazy over it. The little boys, special needs, and babies, were also being played with an taken care of. We spent a lot of the day at the pool, which the kids loved.

      During the second half of the day Marcy spoke with the girls of the group. "Today I had the privilege of sharing my heart with a group of teenage girls.  As I sat with them I was convicted about all the times I questioned God for allowing such circumstances.  For the first time I was able to see the faith that He has in me knowing that I would not remain a victim but would be transformed into a survivor.  Now that my scars are fading away I pray that He will continue to use me to reach others.  I will never know if I was able to make a mark on the lives on those young ladies, but I already know they have left a mark on mine."- Marcy

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3: 5&6

     God is good and He is doing amazing things in this country. This team of diverse individuals has been a blessing to work with, side by side, serving The Lord. God is working in the lives of the people here but He is constantly working in ours also. As we go into the last two full days of the trip we ask that you be praying for us as a team and all the people here. The children, homeless, translators, Kurt/Susan and family have all effected our lives this week.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We Take SO Many Things for Granted! - Tuesday

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace." -Acts 20:24

"This is one of my favorite verses that I believe really goes along with what we're doing in El Salvador. Today we went to a community village and finished building the house for the family and I stayed at the school in the village and spread God's word and played with the kids. These kids are so happy and I think that is something we should all take from this experience because we take so many things for granted and are often unhappy with the many things to have. These amazing people have very few things but God's love and you will almost always have a big smile on their face. I'm so blessed to experience this and realize just how much I truly have and make me so much more thankful. Hopefully I'll have many opportunities to come back."- Paige


Today was such a wonderful day. We went back into the community that we were at yesterday to celebrate  children's day with the school and to finish building the house.  As soon as we pulled into the community we were greeted with a huge welcome. Children were at the gates of the school with the biggest smiles.  We had to split into two groups so that that house would get finished before dark, so we unloaded the truck and the group that was doing that took off to work.

The group that stayed back at the school started the day off with a major blessing. These children were such a joy to be around. Two of the translators played music and danced to get the kids excited for the day. It was fun and such a blessing to be apart of. The group then did the skit of Jesus feeding the five thousand, then asked the children questions about it when we were through to make sure they understood. We did some arts and crafts with the children. They were so respectful and listened so well as we explained the craft.

We grilled hot dogs for the community for lunch. Getting to feed these wonderful people was a very humbling experience. There were around 400 people fed. Praise God for allowing us, not only this experience, but also the ability to do this.

The group that went to finish  the house worked pretty much all day. These men put in all the effort and strength they had to get the project finished.  About the time the sun was started to set the finishing touches got put on the house. It was really awesome watching the house be put together piece by piece. Our team is very blessed to have some incredibly hard workers. After the house was completed, beds assembled, and finishing touches put on, we had the dedication ceremony. This ceremony presents the family receiving the house with the keys and deed. We also presented the family with two aprons, clothes, and other items.

Between working with the children in the village school today and presenting the family with a new house I can easily say that it was an amazing day. God provides and it has been more than obvious this week. We have seen hardships and needs but we have seen many needs be met. Praise God for the work that He has done and for everything that He counties to do.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock! - Monday

Revelation 2:2
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.

"But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God's love." - Jude 1:20-21

Today was an busy day! We started on the house, which happened to be in a fairly remote location. The  trip up to where the house was located was beautiful. It honestly was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. On the way to the site that the house would be built there was an overwhelming flood of emotions. God was going to be the one to get us through the day!
Once we arrived at the village where the house was going to be built we then had to walk up to the site. Getting up the side of a mountain, through a small gully like area, and then back up again was an interesting trail to walk when carry supplies. It was exhausting and so very humbling. People from the village saw what we were doing and joined in. Most of those helping us had no shoes, and some had no shirts. They were hard workers though, not stopping until all the work was completed and everything was as it should be.
Once the supplies were at the site of the future house we ate quick lunch with the family and started building. Then men and translators where the main ones to build, while the women entertained the family and kept them out of the way. They are incredibly hard workers. Today alone the floors got to put together along with all the walls.
The women played soccer with the kids, painted nails, and went over bible stories, spoke of Jesus, and sang. The children are beautiful and have boundless energy.
It did end up raining at the end of the day yesterday, which provided for an interesting journey down the mountain. God provided for us and we all made it safely back to the van. 
"My first day in El Salvador started off pretty calm. We got up, got ready for church and headed out. I found it kind of hard to concentrate on what the preacher was saying, between the preacher in a microphone, and our translator telling us everything.  It was hard to understand. I really loved watching how the people at church were so open and not ashamed to praise God.   At home, so many times, we are embarrassed or uncomfortable to raise our hands, or say amen, or anything that we feel like doing.  But here, they don't care,   They have so much less than me, but they are obviously so much more grateful.

Sunday night, I was in in the first group to go feed the homeless. The group was prepared, with approximately 150 sacked lunches, but later on I realized I wasn't at all prepared for what I was about to see. I think we might have drove a mile, when we seen the first homeless people.  As soon as it happened, tears just started to fall uncontrollably. They don't have shoes, shirts, NOTHING.  I have so many clothes, more than I even wear. And these people probably only have the clothes that they have on!  We continued driving and every time we saw someone sleeping on the sidewalk, we would stop and give them food.  I can't even type out all the things that you feel.  It's indescribable.  The most humbling experience I have ever had.
 I'm so thankful I've been given this opportunity. That was only the first full day and I was so overwhelmed with emotions.
Maybe 7 is not enough!
Today we started to build the house, and when I say "we",  I mean the men and translators.   They worked SO hard.   We had to carry the lumber up a huge hill.   It was seriously the most exhausting thing I have ever had to do. I could barely make it.   Everybody was soaked with sweat, and panting every step.   There were men and one young girl from that village, that were such hard workers, they never complained.  Never stopped for breaks, never even really broke a sweat. I personally was put to shame. The men ended up getting all the floor done, and most of the walls made, they just need to be put together.  So all their hard work paid off. Tomorrow morning we will go back and finish the house, and give the members of the family new clothes.

I Will Follow YOU!  (even if it means on a plane, then a bus, through
a ravine,  and up a mountain, in the mud)!


So far I've enjoyed my self so much. I'm already ready to sign up for the next trip.  God is so good, and I'm so thankful that he has shown himself to me like never before. It's truly amazing here."- Lindsey
It is a very humbling experience to help build a house. The glory completely needs to be given to God for all that was completed yesterday. God is doing awesome things this week and in El Salvador. We just continue to ask for prayers as the week goes on.

Acts 20:35
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”