Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day of the Child

What a day of celebration! Today all of the orphanages came together to celebrate the Day of the Child. It was a day full of food, dancing, face painting, and fun, but most of all celebrating His children!

Here is a note from Leanne Kerner...

I look back on this week and think about many things like special needs adults dancing to One Direction or making bracelets with teen moms and seeing the excitement on their faces. But the one moment that sticks out the most is holding a baby named Axel. Axel is a six week old baby born to a teen mom at Cipi who had a mowhalk and was cute as could be. They laid him in my arms and I fell in love, in that one moment I saw the real reason I am here.

Isaiah 6:8 says “ Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”

I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

I felt a call to come on the trip and I had no idea why, when I held Axel it made sense. Holding him made me realize that he is the reason why I am here. Each child is born into a world full of hate and needs someone to show them love. This love will make the difference in what path baby’s like Axel will take.

I think about this child growing up and all of the great things he could do such as be the doctor that cures cancer or a minister that God uses to lead thousands to Christ. In order to do that he must have an influence in his life to show him that he is loved and God can use him to do amazing things.

God can also use each of us to do something amazing like help Axel grow up to be a disciple or serve in our own communities, but first we have to do what Isaiah did, we have to say “Here I am. Send me.” Be willing to step out on faith and go where God wants you to serve not just were you want to.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Just Dance!

We began the day delivering rice and beans to a very poor community. It is always a humbling experience to visit these homes and pray with the residents. 

This afternoon the group visited the happiest place on earth... The adult special needs center at San Martin! We painted many faces and fingernails, did lots of coloring, and danced until we could dance no more! 

Then it was time to go to the HIV/AIDS home for children. Here we had more fun doing Bible stories and other activities. The kids had a great afternoon and so did the group! We are so thankful for a wonderful day full of blessings and so many happy faces!
Here is a note from Dave Sheppard on his experiences from today...

Day six in El Salvador and what a blessed day it has been! We started the day by going to a squatters camp and handing out beans and rice to needy families. The translator would start the conversation by explaining that this family is very important to God, so much so that He sent this group of Gringos to bring them two gifts. The first gift is material in the form of this food being given to your family, the second gift is a spiritual gift of prayer for you and your family. We would ask for specific prayer requests, the standard response was for provision and health with a couple of requests for husbands that have went astray and one father who needed a job. Different members of the team would lead the prayer and the translator would repeat in Spanish words that were spoken.

We then had the awesome privilege of going to St. Martin, a adult special needs facility. I saw God today in a disabled man named David, he was so full of joy and readily gave hugs with affection to total strangers. We were given a tour of the entire facility, which included the homes of some very extremely handicapped adults. After the tour we set up a music system and loud speakers and danced with reckless abandon. Oh the joy that was expressed and the pure happiness that flooded us all, can only be described as priceless. I would encourage anyone reading this to plan on experiencing this blessing for themselves.

The climax of our day was soon eclipsed by the fun we had with children at the HIV/AIDS facility. We started with a drama skit from the OT, David and Goliath. Then we did face painting and played games with the children for over an hour. I can honestly say we were so filled with the Holy Spirit which overflowed our hearts with pure joy. James 1:27 This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. Add to that the unwanted, under privileged, oppressed and disabled and you have a recipe for pleasing God and learning the true meaning of giving unconditionally. God is totally awesome and I am so blessed. Come and see what I am talking about yourself, but be prepared for a life changing experience. ~ Dave

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Old Friends

Today we visited with the family of Waldemar, a young boy that many of you prayed for. He was a 4yr old boy fatally injured in an accident here in El Salvador last year. The group spent time in the home of Waldemar's parents, praying over them and his new baby sister. Please continue to keep them in your prayers!

We also had time with an old friend! Here's a note from Jay Michael...

In 2008 I came to El Salvador on a mission trip. I was never one to have the desire to go to another country, let alone get out of my comfort zone to serve GOD on a mission trip to help anyone or orphans. Somebody else with more compassion and desire will do it. But as I get older my convictions get stronger. A very good friend had talked to me about getting involved. I didn't know why but I decided to go. I was going to "go along for the ride". When we got to the boys home, a little boy named Diego crawled into my arms looked up at me with sad eyes and said "yo tango no papa"which  means I have no father! Our bond began there. 

