"Today our team spent the day at CISNA, a government-run orphanage for boys. They usually range in age from ten to seventeen. There are about forty boys at CISNA right now; sometimes there are a few less, but usually there are more, often numbering over one hundred. They are very active and enjoy playing sports, so some of us played soccer with them, and some played frisbee. They also enjoy simple things like face-painting and listening to music with the team. CISNA made more of an impact on me last year than any other orphanage we visited, because I was so burdened with the fact that these boys and others like them are the future of El Salvador. A couple of times this week we have fed homeless people downtown, and I never want to think about any of these boys being among the destitute people we have seen living on the streets or belonging to gangs. It is SO IMPORTANT to make an impact on this group, to help them become future leaders and successful people in their country. After some fun time this morning, I talked to the boys about God's love for all of us, and that we are ALL neighbors that are supposed to love and support each other, no matter where we live. We talked about the way that God made each one of us different, with various talents and abilities, so that we can truly serve one another while glorifying Him. I asked them to look around at where we were sitting, reminding them that they would only be at CISNA for a time, and that one day they would be adults, ready to use their talents for good purposes. We prayed, asking God to allow us to see others as He sees them, with loving, kind, and forgiving hearts.
We enjoyed preparing a delicious lunch to share with the boys, grilling chcken and fixing corn and french fries also. Three of them had just completed a cooking course, and they were very proud of their diplomas. One of them helped us fix lunch, and he is quite the young chef. I told him that he can use his culinary talent to serve others and to glorify God, just like we had talked about earlier this morning. After lunch was over, the Starfish team painted the front of two of the dorm buildings, and a few of the boys pitched in to help us, which was great to see.
It was difficult to leave these young men this afternoon when the time came.. Many of our team members have made multiple trips to El Salvador, and have become well-acquainted with these boys as well as girls and boys at other orphanages. Many warm hugs were exchanged, along with promises that we would see each other again one day. Please add these young boys to your prayer list! A lot of them have experienced many terrible things that no one should ever have to go through, and working through these memories can often be a long and difficult process. Ask God to help them realize their need for relationship with Him and with others, and to give them the strength they need to become all that He created them to be!"--Mike Henderson
"Today was an emotional day for me. A combination of it being the last full day and going to Cisna made for a bad combination. We first started off with the usual, waking up and eating breakfast after a looooong day. We spent all day at the Cisna orphanage for boys 9-18 years old. When we first arrived I could tell that it was different, the boys thrived to have your attention. For me, this was the different part. At all of the other centers the kids wouldn't come up to you and introduce themselves; however, here they all did. I got to know so many kids and how they ended up there as well as their stories. There was one kid that stuck out to me, and I got to know him well as he continued to play with my camera. We played a variety of games such as Frisbee, basketball, and fùtbol. I had a lot of fun just hanging out with the kids at they all made their rounds to visit all of our team members. We also grilled chicken for all of the boys. This was an awesome experience because they don't get to eat that kind of food very often, I could tel they had a blast. The end part of the day was spent painting the outside of two of the dormitories. We had a good bonding moment during that as a team as we all had to avoid spilling paint, and painting each other!! It was an awesome experience to say the least. As the time here is coming to an end, I can really see that these kids need us to help support them. I am thankful for God allowing us to be stewards here in El Salvidor, and I thank him for choosing me to be here at this time. I am truly blessed!"-- Aaron Garrett
Today was our last full day in El Salvador! Tomorrow afternoon around 2:15, our plane will be taking off and we will be headed back to the United States! It has been a full week, and we are all going to miss being here in ES, but we are ready to be home and see our friends and families and to continue living out our mission in the "los estados unidos."
**A huge thanks from the team to those of you who have followed our blog and prayed for us this week! :)