Saturday, June 15, 2013

The end of a wonderful week...

It's hard to believe that this is the last day of our trip.  Today the team went back to CIPI in the morning and stayed until the afternoon.  The orphanage was celebrating "Family Day" and needed some extra help with the children.  We all pitched in wherever was needed, doing crafts, Bible Study, praying, playing, holding, loving, and even skateboarding. :-)

I had the privilege of helping with the teen girls, where many times I had to choke back tears after hearing some of their heartbreaking "stories."  They have experienced such pain, rejection, and even utter abandonment.  Veronica, 15, was crying as her amiga tried to comfort her.  She said that she and her 3 siblings were living in the orphanage.  This morning, while we were there, her mother came to the orphanage and took Veronica's 2 younger siblings home with her.  She said that she didn't want Veronica or her other sister and left them there.  Veronica was sobbing and her heart was broken.  I tried to imagine would it would be like to be a 15 year old girl and know that you weren't loved or wanted by the very person who should love you the most. 

I heard many other stories, some much more graphic and just as painful.  I am so thankful to have been able to hug Veronica and tell her that she is beautiful and special and that God loves her and created her for a purpose.  We took every opportunity to hug and love on as many girls as we possibly could.  They all responded with hugs and smiles and more hugs.  We gave a lot of the girls who could read, Bibles and they were so very grateful. 

As I look forward to going home tomorrow and being reunited with my family and friends, I have to wonder what I will say about my experiences this week.  How can I put into words all that we have seen and done and felt?  I am grateful for the friendships that I have made, as we have co-labored.  I am grateful for those we were able to minister to in the name of Jesus.  I guess my prayer will be that I will go home a changed person because of the ways I have seen God work here.  Lord, help me to die to myself, and follow you...Luke 9:23
~ Angela


Friday, June 14, 2013

A dedication to Karissa!

When we got to the house the team has been building in Ahuachpan the ladies worked to furnish the house with the beds, colorful bedding, a rockin chair, cooking supplies, a table and chairs and some wall art while the men worked on making a ramp for the little girl. The house was buzzing with excitement. It felt like an episode of Extreme Home Makeover! The whole time we decorated, little Karissa was smiling from ear to ear.

When we dedicated the house, the mother prayed for US. She thanked us and God for the house. Even though the house is modest by American standards, she was extremely grateful. She told us how God sent us to build the house for her. I really do believe that God sent us, which is crazy because I often forget that I can make a difference in lives of others. I'm only 16 but God uses everyone for His plans.

We set out in groups to bring beans, rice and soup to the community. The bags were pretty heavy and we carried three or four bags each. It occurred to me that the bags we caried are like the burdens of the people (malnutrition, sickness, abuse...). When we give the bags to the people the burden of their weight is lightened on our backs and their burdens are lightened because God blesses them by the blessing of the food.

Towards the end we had one bag left. We prayed that God would show us who to take it to. We ended up giving  the bag to a widowed lady. Her husband was a Decon in the church and passed away exactly a year ago. Although she has 9 grown children she has no one to take care of her. The church refused to help her because she has so many children, but they can't care for her because they have kids of their own. God sent us to her because she needed help. Her husband died and life has worn her down but God didn't forget about her. It is such a blessing to be part of His plan!

Later we went to an orphanage called Marillac for older girls. We danced to Ganum style and made prayer notebooks. It always surprises me that the Salvadorian orphans know Ganum style!! I met a really outgoing sweet girl who is 16 like me. As soon as I got there she  introduced herself and told me I look just like Taylor Swift! I could tell we could be great friends. Kurt told me that she had been abused before and as a result she has anxiety attacks. This is crazy to me. She is just a young girl like me but has endured so much pain. I know that God will take care of my new friend. She is His beautiful creation that He loves. I pray that He will bless her and she will come to know Him. 

Being in El Salvador I come to realize how big God is. He is powerful and loving. He can bring 9 crazy Americans together at just the right time to build a house that changes the lives of its ocupants. I feel extremely blessed that He has given me so much and has allowed me to visit El Salvador. I am helping with a small part of His 
grand amazing puzzle which touches my heart. 

