Saturday, October 12, 2019

Thursday... National Children's Day

Today, the best place in the world was San Salvador, El Salvador!  Day of the Child is a celebration of children most commonly celebrated by parents for their children.  Today we had the honor of helping Starfish and Sus Hijos celebrate 400 children including 47 special needs adults. All together there were over 500 people including the care givers and volunteers from 20 orphanages and clinics. They came
 from as far as over an hours drive to attend.  So many lives touched today. 
We celebrated at Dream Land which is a 3 story children’s paradise with arcade games, mini carnival rides, zip lines and laser tag to name a few of the activities. 

Our Starfish team helped Sus Hijos volunteers during the event. We made and handed out over 400 snow cones. We also made lots and lots of bags of popcorn and helped with other fun stations for the children such balloon twisting and face painting stations.   

























The kids Played games and rode rides for 2 hours and then had lunch. 

We started with lines of hundreds of children  with happy and excited faces the came through the doors. They were ready to give hugs and thank yous.  



For most this was the first time they have ever seen anything like it.  They were quick to figure out the games playing one, then running to the next.  This experience may well be a once in a life time for many.  It was such a blessing to follow along with one then another as they played games. 
 For lunch we passed out meals and a drink to each. Several times the kids would reach out to get our attention so they could look us in the eye to say gracias.  How precious.  

As they left, each was given a gift.  In return there were lots of hugs, expressions of gratitude and fist bumps with the guys!  

Neither the kids or the volunteers will ever forget this day.  Our team is humbled at how good God is.  Truly we saw and felt Faith, Hope, and Love, but above all Love.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Wednesday in El Salvador

Today has by far been my favorite. We went to San martins and danced with the special needs adults for awhile. They were so happy that we were all there and got to dance with them. The smile on their face when they ran up to hug us was the sweetest thing ever. I have never seen so much joy in one place. All they wanted to do was have a dance party. I couldn’t even keep the girls to sit still when I was painting their nails because they kept turning towards the music. Their eyes lit up when they saw we had face paint, almost everyone was in line for it.  
Gloria, one of the ladies in the facility wanted her picture taken with everyone. I mean everyone, and if she didn’t want you in her picture she would push you out. It was the funniest thing. When we had a music session, I was trying to make sure everyone had a musical instrument to play with. And there was one boy who would take the instrument right out of the other peoples hand as I would place it in. 
Next we went to a teen boys orphanage, this was surprisingly my favorite place. We played every sport you can imagine with these boys. We sang a little as well as preformed our world renown play for the boys. One of the boys, Nelson, was very smitten by me.  I spent about an hour with him teaching him english with the help of our amazing translators.  The game started out with just him having to talk in English and me having to talk only in Spanish to each other.
 By the time we had to leave, we had about five or six boys with us trying to learn English.  It was so much fun.  The group of boys had so many bold and different personalities. We gave the boys each a toy, and Nelson picked a farri toy car because that was he very favorite car, as I was leaving he came up to me and said “for you” and gave me his toy. I will forever cherish this toy car. 

Next we had dinner at the mission house, then our team along with the sus Hijos team packed over 100 bags to feed the homeless. We then headed out on a rainy night for a humbling experience. I didn’t think I’d enjoy feeding the homeless but it’s incredible knowing you were about to  provide food to someone who could have been praying about where their next meal would come from.




Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Tuesday in El Salvador

Our morning began with beautiful weather and a prayer from Kurt. We traveled to Moraga, a Catholic orphanage which houses approximately 20 girls ranging from age 14 -22.  We had the honor of spending several hours with these bright young ladies, laughing, talking singing songs and decorating Bibles. We provided crafts and individual photos that were taken during our time together, to create beautiful covers for the Bible’s  we brought them. 
 We had lunch at McDonalds, which wasn’t much like McDonalds in the US. Then we traveled to Santa Anna to spend time with approximately 28 young men and women. We sang songs of prayer with a feeling of welcome and acceptance as various staff and students displayed their dancing skills. The team then presented a play. Afterward the instructor discussed and related their current issues within the class. The students were all extremely grateful for our visit.  Our team was so appreciative and humbled to meet these young people, that it was overwhelming.


 (Again today, photos were not allowed at the centers we visited.)


