Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tuesday: Serving Breakfast & An Afternoon of Baking!

We began Tuesday morning assisting at a fantastic ministry in San Salvador. This is a place that provides services very similar to the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge or the Ronald McDonald House. They actually go to a local hospital in the morning and search for families to help. Most of the patients are children with HIV/AIDS, Cancer or other life threatening illnesses. They let the families know that they have a a safe and free misson where they can take them to receive a free warm meal and prayers for their family's illness and difficulties. Many of these people have traveled for hours or days to get to the hospital and are their waiting all day for an appointment.
We were so blessed to cook and serve a warm breakfast to these precious families. It was a pleasure to listen to their stories, pray for their families and reassure them of the healing powers of our great and All Mighty God! 
The children were thrilled to color with us and loved their treat bags!
The little girls also left with beautiful new pillowcase dresses!
Next we headed back to Cipi for another visit with the teen girls!
The first on the agenda; a quick stop to deliver pillowcase dresses and shorts to all of the children at the center! We are so thankful to all of you who have sewed the dresses, shorts and skirts for many months! The hair bows we delivered this time were a huge hit as well!
For the first time, the boys got cool spiderman shorts too!  
In the afternoon, the teen girls were able to take a trip with us to an upscale bakery!
THIS IS UNHEARD OF! They are not allowed to help in the kitchen at the orphanage, and many of them told us they had never even cracked an egg before today!! They were beyond thrilled to be there! It was such a joy to see the smiles on their faces!

What a blessing to watch the excitement on the girls faces as they truly experienced real baking for the first time! After they finished and were waiting on their cupcakes to bake, we sat and talked with them as a group. One of the girls raised her hand and said, "Thank you so much to everyone who helped bring us here today. I have always dreamed of having a mother who would bake with me and today I knew what that felt like." What a powerful statement! Many of the girls told us they had never even cracked an egg before!

We hope that this experience will encourage the girls to realize and remember what they are capable of. We did our best to remind them that they have a Heavenly Father who has given each of them talents and they can do anything in life they set their minds to if they do it for the Glory of their God! Please pray that they will remember this experience and set goals for their future!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hola! Greetings from El Salvador!

Greetings from El Salvador! Today began a week long celebration for the "Day of the Children"...
As a team, we began our day on the soccer field at Cipi helping with the inflatables! I'm not quite sure who had more fun! As part of today's special celebration, they were able to come outside and dance as well as play!  Everyone had a great time! Especially the special needs children! They were able to sit with us in the bouncy house and experience freedom from their wheelchairs with giggles and smiles all around!
The children were so excited because the famous "CipiTio," a Salvadorian children's television star was coming to perform at the celebration! All day they were looking for him...
Is that him? No! That's Johnny Macho!
Is that him? No! That is Jose!
There he is! CipiTio!!! The kiddos were thrilled to see him! He did a great puppet show, played music, sang and danced with the children all afternoon!
In the evening we ordered pizza for the entire orphanage and served the children in the cafeteria. It was such a blessing to serve each and every one!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs! Psalm 100:2

We began today with a beautiful church service in San Salvador. The pastor and congregation were very welcoming of our team. They allowed us to join them in an incredible hour of beautiful praise and worship music. The congregation worshiped with pure joy to be in the house of the Lord... What a blessing to be a part of their service! They also invited our team member Aaron Garrett to worship on stage with them. He had prepared a beautiful song in both English and Spanish!
 After the praise and worship time, our team took the children for their children's church. Dale & Cathy did a fantastic job of sharing several major events throughout the Bible with their Bible Story dramas. With our wonderful translator Mrs. Jenny they made the perfect team to capture the kids attention and share with them God's love for each and every one! The rest of our group did various crafts with the children and teens and talked more with them about Christ and his love for each and every one of them!

