Saturday, April 9, 2011

Friday, the last day in El Salvador

Friday was a busy day and very emotional since it was the last day the team would be working on the ground in El Salvador. The pictures from this post are a mix of favorites from the week. Below, you will find a short note on Friday's activities from Shannon.

"Today was a very busy day here in El Salvador.  We started our morning at San Martin putting together beds for the residents.  Not only did we donate beds, but also pillows, clothing, art supplies, radio, reusable lunch bags, over-the-counter medications, water bottles, etc.  While we were working on the beds, some team members went back to CISNA to finish putting up the other two basketball goals.  We then distributed goods to the Squatter Camp.  We gave them dresses, toys, food, toothbrushes, and flip-flops.  They were are so grateful.  After a quick lunch, we went to a retirement home on top of one of the mountains.  It was beautiful and so were the elderly folks within it.  There on that mountain is also an opportunity to build an orphanage.  That evening we went to the market and a dinner of pupusas (a famous Salvadorian dish).  When we were on mountain eating, we saw the most beautiful view of the city of San Salvador. It was lit up like a Christmas tree.  We ended the evening by feeding the homeless..this was the third time this week.  None of us can believe that we will find ourselves back in the States in less than 24 hours.  This was a life changing, heart breaking experience that no one on this team will ever forget." ~ Shannon Wilson


The team should be arriving back in Paducah around 5pm on Saturday. Please be in prayer for their travels and safe arrivals back at home!
THANK YOU to all of those who helped make this trip possible and to those who continue to support Starfish Orphan Ministry! Please remember and encourage others that while not everyone can adopt or travel internationally, ALL of us are called to help ORPHANS, and EVERYONE can do something!
No matter your age, financial situation, or religious denomination,
Please contact Starfish Orphan Ministry if you would like more information:
Phone: Laura 270-519-7340  Ashley 270-748-6970  Robin 270-217-6410
Facebook: "Starfish Orphan" or our Cause page at

A special friend from Thursday

As the week was drawing to an end this Friday, Maddie found herself thinking back to the emotional Thursday she had spent with the children on CIPI. So, before we start on Friday, Please take a moment to read Maddie's words about her new friend and her prayers for his future!

Yesterday was a day of many emotions. We spent the day at CIPI. CIPI is an orphanage with different sections, one part teenage girls, another teenage moms, the special needs, and lastly the children. Through God we were able to transform the rooms for the teen girls and the teen moms. This was a very exciting part of the day because we got to see happiness and joy from their faces and expressions. We also had the blessing of getting inflatable jumpy things for the children. We were able to see smiles and get giggles out of the kids. But what broke my heart the most was when I sat holding little Carlos. Carlos is a two year old boy with special needs. He isn’t able to walk and his brain doesn’t function right. What hurt me the most was when I was sitting there, and heard that Carlos was a normal boy when he was born. He was physically abused by his parents. His parents broke his left leg and he was beaten and received concussion after concussion so his brain can’t function properly. I just can’t understand why people could do that to a poor innocent baby. It just blows my mind that people could do something so inhumane as that…………….My prayer for tonight is that God will be with little Carlos. That Carlos may feel loved and cared about. That King Jesus will watch over him and place a tender hand on him. And also that He will be with the people that did and do physically abuse children. That He will change their hearts and let them know that they are loved as well.........Maddie Morris

Thursday full of Joy!

Sorry for the technical issues and delay in Thursday's blog! Here is an extra special edition!

Thursday the group spent most of the day back at CIPI, the intake center for babies, toddlers, special needs, and girls of all ages, including teen mothers. We have wanted to do something special for the girls for some time now, and boy did this group go all out!

Before & After

Here is a note from Brian Carter:
Today we were back at CIPI and we spent the day painting and fixing up the teen girl dorms. As we painted, I watched the girls go back and forth with their daily activities. In the afternoon I sat with all the girls and gave them pictures that Alex had taken of them. (Many have never owned a picture of themselves.) At one point during the afternoon I looked up to see Jody and his daughter Carson, walking hand-in-hand. It is often the simple things in life that mean the most and hurt the worst when it is lost. These girls are starving for affection, and need someone to walk with them, hand in hand.

These girls and their friends of all ages were so thankful for the sweet women who made them pillowcase dresses! The team told them that the makers cared for them and prayed for them while sewing!
"I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s simply impossible. One must see it to fully understand what me and my team members have experienced. Today I was able to rock a precious little girl named Johanna. Her mother, who is my age, has been blessed with a wonderfully behaved baby. As I was rocking her and loving on her, I found myself reminding God of his promise given to us in Jeremiah 29:11. “God”, I said, ”You’ve told her that you have plans to prosper her and not to harm her.. for a hope and a future. I trust you to stay true to that promise in her precious little life. Bless her God, bless her.” Hope and a future? But she’s already started out in an orphanage where hope has been forgotten, and futures are the streets? The violence in El Salvador won’t stop, the poverty doesn’t seem to be getting any better, and morals are no more. So how can you have hope, or a chance at a future? God opened my eyes while I was looking into Johanna’s. It’s not our job to stop the violence, boost the economy, or even teach others about “morals.” We have one job, and that is to share with others what Christ has done to bring us a hope and a future. Jeremiah is talking about something beyond this short life we’ve been given. It’s about eternity with the I AM. I found hope and peace in that as I was holding and praying over Johanna. Praise God for the undeserved hope and future he has offered us!" ~ Emily Carter

In addition to working on the girls dorms, our group spent Thursday afternoon putting on a carnival for all of the kids at CIPI! From inflatables to skits and even a dance party, they made sure the afternoon was full of smiles, laughter and children who knew they were greatly loved!

