Saturday, June 9, 2012

He Let Us Help!

It is 1am after our last day here. in 2 hours we get up to head for the airport. I am just winding down after a long day and a short trip.

We got up this morning to get in a quick trip to the souvenir market. For the first time all week we saw some native culture and spent lost of money on it. On the bus ride out of there we stopped near a guy on the side of the road selling El Salvador national team soccer jerseys and flags. He approached our open windows and made a sale, then another, then another. In all he must have sold 7-10 items in 30 seconds. I think we made his morning. After that we headed to San Martin. It is a convalescent center for adults and some children with severe mental and physical problems. It broke our hearts to see a severely disabled, bed ridden, 23 year old (who looked about 12) who had been used as a drug mule as a child. (He had drugs sown up inside of him to smuggle them and it all went wrong). We played and danced with the residents. We fed them snacks and made crafts with them. Then we headed out for a quick lunch. After lunch we spent the rest of the day finishing up the painting and plumbing at the transition house. Kurt surprised us with a plaque that will go on the wall with our churches name on it and the following verse...

Zephaniah 3:17New International Version (NIV)
17 The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,

but will rejoice over you with singing.”

I thought that was pretty appropriate for young orphaned men, lost in a world that has hurt them, trying to build a foundation for a good life at this transition home. God will take great delight in you... He will save you... He will love you... He will rejoice over you with singing. For me that verse reminds me of when my children were infants and were sick with a fever. I remember one night I say in the living room and held my then infant daughter against my chest and sang to her all night long so that she would stop crying and sleep.

That is what God is doing with these orphan boys. And the amazing part is that he let us help.

--Hope to arrive home (In Benton) by about 5:30 tomorrow evening. See you all then.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday: Hopefully, we've made a difference!

The update today is from Alison Watson: 

After riding in the back of a pick-up truck to feed the homeless at 11 - 12 pm last night and getting to bed much later, we were up early again this morning to work on the transition home for boys who are leaving CISNA. The home will house 4 - 6 boys who have turned 18 and, by law, must leave CISNA, the boys orphanage. Many of the boys who leave the orphanage have no where to go and wind up joining gangs for security, food, housing, etc. This transition home will provide an option for those boys who show interest in improving their lives and who truly have no other options. 

The missionary, Kurt, was able to rent the home for $150 per week and pay 6 months rent up front, due to our assistance. The home has 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, kitchenette and a very small courtyard. We started our work with prayer as a group; praying for the young men who would live there, for the man who Kurt hopes to find to stay there to mentor the young men and for those who will determine which boys get the opportunity to stay there. Then we broke into groups and prayed in each room of the house, in hopes that each room will be a blessing to those who will live within its walls. The work that we did there today was filled with painting, painting and more painting. Did I mention that there was no air-conditioning??? We were all melting and trying to paint brick walls as fast as possible, since we only had a half-day there today.

When we'd run out of paint and steam, we headed to lunch and then to CISNA to do activities with the boys there. We sang a few songs, in Spanish, of course, and then had the puppet show. These boys were too cool for a puppet show, but a few of them enjoyed it. Afterward, we did arts/crafts...made bracelets, necklaces, balloon animals, did face-painting and temporary tattoos. The face-painting and braided bracelets were a big hit, as well as the music on our iPhones! When they'd had enough arts/crafts, everyone went outside for a game of soccer. Everyone had a great time and Alli Chancellor scored a goal for our team! Before we left, we handed out treat bags and soccer balls for every boy there...about 30. They were thrilled! Many of the boys followed us out to the bus, ran after us and waved and smiled as we left. It was another unbelievable day, in which,in the lives of some wonderful people in need.

Wednesday: "Forgotten!"

These children almost never leave the orphanage, so when you get them on a bus, they are usually super quiet!

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Matthew 20:15-17  

Written by Lara-

Today we went to the beach with a group of 25 special needs children from La Guirola- Some of the workers here referred to them as the "Forgotten". They ranged from highly functional to wheelchair bound and nonverbal. My amigo was a 10 year old named Jose, he was very shy but absolutely glowed when I took his hand to walk out to the buses. (By the way, if no previous blog mentioned the absolute skill of the drivers here, they should have!) For most of these children, it was the first time to ever see the ocean, and some the first time to swim... The scope of need here is overwhelming, these children's needs were simple, they want to be loved, to be touched, to be listened to. And after doing all these things, your heart breaks because you want to do more. Apparently Justin Beiber spans international boundaries also! The singing and dancing was something to behold. The work that Kurt and his many associates do here is awe-inspiring, but if you said that to any of them, I am sure they would not accept praise, they are truly God's hands to these people of El Salvador.

Tonight those of us who did not go the first night to feed the homeless will go, after hearing from the first group, I fully expect it to be a life changing, gut-check moment, and even with that, I do not think I am prepared. Please continue with the prayers for us. Every day has challenged us, made every one of us step out of our comfort zone in the most wonderful ways. My prayer is that this trip will continue to do this, and change all of our hearts forever.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday; "I Met Jesus Today!"

Below is one person's account of the day. , , ,

It's one thing to know about poverty intellectually, it's another to hold it, touch it, feel it - to see poverty cry.
It's not "it's" - it's people, God's children. We fed the homeless & yet our food ran out. We left other homeless people hungry. I called God to talk to Him about this & asked him, "Why are things this way? Why are there so many people in need?" He looked at me & said, "I was about to ask you the same question."

Jesus says when we feed & clothe the hungry, we feed & clothe Him. I met Jesus today. I was surprised. He was a toothless Spanish woman with a disabled child. When we gave her some food, she turned into the "widow's mite". Without enough to feed her own family for the day, she asked our little group in & offered us the few tortillas she had in her house (if you call her broken down shed - a house). She asked us to pray for Eduardo, a mentally challenged, physically handicapped child. We could only pray that God's love would somehow permeate what seemed to be a hopeless situation.

I saw a young teen-age girl sit & hold the hand of a special needs child with Aids for a solid hour. She never moved. She just held her hand & when she left, she wept bitterly. We all wept.

I don't understand all this. I don't know how to solve any of this. I do like the names on our shirts - Starfish.
Somehow, someway, just to help one. I don't know if we will help one or change one but they have helped me.

Phyl & I send this in tears & at the same time, we send it with much joy. Kurt, the missionary, is unbelievable.
Our interpreters have been fantastic & priceless. We have met so many other wonderful Christians doing His work.
Hazel & her family from Madison, Mississippi. Claire & Lilly, two teenagers, from Paducah. Melissa from Washington, D.C. who works with adoptions & another Melissa working with orphanges here in hopes of adopting a little one herself. Our own teenagers continue to amaze us!

As we close, we hear our teenagers singing in the background. They are recounting what they saw, what they heard, who they touched & who touched them. We are all touched! We have been touched by the hand of God!
~Charlie Brien

Special Thanks to all who have donated Beanie Babies!  They are LOVED!


Family in front of their house that His Children built. (that is the ministry that our host missionaries have)