     "What an amazing day! After having so looked forward to being a part of a Starfish trip...we are finally HERE!
     We worshiped together with believers in a different language and style but our Lord is the same and He was glorified!
     Dale and I got to teach the Bible story to two groups of children at the church and they were so precious.
     Then we were off to CIPI, the orphanage with all age children as well as pregnant girls and/or new moms and a special needs group of children.
     After telling the Bible story to the teen age girls and teen moms, some as young as 13, they asked about how long we had been married. When we told them more than 30 years, they asked how in the world we could have been married so long! What a privilege to share with them.
     The sweetest and most touching thing today was watching as Dale played with 3 special needs boys--all had to be tied in their chairs for their own safety, due to their disabilities, but Dale had them all laughing--loudly and with totally abandon! It was great! God is being so glorified here...! I am so thankful to be here!" Cathy Hancock

We spent the afternoon at Cipi where as Cathy said, she and Dale continued to share Bible stories with children of all ages. Carson and Aaron worked with some of the teen mothers on designing beautiful bracelets while Mike and I did animal crafts and face painting with elementary age boys. Then we all spent time with the precious children in the special needs center at Cipi as well. We played, sang, and loved on our precious friends and it was hard to say goodnight after helping feed them dinner. After a short visit with the babies in the cuna, we had to head out for the evening.

Tomorrow we will be back at CIPI for a Celebration! All this week the country of El Salvador is celebrating "National Children's Day." We will have the joy of helping bring in inflatables for them to play on, face painting, plus famous Salvadoran children's personalities to entertain and more!

Please be in prayer that through all of the excitement we can continue to build relationships that allow us to show God's unconditional love to these precious children in need. Pray that they may know that while their earthly father may not be available, their Heavenly Father is always right by their side!
We are so thankful that you have taken your time to follow along and we ask that you take an extra moment of your time to share our blog with someone today... You never know how sharing a quick note may influence someone else to make a positive difference in the life of a child! Whether that person begins to pray, a year from now donates their childs old toys, a few years later volunteers, or maybe in five years decides to adopt... Any one of those could make a drastic change in the life of an orphaned child.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

All packed up and ready for the day! We've got everyone and we're on our way!

The team met bright and early this morning. As we finalized the details on our luggage, and discussed who would ride in which vehicle and whether or not everyone had all of the items they needed, things began to feel a bit hectic. Just as usual, everyone is excited to get on the road. For those who have been before, they can't wait to see a familiar faces. And, for those going for the first time, their minds are running wild with excitement and the thrill of the unknown. 
 Over the previous months the specific team members have changed several times, but I am confident that God hand chose each of our seven team members very carefully. We are all very different and come from very different places. From Grandparents to Students, Single to Married, Different Occupations and Different Interests, but we know that God placed us together this week for one simple reason, to Love Him by serving and loving His own precious chldren!

Sunday we will begin the day at a local church here in San Salvador. Aaron Garrett, one of our team members will be singing along for praise and worship and them our group will be assisting with chilrdrens church for around 30 young chlidren. Dale and Cathy will be doing a dramatic stroytelling of many major events throughout the bible and the other team will be doing crafts with them as well.

In the afternoon, we will head to CIPI, an in-take center for San Salvador. There will be groups of babies and toddlers, young girls & boys ages 4-7, Teen girls, as well as a few Teen Moms with their own children. There we will be delivering supplies, and again doing bible studies and crafts, all while reminding our new friends that they are not alone, and they have not been forgotten! They will always have their Heavenly Father to help them through anything big or small!
We want to take it a step further, and that will require your help! To truly ensure these precious children that they are not alone and that they have not been forgotten by the world around them, we must continue to pass along these messages, we must continue to share statistics, and always continue to encourage Christians that adoption doesn't have to be a last resort! We know some people are not called to adopt or foster and that's okay. But, as Christians, we are all called to do SOMETHING!
Let your first SOMETHING be reposting this blog link to your Facebook page, or telling a friend to read this week's blog. Or just PRAY. We NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the power of prayer! But please take the challenge and DO SOMETHING to make a difference in the lives of Orphans TODAY!