Saturday, March 21, 2015

Friday, San Martin goes to the beach!

Today, the Starfish team took the San Martin adult special needs to the beach for the day. A perfect day to end the amazing week we have all encountered is an understatement. Upon arrival, the team quickly unpacked the bus and got busy to welcome all of our guests for the day. Everyone of them was more than excited to greet our team with hugs and “hola”s. Then everyone headed straight for the beach to take in the amazing scenery. You may have seen the ocean before, but experiencing it with these guys was an experience unlike any other. Let me paint a scene for you. Imagine 19 adults on our team and over 20 special needs adults all hand in hand walking, laughing, running, jumping, some literally just laying in and sitting in the sand letting the water wash over them and just joyfully enjoying the perfect moment God had blessed us with. Talk about seeing the ocean the first time through someone else’s eyes. Happiness in the purest form! From there the day consisted of swimming, water balloon fights, crafts, a great lunch with cake after to celebrate Laura’s birthday and dancing. And wow! Dance  they could!!! These guys could dance for hours. It didn’t matter the song or the beat they were just overjoyed to be dancing and dancing and dancing!


I am personally blessed that this was my second trip to El Salvador. The first time was a life changing experience and after I left, I felt that I had left a part of me behind. So this year I was overly excited to have the opportunity to come again. However, I am equally as changed this year as last. I volunteered this week to type the blog the last night because I felt like thats where God was placing my heart. All week I prayed about what to say or for something to inspire me. And though there was many many things that impacted me this week a great deal, this morning I still woke up knowing that there was something lacking. God told me to have patience that it was yet to come. He knows that patience isnt my forte so maybe waiting to last minute was just the thing I needed. So today about halfway through the day I was out walking on the beach and one of the special needs adult men came to me carrying something. He motioned for me to hold out my hand, which I did and then he placed a seashell in my hand. Upon first glance I noticed that the shell had a decent size hole in it. It was broken. However, he was grinning happy as could be from ear to ear. He looked from me to the shell and back to me and said “bonita” which means beautiful in Spanish. My first thought was his perception of the shell was off, it wasn’t beautiful it was broken. 

And then it happened. God spoke to me and said “Is it his perception that is off or is it yours?” Wow, talk about shaking me to my core. My El Salvadorian friend was right, the shell was beautiful even with the hole because it was created by the Creator himself. It was my perception that was off. My friend wondered off into the sand to find another shell but God continued working on me. When I was looking at the shell I had been looking just at the brokenness not at the shell as a whole. God put a great word into my head, too many people like myself look at just their brokenness and not at themselves as a whole. We look at the holes and all the imperfections. God looks at us as a whole. Despite our many imperfections he loves all of us and sees the beauty in what he created. Do we deserve it? No, but he loves us anyways. Take the ocean for example, most when gazing upon it admit that it is beautiful. However, it too has its many imperfections, broken shells, seaweed, dead fish and much more but in whole it is beautiful. That's what God does with us he looks at all of us and he sees beauty and he loves us. He doesn’t see an imperfection where there is a hole, He sees a place that only He can fill! I encourage you all today to think about your perspective and try to look at the world more through eyes like my El Salvadorian friend. Lord knows He used that guy to change my perspective. Next time I see a special needs person I won’t pity them, I’ll admire them for the way they see the world: through the eyes of Heaven. 

-Melissa VanCleve

Matthew 20:16 "So the last will be first, and the first last."

Please be in prayer for the safety of the team as they travel home on Saturday! As always, we also pray that they return home eternally impacted; ready to positively change the lives of the less fortunate, whether it be locally at home, in El Salvador, or anywhere else in the world. Thank you for being a part of this journey!

No comments:

Post a Comment