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Meaningful Monday...

(Pictures were not allowed to be taken at the centers we attended on Monday.)

Monday we visited two orphanages. First we visited a special needs children’s orphanage, where we performed a play with the children and did arts and crafts with them, oh to see the smiles on those beautiful faces! They really enjoyed it. Next we visited another orphanage were we got to visit with some of the teen moms and their little sweet babies. Then some of us helped the girls do art projects while the others got to play with the babies. 



We finished the night off with going to feed the homeless,
 definitely a very humbling and awesome experience for our first time team members. 
This has definitely been a beautiful Monday!



Monday, October 7, 2019

A beautiful October Sunday in El Salvador!

 
 Today was a wonderful day! We went to church this morning. We had the privilege of leading Children’s Church. Our team with the help of some of the Sus Hijos team acted out the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown in the furnace of fire.
God protected our characters in the story, just like he still can today! 

Next we went to a rural church out in the countryside and worked with the local Rotary Club to pas out bags of food, backpacks, eye glasses, rechargeable lights, and toys! When we returned from the community, the teens from the Sus Hijos  Transition Program had dinner almost ready. We did Bible Study with the kids first, then eat our yummy meal!  It was great to spend quality time with these young adults!  We could not imagine a more well rounded day, blessed day!



Sunday, July 7, 2019

Friday, Beach Day!


We had a great day at the beach today with the girls from CIPI.  It was extra special because this is a center that does not get to leave the grounds very often for various reasons.  They absolutely loved the ocean!  Their laughter was contagious!  Today was about loving and laughing with these friends.  One of the girls did not know how to swim and just sat at the edge of the water and let the waves hit her. Then we moved to the pool and she sat on the side. Slowly she got in and floated on a life ring.  We were playing volleyball in the water and I kept trying to get her to join us but she was afraid.  After about an hour she got off and joined us. More laughter! We shared lunch together and then the girls all wanted bead braids in their hair. 
It was a perfect way to end our week!



Friday, July 5, 2019

Thankful Thursday



This is my only picture for today but it speaks volumes!  In America we have freedom and opportunity that is far greater than most of the world. When we look at the differences with an earthly view our countries and cultures seem so different.  This is my seventh time to visit El Salvador and what i have found is there is one thing that ties us all together.  We are born a void in our hearts and we are all searching for what we need to fill that void. We sometimes try and fill it with many things. Sometimes it’s drugs. Sometimes it’s material things. Sometimes it’s worry and control.  Sometimes it’s a longing to feel loved and we look in al the wrong places. Sometimes it’s joining a gang. The way are endless!  Sometimes we have to reach a breaking point to realize we need a total surrender.  It is then that God starts whispering in our ear and our heart begins to soften. Each one of us is called to give testimony for what God has done in our lives and how we came to that point of total surrender.  Today was a very emotional and very powerful day.  The power of the Holy Spirit was so strong and we saw several teens that were impacted by the power of Jesus. It is only when we can still ourselves long enough to hear Jesus whispering in our ear and become strong enough to surrender our complete lives and everything in it that change begins to happen. I am so thankful that God has given me a heart for mission work.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

A Wonderful Wednesday...

Move In Day! 






 This morning as we prepared to move the family we built the house for yesterday into their new home, I reflected on a conversation I had with another missionary. We discussed how this house was built on cornerstones, much like a life for Jesus must be built on Him, the Precious Cornerstone. We discussed that a house and a life built on cornerstone is strong and does not easily crumble.


  




 As we moved the new beds, dining table, a rocking chair, and personal items into the home, we watched the family respond with an enormous amount of gratitude to God! It was easy to see that these lives were built on Jesus, the Precious Cornerstone, as well!



 We prayed for the family and the home and then the home was dedicated all to the Glory of God! 
   After the dedication, we ate lunch, prepared items to give out to the surrounding community, and went to visit another site where Sus Hijos was building a concrete duplex for two more families.


  We returned to our building site where we were able to bless 35 other families with food, glasses, clothes, bibles and treat bags. We laid our hands on these families and prayed for specific prayers they had along with health and protection. 

  The families were very grateful and the children lit up when they saw what they were being blessed with! We were grateful to be just a little hint of hope for them by being obedient to God and letting Him work through us!