-Lily Douthitt

Thursday, June 13, 2013


This is my first trip to El Salvador.  I have been so extremely humbled by everything that I have seen, and it’s hard to believe that there are only two more days left of this trip.  I have found my heart broken many times this week.  Today, we started by visiting Guirola, a special needs orphanage.  We were welcomed by the director of the facility upon arrival and were shortly introduced to other staff members.  They led us in a tour of the facility.  Out of all of the orphanages we have been to so far, I must say this was the nicest.  All of their buildings were well kept and the inside of the children’s rooms were very clean and neat.  All of the children were wearing clean clothes and had their hair fixed neatly.  After the tour, some of the team members separated to unpack therapy equipment and toys for the physical therapy room.  The rest of team, including myself, stayed to play with the children.  All of them were very eager to be loved on and played with.  There was one child, who was in a wheelchair, that sat himself in front of the speaker to listen to the music.  Any time we would try to move him, he would lock his breaks.  He was having such a fun time dancing.  I felt such love for all of these children and it hurt me to leave them, however, it was a relief to know that the facility was taking very good care of them.

After leaving Guirola, we went to meet with some boys from CISNA.  We ate lunch with them and bowled for two hours.  They were all so excited and many of them were extremely good at the game.  I found joy in watching the smiles come to their faces when they would knock down most or all of the pins.  After leaving the bowling alley, we followed them to CISNA, where we are able to hand out crafts and yo-yos.  The team got to see their craft room and even buy some of their art work.  The boys there are so talented and creative!  I couldn’t believe the amazing images that they had made!

We then ended the night by feeding the homeless.  This started out a little differently than when we went on Sunday.  For starters, it was storming, so we were all bundled up in the back of the truck wearing ponchos and rain coats.  After stopping and seeing some of these people without shirts on, we quickly started taking the ponchos off and handing them out.  What was an hour of being wet and cold compared to all night, or even days?  My comfort all of a sudden was not important to me at all.  Another thing that we did a little different was going through the down town area.  For someone who has not experienced this, it is quite scary.  People just swarmed the truck.  We were lucky to have very great translators there who managed to make people get into a line.  It seemed like every time we turned around people were coming out of alleys and streets and the line kept growing and growing.  There was a very elderly woman there and many small children.  It’s not fair for people to have to live like this. Feeding the homeless is such a bitter sweet experience.  At the end of it all, you feel happiness for the people that you did get to feed. You feel joy for the person that was extremely grateful.  But at the same time, you feel sadness for the ones that you could not provide food for.  And you feel grief for those small kids left to fend for themselves. 

Today has been an emotional, but great day.  I am so grateful for this experience and to see just how truly blessed I am in my life.  I am so excited to have seen God working all around us this week.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

San Martin Day!

We had a blessed day ministering, or should I say playing with the least of these at the San Martin adult special needs center. We had so many old faces to reacquaint with and new residents to meet. We played music and danced, face painted, and the residents made hats as a craft. God, I love these people, but I don't understand why their minds and bodies are broken. Truly, these are the least of these.

After San Martin we went to the community of Suchitoto to visit the Hernandez Ayala family. This is the family that Starfish built a home for last year. The house is in great condition and the family is doing much better than this time last year. The mother is working part time and the girls are in school but they are still in extreme poverty. We all pitched in a little something to meet their needs since it was a surprise visit. I complain so much that my shed is too small for my lawn equipment and this whole family of 3 lives in a 10x20ft home.

To finish the day we stopped by the children's. Aids Orphanage. There were so many new kids there affected by this disease and they had no control over it. We played with them, Brian shared a bible story, then juice & snacks followed by a toy for each child. The government will not allow us to take pictures of he children, but the memories we've made will last a lifetime. It's only after I leave this place that I cry. It's just not fair. God, poor out your healing spirit on these precious children.  In Jesus, Amen. ~ George L. Fields

Monday, June 10, 2013


I may have to wait until I get back home for real reflection on all this, because everything's just kind of a blur right now. 
        Today I was struck, first hand, by the contrast between the contentment of poverty and the agitation of financial success.  We saw this family who were just thrilled with a tiny, three-room house with an outhouse.  Some others do nothing but complain about the problems caused by their blessings.  They buy a fifty thousand dollar car and then whine about how much their insurance costs.  Then I wonder, if these poorest of the poor were someday not poor, would they get caught up in the same petty concerns?  Maybe they only way to be really content with what you have is just to not have anything in the first place.      Brian

We went to the village today, near Ahuachapan to work on the house that the team last week had worked SO hard on.  We worked until the early afternoon, and then we left and went to a new orphanage, that we had never taken a group to before.  The team loved spending time with the boys and we hope to build a relationship with this orphanage.  It housed 400 boys at one time, but now only has about 30.  There were some tears shed when we left.

