Today the team returned to the village where they had built the home. They finished putting together some furniture, and had a dedication of the home, and fed the community. It was REALLY hard to say "Good-bye", both for our team, and for the family that they built the home for. In just a few short days, they had made a bond that surpasses human understanding. This is a bond so much deeper than what would ordinarily be made in a few days. It seems like the same kind of bond that people make when they go through a crisis together, like random people stuck on n elevator for 3 days, but this was far from crisis! It is almost a "reversal of crisis".
This family was in the kind of crisis, that we here in the United States rarely know. They (the mother and the grandmother) not only had to make decisions like "Do we go and spend $20 for the medication for the handicapped child, or do we buy food for the other children", they also had to worry about the handicapped child wandering off. They only had an opening for a door, in their previous home, that had a sheet over the doorway. The boy had the tendency to wander off. Once the police had picked him up and he wound up in an orphanage that our teams frequent. They thought that they had lost him forever. Now they have a home, with a door that they can lock at night when they are asleep, and not worry about waking up and him being gone!
The grandmother told one of our team members, (with the help of a translator) that they thought they had lost the boy forever. They had been so frightened that they would never see him again. In reality, God used the boy being lost to bring attention to the conditions that the family was living in, to get them the help that they so desperately needed. Had Starfish Orphan Ministry, and our missionary friend not heard from the government about this family, we could not have helped them. The very difficult time, that the family went through, thinking they had lost their boy, was the very thing that God used to get them the help! HOW AMAZING is our God!
How often in our lives do we think that things are truly awful, but God uses them for our good? He uses those times to mold us, to shape us, to guide us to the good that He has for us, like He did for this family. Now this family has an ample supply of medicine that the boy needs, they have a new home, their home has locks on the windows and doors, that will protect them, and the boy with special needs that wanders. They and their community have been loved on, and they have seen the love of God in tangible ways. They saw it with every drop of sweat that the team dripped (and I understand from the team that there were THOUSANDS). They heard it in the testimonies and the Bible story about Jonah, where our men and teenagers were willing to humble themselves to dress up with tablecloths on their heads, to hold the attention of children and adults that were SO anxious to hear the story! They experienced it through touch as the team hugged each of them, and they felt it as the team poured their hearts out to this group of neighbors. They tasted and smelled Gods love in the food that was given to them by our team.
We are told in Matthew, Chapter 25 that whatever we do for "the least of these", we are actually doing for HIM! Our team had the honor oft serving HIM in a precious, intimate way these last few days, and I know that each of them grew in that experience!
To follow suit of a popular commercial ad campaign : Cost of a mission trip to El Salvador. . . approximately $1400. . . . Value of the experience and the renewed understanding of what's important in life. . . . PRICELESS!
|So pretty in their pillow case dresses!|
|Such an unlikley group! Only with God's guidance did they all wind up here now!|
|Starfish above thir door to remind them of this time when God sent the Starfish Team to bless them!|
Testimony about today from a team member:
Today we went back to the house and made some final touches. Upon arriving, I went into the house and noticed in the corner that the family had gone and picked beautiful flowers. This was confirmation that this house meant a lot to the family and it would really be taken care of and looked after. I also noticed that Dora, the middle aged girl of the family, was so much happier. I asked her how she slept, and she quickly informed me that she had never slept so well and felt so good when she woke up. It really made me more grateful for my bed. Next, we officially turned the house over to the family, by presenting the family with a plaque that was nailed to the front of the house. As well as a certificate, and two painted starfish hung above the window and door. As we handed over the keys to the family, it was such a beautiful moment for the team. For the first time the family showed emotion. All they could do was cry. At this point I realized that this was going to change this family’s life forever. Through God, we made a difference. We also had the opportunity to deliver bags with beans, rice, and sugar to other families living in the village. This was very humbling because these families welcomed us into their houses and were not ashamed of their messy house/shacks. They were just thankful. Where as, in the U.S. we get so worked up about making sure our houses our spotless before we welcome people in. They were just so thankful. Next, we traveled to San Martin where we were greeted with “Waz up?!!!!” and “Juan Carlos.” We put band-aids on all the boo-boos, danced to Michael Jackson, as well as blew bubbles, painted faces, and handed out treat bags. We headed to the Aids Orphanage after that, and painted their faces and played soccer with the children. Later we ended the night with feeding the homeless on the streets of San Salvador..
|New gas powered cooktop will enable them to cook without building a fire!|
|Grandma praying for the team! What an honor for our group!|
|Everyone has their own bed now!|
|Plaque of dedication for the home!|
|So hard to say "Good-bye"|
|So many blessings for the family and the team, but so hard to leave!|
|Grandma was SO thankful!|
|Giving God the glory!|
|No need for words!|
|Until we meet again!|