Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Monday - MCHS in El Salvador

For their final day in El Salvador, the team took children from an orphanage to a beach resort! While living just a short drive away, many of these children have never even seen the beach, let alone visited a resort. They had a great time swimming with our teens and playing in the sand.

Eli Hudspeth - Today was easily my easiest favorite day of the week. As I walked into the Pacific Paradise resort, I felt that I was going to enjoy today a little more than the other days. Being able to just relax and play with the kids was so refreshing at the end of the labor intensive week. I connected more intentionally with this young girl named Stephanie. I was able to chase her around and make her laugh and smile as much as I could. With every smile and laugh I saw, it brought the same amount of joy to me. To her, I was probably seen as a stupid American that continued screaming “ladder” and “cockroach” for no reason, but, to me, she was the person who made the whole trip worth it. Stephanie had one of the most adorable laughs and smiles that I have ever seen or heard and I’m certain I’ll continually look back at the pictures and videos I have of her to reminisce on these beautiful memories I’ve made. I’m so appreciative of Starfish Orphan Ministry for allowing me and my fellow classmates the opportunity to visit with these sweet kids along with the many other people I’ve come in contact with. This trip has been so impactful on my life and the amount of lives Starfish is changing through experiences like this is astonishing.

                                       Hope Hodges -
No one could argue that this week was a long one for all of us. So we were all excited to hear we would be going to the beach with orphans from “Nuestros pequeños hermanos”! The resort we attended, Hotel Pacific Paradise, was extremely beautiful. In the kid’s eyes, you could definitely see they were very excited. Although the language barrier has been something new for me to navigate this week, I’ve noticed it doesn’t bother the kids whatsoever. Many of them find it very amusing, us gringos trying to speak Spanish. It is also gives the other children a chance to practice English which they very much enjoy. Today I had the opportunity to collect shells and write in the sand with a group of young girls. Although the actions were things I had done many times before, they meant so much more today. Every time I write in the sand from now on, I’ll think of how Zenaida and I wrote “Jesus loves you” in the sand today. I know God really revealed a lot to me this week. Despite all the unfortunate circumstances here, God’s love is visible everywhere. Seeing the pure joy in the children’s faces when they get to play with us and do things they haven’t done before fills my heart so much it might as well burst. Starfish is really making a          difference in El Salvador. I know that I will forever be grateful that I got to be a part of it

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sunday - MCHS in El Salvador

Sunday was a day full of hard work for the team along with countless acts of selflessness and service to others. Please enjoy the accounts from Josie and Leyla below...

-Josie Powers-

Although today was the longest, hardest day we have had yet, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being able to build two houses for two beautiful families was an experience I will never forget. Every moment from putting the floor panels down to moving the furniture in to the final locking of the door, such joy was portrayed on every family members face. It’s amazing what God can do. With Gods grace and love we got to build two families not only a house but a home. A home where many memories will be made, many laughs laughed, and many hearts filled. When they told us that we would be building a house, I thought they were crazy.

Very few of us have ever done that kind of work before. Yet once again God worked a miracle, and gave us the strength and patience to complete the project.

His love and grace carried on to that evening, were I had the experience of feeding the homeless. This was something that no one could prepare me for. No matter how much they told me of what I would see, it wouldn’t prepare me for seeing more than a hundred homeless people lining the streets. Most people ranging from ages five years old to eighty. But once again, Gods love was shown. We had the blessing of being able to  feed some of the people. To many a sandwich, soda, and apple is not much of a meal, but to them it is a little glimpse of hope. Even if just one person was able to understand Gods love through a small act of his grace, it was worth it. His love never ceases to amaze me. 

-Leyla Young-
“This day was probably the hardest for me. As we got to the community we went to meet the first family, a couple with two younger girls. And they couldn’t be any sweeter. Moving on to the next family’s house that we built. This was the hardest part for me. I met a young boy Mario the day before at the festival and played with him. When I saw that we were building his house it broke my heart. I didn’t know that the sweet loving boy I met a day ago was in desperate need of a home, love, and hope. To hear his story and about his family was the toughest challenge I faced. I never thought how much a little boy could impact me in just a 24 hour time span. You truly don’t know what people have and don’t have.


After a long hard day of physical and emotional pain, I fed the homeless. I don’t think I was mentally prepared to what I was about to see. You see homeless people here and there but nothing to ever grab your attention. When you see kids 5,6,7 years old on the street and in shirts and panties for clothes it goes to show you how much people need help, they need love, lots of love. “

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Saturday - MCHS in El Salvador

Taylor Puckett

Today we had the opportunity to play and excite kids that will remember this day for days, months, or even years. I am over joyed that I get to make an impact on a child in such a big way. 

I painted many Mickey mouses and butterflies on beautiful faces and hands. The smiles and laughter made everything worth it.

After the festival, we were able to donate food items such as sugar, rice, beans, and spaghetti noodles. All of the recipients of the food were very gracious. They repeatedly thanked us and blessed us. We prayed over their family and the food given. The love of the Lord and his word shined through the whole day, especially the moment when we were able to hand them a bible of their very own. This day is one that will stay with me for the rest of my life. The opportunities to give love and happiness to people who are so thankful for the work we, McCracken County High School, got to do. May God always be with these wonderful people, and let his word lead them into their later years.

Lilly swanz 
At the beginning of the festival in Ahuachapan, I didn’t think much of the “work” we were doing. Playing sports and blowing bubbles with cute kids would be my dream job, so it didn’t feel like work. It wasn’t until we handed out donations and delivered food to the community that I realized how much of an impact we were making. The desperation in parents who would try to get more than one pair of flip-flops that may not even fit their children was heartbreaking. When this thought crossed my mind, I truly grasped the need in the community. For nine years, Starfish has been working towards meeting that need through this festival. The impact it has made was evident in the fact that each of the families remembered the festival in previous years. In one house when delivering food, the mother told us that her children look forward to the festival each year. She described it as a time of celebration for their community. The children who were playing in the community where we delivered food recognized us from the festival.

They ran up to us with smiles. Although they were shouting words I didn’t quite understand, I understood a young boy named Javier who called my name. He had remembered me specifically from the festival because we played with frisbees and bubbles. He showed me the toy car that he got from our donations. The pure joy on this boy’s face made clear the impact that we had made and that Starfish will continue to make in years to come.