The new concrete mixer that the last team was able to purchase for Sus Hijos!
Lots of new friendships started today!  Lots of perspective gained! Tuesday we are going to San Martin to visit our friends at the Special Needs Center, then maybe to Suchitoto to visit the family that we built the home for last July, and back to see the amazing kids at the Aids center!  Please pray for our team as we serve God through serving those in need!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

First Day of a New Week!

     Today was a really great day!  Not unlike so many days on mission trips to El Salvador! We went to a small church, Iglesias Cristiana Monte Calvario Chuch that welcomes our teams as if we were long time members of their church.  We are blessed to get to worship with them,  there is no doubt when you are there, of the deep love for God!, that these people have!   

    George spoke at the church about having faith and trusting God. Claire sang "Mighty to Save", she sang it part in Spanish and part in English and did a fantastic job!  Brian told Bible stories in the children and youth Sunday School classes.  When he read ( in Spanish) about Jesus saying "let the children come unto me" Jenny, who was helping him, picked up a small child who was toddling around the room and put her in Brian's lap.

Teresa and Angela did crafts, and tied them in with testimony. The whole team did a great job!
Next (after lunch), we went to an orphanage,this orphanage has infants, toddlers, children with special needs,boys up to age 10 , teenage girls and some teen Moms with their babies.

We took turns working with each group.  We heard so many sad stories.......Teen mom about to age out of orphanage, but she is deaf, and loves her child, but the judge says that she has to leave, but can not take the child with her because she can't hear! Teen girls that have been abused in every way thinkable! One horrifying story after another. 

We are not parents of these children, we probably could not adopt any of them if we wanted to, but we pray that for this one day, that we love on them enough to make them feel like brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, or grandchildren.

The last hing we did this night was to feed the homeless. There were so many, some who were sucking on glue bottles to kill hunger pains, some dressed for the street corners, some children, some elderly, but the saddest of all, to me was the very first man that got a meal. The man was so dirty and he didn't have any shoes on his feet. After we gave him a meal, he wanted to shake our hands, he blessed us and then kissed the tail light on the truck! He must have been so hungry! I can't imagine being so hungry and thankful that you would kiss the truck that brought you a bologna sandwich !
I think he was praying when he kissed the truck.  He got it! I think he fully understood where his meal REALLY came from! ~ Laura

Friday, June 7, 2013

El Salvador - Day 5

Today started with a delicious breakfast around seven this morning, lots of pineapple, watermelon, and various other breakfast-like things. Then, we loaded up for our last day in Ahuachapán. Today, our mission in terms of the house was to complete the last section of roofing, concrete the floors, and most importantly to dig out a direct, level path from the door of the house, down an incline of the property, and onto the street. Over the duration of the day, we were able to accomplish all of these tasks, save finalizing the roofing. 
We then split up into groups and carried rice and beans throughout the village and gave food to members of the church who were in need. We walked to the entrances of their properties and introduced ourselves, at which point they invited us inside. We told them why we were llthere; to show them that God has brought us there to give them hope and to reinforce their faith in Him. We told them that we have come to present them with two gifts from the grace of God. One, being the food; enough to feed a nuclear family for a week. Two, being that we would pray for the needs of the family. After we had delivered all of the bags and finished paving the floors of the house we headed back to the house. Ryan and Orsy rode in the back of the truck like usual, because they are best friends. The rest of the team hit up the JosĂ© train and rode the bus. 
Once we got back to the house, we ate a ¡muy delicioso! meal made by our very own Kameron Ackermann, consisting of soft shell tacos and tortilla soup. After dinner, we formed an assembly line and prepared 184 bags of food for the homeless. Following this, we shortly celebrated Kenny's birthday, and we headed out to feed His children. We loaded up the truck and ventured out into the streets of El Salvador, feeding the homeless citizens, until all the food was gone. 
Now, we haves returned and it is time to turn in for much needed rest. 

by: Ryan Murt