I went back the next year and all I wanted to do was find him again because I felt like there was unfinished business. And as he accepted JESUS in his heart I thought it was done. But I have felt like the past 4 years I had a little boy out there that still needed guidance. I had to come back and find him and continue to mentor him. As this trip got nearer I had found out he lives 3 hours away from where we are and it would not be likely to go that far for just 1 child. As we got to El Salvador and the days began I found out that were going to go to his town to see him. It was a long grueling drive but we made it and found him. We took his family to lunch and then got him some clothes and shoes. Then we dropped him off at his home. All I could do was cry with sadness. I turned to the group and thanked them from the bottom of my heart for their time and sacrifice for going because Diego is MY STARFISH! ~ Jay

Tomorrow we are delivering rice and beans to a squatters camp in the morning. We will be praying with destitute families, asking their worries and concerns. We will also visit the special needs adults orphanage at San Martin as well as the HIV/AIDS center for younger children. Please pray that our team may bring joy and love to the children and that they may see Him through us! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Living by faith

Today we spent all day doing bible school at the orphanages of CIPI and Cuidad Los NiƱos...
The story of David and Goliath was the highlight of the day. We also painted lots of faces and played a lot of soccer! 

Tonight's post is from Jonathan Roberts:

Mathew 25:40-45 "The king will reply,Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'  "Then he will say to the ones to the left, "Depart from me you who are curssed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and youdid not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and you did not look after me." They will also answer 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply , "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for the least of these you did not do for me." 

From the moutain tops to the valley the Lord's love spreads to everyone rich or poor tall or short no matter what your giants are. God is with you through anything you face. He has a plan. He will be with you through any thing you face. I have expirencied all of this from feeding the homeless to playing with little kids at an orphanage. With ten kids getting saved and giving their hearts to the Lord in the last 5 days. It couldn't get much better than that. ~ Jonathan Roberts

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Facing Giants

This morning we spent several hours working on the new boys transition home. This is a house for boys aging out of the orphanages looking for something better for their their future. It is an alternative to joining a gang and living on the streets or going back to negative family situations. The home will house up to 8 boys and a director. The kids will learn how to manage housework, school, a job and Christian studies all with a mentor.
This afternoon we visited an all boys orphanage. We were able to share stories and testimonies, paint faces, play soccer and more!
"Things that I have seen this week are going to forever change my outlook on life. I grew up with a mom and dad. I always had a roof over my head. Being around all of these children has been both a heartbreaking, yet humbling & positive experience. It really doesn't take a lot to make these kids smile. Feeding the homeless was also an unforgettable experience. The people were so happy to get not only food, but a cardboard box to use as shelter. What a beautiful experience ... And it's only Tuesday" ~Dave Price
Wednesday we will be back at CIPI with the teen moms, teen girls, young boys and girls, small special needs kids, and babies. Please pray for us as we bring Bible School to the kids tomorrow and try to  show Christ's love through all we do.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hill of Beans

We began today teaching Sunday School at church at had a great time doing Bible stories and crafts with the kids. Then, in the afternoon it was off to a special needs orphanage for hours of partying and fun!

I loved the service this morning. Everyone should try attending a church that doesn't speak your native tongue. I mean do we really need to understand everything?
It's now been about 36 hours since landing in El Salvador. Everything has humbled me . Leading worship this morning, felt like a disaster. It's funny how things seem to play out better in our minds. But God came through and got me through it. Everyone is getting along well, and it's truly a group that's passionate about giving everything they have. Even if they, including myself, feels as if they aren't the right person for the job. We are a diverse group, bond together by many common goals.

Fed the most precious orphans today. It's still so dumbfounding to me what these kids are going through. It's just another life, and other day. In the states people would be so torn up about these kids. And would want to take action against abuse, or neglect. Here you do what you can, and you pray. That's all you can do. I wish that I could give pictures. But there are none that I have. They are only planted in my memory. It almost seems a dream, almost seems made up. Until you witness it, you'll never realize it's not. It's nothing that you wake up from and find relief. The only thing I will awaken too tomorrow is knowing there are so many out there that have never had someone who cares. I may not be able to preach the gospel to these children, but I can show them the love of Jesus. I do know they understand love, it's universal and cannot be hidden by earthly circumstances. It's the love of the Almighty. When I look at these "special needs" orphans. I don't see the special need, I do see the need, and that they are very special. We are all created perfectly, and without defect. God said it best to Paul. "My grace is sufficient". Because that's Gods love; unbiased, unfailingly, perfect. 

Jesus gave his disciples the authority to, "heal every kind of disease, and every kind of sickness". I believe whole heartedly if one believes they can do this. Then even today, they would without a doubt cleanse those that have been cast aside, like the leaper. We must learn to believe it though. It's not about where we come from, what language we speak, the past we lived. We are all adopted into a holy family. When God calls us home we will all be casting our crowns. Yet we will be liken to kings and queens. ~ Taylor Kibler

El Salvador, October 2013

Today the team landed safely just before lunch and spent the afternoon at CIPI; an orphanage for babies, young boys and girls, young special needs children, teen girls and teen moms and their infants. Many of us reconnected with old friends and others made new ones! 
We played soccer, painted fingernails, and rocked many babies. Even Jay had his nails done!
Later tonight we packed about 150 meals and went out to feed the homeless. 
Tomorrow, after church, we will spend the rest of the day at an orphanage for special needs children. Please pray that God uses us in a mighty way as we continue to serve His children!