What an amazing week! The first few days were emotionally overwhelming. I have never seen so much pain and rejection in my entire life. I just wanted to hug them all and love their pain away. The first day we were at Cipi (teen girls, teen moms, special needs children, and children from the age of newborns to adolescence). This is where I first connected with Karla, a seventeen year old girl rejected by her family. She needed so much love and I wanted to have so much more time with her. Today, we went back to Cipi and I was able to spend more time with Karla. We talked together, we played on the inflatables, we worked on decorating her bedroom and we all ended the night by dancing in her new room. We had so much fun and I have already seen a change in Karla. Karla said she knew God had sent us to her and these were the best two days of her life. Although this week has been overwhelming I have also been overjoyed being a part of and watching God overcome the sadness and poverty these children have to deal with every day. ~ Kathy Shadburne
THAN YOU SO MUCH to all of those who helped us put these smiles on such sweet faces this week!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


 The day began with a visit to the grocery! Before sharing the teams words and photos about the beach, I wanted you to see the incredible amounts of food and supplies your donations purchased!!! Like the story of the boy with the loaves and fishes, it is always amazing when God reminds us of how he can multiply blessings to care for His family!

It was a beautiful, sunny day in El Salvador today. The beach was sand, tons of palm trees, and gigantic waves but the most gorgeous part was all the boys faces at CISNA (the boys orphanage). Their faces were more beautiful that any beach scene one could ever imagine. We spent an entire day swimming in the ocean, playing on the beach, hanging out on the lawn of the beach house, grilling hamburgers, etc. It was an unbelievable day. I prayed this morning that these boys for a moment could escape their situation, enjoy God's amazing creation, and just accept all the love (God's love) that this team has to offer them. I do believe all those things were accomplished today by the grace of our Heavenly Father. ~ Shannon 

 "As I sit here and think about enough words to make a decent paragraph about my feelings this week, my heart breaks. Words can not begin to express what I have felt this week. These kids are breaking my heart. They are filling my heart with several emotions. As I walk into the orphanages, I see faces I remember and faces that are brand new. When God called me to come here a second time, I knew what to expect. I knew what the conditions would be like. I can say I was extremely overjoyed and had no doubt God would move in the lives of this team and the kids we would encounter. All I can say is thank you Lord for giving me this opportunity to make a difference, and I pray every night that God will bless the kids and make them aware of the hope they have. I pray He will let them know that we will never stop loving them and that they are on our minds each and every day"...........Chelsie Brown 

"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handwork....there is no speech nor language where His voice is not heard. Today, His voice spoke loudly. His glory revealed itself as blues and whites and silvers and oranges brushed across the sky. The precision of the rise and fall of rolling ocean combined with the crafted crashing of the waves showed us His handiwork. Today, no speech differences or language barriers quenched His great voice. But, in all its beauty and majesty, His voice today made my heartache. As the boys splashed in the ocean and played in the sand, it all seemed familiar, too familiar. Any vacation in my family could include me sitting on the beach as the boys splashed and played, jumped and surfed. But had these boys? Who had sat and watched them? Who had and sat and taken pictures of them? Who would pack up their sand toys and wrap a towel around their chilled bodies as they headed back up? Today that was me."............Rachel Yates

Thank you for continuing to pray for the team and the sweet orphans of El Salvador!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday at CISNA

McKenzie and Theresa with new and old friends!
Tuesday was another busy day in El Salvador. The team spent most of the day at CISNA the boys orphanage that is housed in a former prison. As always, The bus was greeted by very enthusiastic boys awaiting their arrival! While the boys were in school for the morning hours, our group cleaned their living quarters, scrubbed their bathrooms and repaired a the broken basketball goal.

"It's hard to explain the feelings I am experiencing right now because frankly I have never felt them before. I know God has blessed us with this opportunity but overall I feel like I'm the one that has been blessed and I will be changed by this forever more" ......Drew Shadburne

"This trip so far has been very hard and emotional. This would be my fourth trip to this beautiful place of El Salvador. Every time I come I feel like God opens my heart more and more. One thing I have noticed is how people think that the more you go your heart hardens and you don't cry as much. Well, I am a witness to say that does not happen at all. I have cried more than I feel like I have ever cried. This trip has been difficult because I constantly find myself asking God "Why I am not the kid on the street? Why am I not the 15 year old girl who has already had a baby, has been raped by her father and she is pregnant again? Why am I not the baby who was abandoned at birth? Why am I so blessed?". But I know God gives us a home and a peace that surpasses all understanding. One girl on the trip said that when our heart is broken because of these people, the only thing we can do is fill it up with Jesus Christ."........Carson Stivers

"Today was a day at CISNA...a boys home filled with many stories of desperately hurting hearts. As I listened to a twelve year old boy tell his life's journey. He was abandoned by his mother at the age of eight. As I looked in his sad eyes I was reminded that my son was eight years old. Still so innocent and dependent in so many ways. I can't imagine him alone in a strange place so afraid with no one to hold him. Tonight my heart is so heavy. How many moments I have taken for granted. Realizing how we allow life to get so hurried, and stressed that we miss the many blessings all around us. God gives us each 24 hours each day. We are allowed to spend them whatever way we choose. My prayer tonight is for this child of God to feel peace and hope that only his Heavenly Daddy can provide.".........Leigh Ann Kephart

The photo below shows a sad but common occurrence when our team leaves CISNA. If you look closely at the back window of the bus, you'll notice how the boys always jump on the back of the bus, wishing they could leave with the group...
Wednesday, the team will spend a whole day at the beach with all the boys from CISNA. With the many bonds formed while the group was there yesterday, we can't wait to see how God will work today. Please continue to pray for God's children of El Salvador and for the encouragement of our team!