Today, on our second day in El Salvador, we went to place called San Martin. This center is for special needs adults. San Martin always causes your emotions to go a little crazy , alternating between joy and sadness. The joy comes from the endless amounts of hugs and kisses from the sweet residents who very quickly become your new best friends. Dance parties are always a hit here, and any of these people could out-dance us gringos any day;) As always, God has a way of revealing different parts of himself to us in every situation. Having been to El Salvador two times before, it is easy to have the "I've seen it all" mindset. However, as I entered into the homes of the least able residents, my thoughts on this were changed. Seeing these people living in these conditions is always a hard pill to swallow. Many thoughts rush in and tears come from nowhere. This time, my mind kept going back to one thought. Where have these people been for the last 2 1/2 years? In the time it has been since I have visited this country, where have they been? The answer is simple; they haven't moved. While I have been contently living my life is the U.S., these sweet souls have been at San Martin. The same faces I saw in December of 2015 were there in those houses looking back at me. Knowing what to do with these thoughts is hard, but the answer is simple. The answer is to love. Although this sounds so overstated, it is a truth that Christ calls us to embrace. The remainder of our time here will be spent doing just that, and I can't wait to see what else He does through this team. - Sydney Stivers
Chaco tans and messy buns would accurately describe the looks of many of our teammates. To say it's a little warmer here than in Kentucky is an understatement. Sweat is constantly pouring off our faces and bodies, and we are constantly seeking shade, but none of that matters. What really matters is the way we bless others on this trip, and get blessings in return. Last night we fed the homeless. It was eye opening to see that people that can barely move or walk can run to the sound of the simple word "comida".
After almost 23 hours of being awake and the most refreshing 5-6 hours of sleep I've ever had, we started our first full day. We began by loading all of the supplies for tomorrow's day of building houses. This included many bricks, floors, walls, and tin roofs along with tools and concrete. Then, we went to a center for special needs Adult's to have a dance party and love on them. It was so full of hugs and the love of Jesus. We then got to go meet some teenage mothers and their babies. If you know me, babies are my favorite thing in the whole world. I got to hold the smallest baby I have ever seen. She was only 12 days old, and so so precious.Today has been a great day with many smiles and so many new friends, and it is just the beginning. Please continue to pray for our team and sus hijos for this trip and weeks to come. With Grace, Olivia Swadley