There truly aren’t words to describe this week. God placed this group together and gave us an amazing leader.
Shannon was our wonderful leader on this trip. God blessed her so much as a leader. Shannon wrote something that definitely needed to be shared within this blog.
-“Today is our last day in El Salvador. I can't believe how fast time has flown, how much we can still do, and how sad I am that in just a few short hours I will say goodbye once again to the orphans, the missionaries, the translators, and the people of El Salvador. All whom I just call "mis amigos"..."my friends". God is at work here. The spirit is alive and He is real!
When I was asked to lead this trip back in April, I immediately said that I would really have to pray about it. I looked at my “Jesus Calling” devotional that day. I felt like God talked to me directly in that devotion. It was all about making choices and listening to the voice of God and equipping us. I continued to pray and the more I prayed the more I felt like my answer should be "yes". With that "yes" also came a "but". But if I receive the phone call for my adoption to travel to Ethiopia then I will not make this trip. My husband and I had started the adoption process about a year ago at that time. I had survived my first mission trip in April of last year here in El Salvador. I use the word "survived" not because of fear of losing my life, but because the emotional pain I felt after that trip had to be "survived". God broke my heart for what breaks His that week. I came home depressed and feeling like I really didn't do anything here in El Salvador. I really didn't make a difference. It was not until we decided to adopt, and I decided to return to El Salvador just three months later, that I could pull myself back together and rid myself of the depression. Anyhow, there was a real possibility that I would be in Ethiopia instead of El Salvador, but God is always in control and His plan was El Salvador.
With that yes, I began to pray even more fervently over this trip, this team, and God's will. I knew that God would equip me but I was still out of my comfort zone and afraid. I was the only one on my team who had ever been in El Salvador and who had ever been on an international mission trip. I only knew one of my team mates. Just lots of insecurity and discomfort filled the air. When I met my team, and began praying for each one of them individually I knew God had an amazing plan for these wonderful people. He had handpicked this team. This team has been such an amazing blessing in my life. I thought when I came here we would work nonstop...which we have, be really tired...which we are, and just help the orphans and people of El Salvador in whatever way we can...which we did. What I did not expect was this amazing bond between our team, the prayers, the healing, the way God not only touched us by the people of El Salvador but touched us by one another. It was amazing!! We met together every morning and every evening for devotion time, reflection time, and most importantly prayer time. All these "times" we met together was how God showed up and gave me the strength to get through the days, and to get through the emotional pain that broke my heart over and over again.
I could sit here and write about all the amazing orphans and people we met in El Salvador, what we have seen, and what we have done but I feel like I just need to Praise God for His presence, for this team, and for taking our little "yes"...our tiny bit of mustard seed faith..and using it for His glory! Praise you God! Praise you for who you are, were, and continue to be!!
We have seen God’s glory and work since the moment that we have been here. Today wasn’t any exception. This morning we visited the community. It was home to many, the houses consisted of wood, tin, stone and plastic. The roads that lead the house where dirt and most people in the community walked as a mode of transportation or rode horses. We went into the community to visit a family that a house had been built for over spring break and to pass out bags of beans, rice, flour, bibles, and toys for the children. We went to visit the family first. There we learned that the mother of the children was very sick. Our bus driver ended up driving her to the hospital. Later in the day we learned that she had gastritis and appendicitis. God placed us in the right moment at the right time. If we hadn’t gone into the community she might not have been able to go to the doctor and eventually to the hospital. This was only the beginning of our day. We saw God work in so many ways today. We broke into groups after leaving the family and went into the community to deliver the food. I can’t truly describe the community we were in and the roads we walked. Most families were large and also had one or two dogs. As we passed out bags we each had different experiences. Matt, Jean, and the translator Lilly were all on the same team. They were walking the main part of the dirt road. They had walked passed an older man and had then gone back to him. As they begin talking to him they learned that he was the only one in his house. Upon learning more of his story they learned that he was not yet a believer. Before they left the man they were praying with him and he was accepting Christ into his life. A women came up with her two children and they also started talking to her. She lived with her husband and he had started seeing someone else. As they were talking to her they learned that because of this she had moved out. She had of heard of Christ but did not know him as her personal savior. As the conversation progress the women went on the also accept Christ as her personal savior. To God be the glory because two new people were brought to his kingdom today.
After the community we went to spend time at a nursing home. The people there were absolute angels. They loved us hugging on them, talking to them, and just simply being there. We played BINGO with them, which many of them had never played, and they loved it. After BINGO we handed out donuts for them to eat with their diner, stuffed animals, and got to set and talk with them a little while. We didn’t get to spend a ton of time with them but the time we did was precious. They were so grateful that the “gringos” had come to see them.
Tonight was a night out with all the translators, Kurt, his family, and the team. We went to a restaurant that made traditional Salvadorian food. While their music was played, we danced, and rejoiced for all the work that the Lord had done this week. The group that God placed together this week was exactly how it should be. The translators couldn’t have fit the group more perfect and they are amazing people. How El Salvador is and how God worked can’t really be presented to you in a blog. The words that you read on this page are simply that, words. For you really to experience the joy that we have then you must follow God’s call in your life. It might not be in mission work but God has something for each and everyone one of us. So here is our last blog from El Salvador, for now anyway. We thank you for your constant prayers and for everything else you have done to make this trip possible. We do give this trip completely to God though because without him and His unfailing love, glory, and blessing this amazing week wouldn’t have been the way it was.