El Salvador

El Salvador

Monday, September 18, 2017

El Salvador BBQ - $11,200 raised to build homes!




We sure had an awesome weekend for the BBQ fundraiser - God provided a gorgeous day.  We had no idea what to expect with the new earlier service times but who knew that people would love breakfast burgers!  A big thank you for all the support that was shown in many ways!

A total of $11,200 was raised to build homes in El Salvador! The homes we build cost $3,400 each so that's 3 1/4 new homes!






We are so excited that even more families will have a solid, safe and secure home this build season.  But even better is that more families will experience God's love and have the opportunity to get to know Him more intimately because of the generosity of the church community.  We are absolutely amazed at God's goodness and His provision.

Thank you for all your encouragement and support for the El Salvador teams!

Eldon and Rose Loewen



Thursday, September 14, 2017

BBQ and Bake Sale Fundraiser


BBQ and Bake Sale for El Salvador Homes:
All are welcome!  Sun Sep 17 at Bethany Community Church in St. Catharines, after both morning services, in the Pavilion. (from about 10am to 12:30pm).  Enjoy hamburgers (gluten-free hamburgers available), and hot dogs, chips and pop as well as a bake sale, all by donation.

"Cityscape of El Salvador"
by Elliott Song
Silent Auction of the framed original “Cityscape of El Salvador” by Elliott Song will be taking place.  Elliott is a high school student who went on the March 2017 El Salvador trip.  He drew the picture while on the trip in March and it really captures so much of what we know and love of El Salvador.
Silent Auction closes at 12:30pm on Sun 17th. 
Prints can be ordered as well.  Two print sizes are available: 
10” inches x 18” inches for $60.00 or
5” inches x 9” inches for $30.00

If you can’t make it to the BBQ but would like to order a print please email me at  elsalvadormission@bethanycc.ca



Jewellery by Carolyn also available at the BBQ!  Here’s a sample of some of her beautiful pieces!

All proceeds go towards building homes 
for those living in extreme poverty in El Salvador.  
Hope to see you there!
Family in front of their new home!
March 2017 trip

Friday, April 28, 2017

Dessert Auction Breaks Record Again!

How incredible that the Dessert Auction raised $14,612!  Half of the funds raised are going towards supporting Nichola Henry, missionary with Operation Mobilization, and the other half towards building homes in El Salvador! That’s enough to build 2 more homes in El Salvador!  Thank you so much for supporting the El Salvador mission trips!  And what a fun night!  Who doesn’t love to see their Pastors get pie in the face?
Building Homes in El Salvador

Eldon and I have seen God at work in El Salvador!  Here’s the report that we gave at the Dessert Auction:
El Salvador is a beautiful country of mountainous landscape but inflicted with problems of poverty and gang violence.  If you read news of El Salvador, you will read a lot of bad news.  But we are here to bring you some good news and to tell you about open doors.

Bethany Community Church sent two mission teams working through the organization called Shelter Canada – a team of 24 people in November and 25 people in March.  Twelve homes were built each week which means there are 24 families made up of 97 family members whose lives have been changed!
November 2016 Team
We get to work alongside the families and other local volunteers in building these homes.  But more importantly we have the opportunity to build relationships, and bring hope in difficult places.  We asked “what are the most difficult challenges that your community faces?”  The answer – lack of job opportunities and violence.

Every member of our team gets to interview at least one of the families that we build for and here is one of the stories that we heard:
March 2017 Team
Del and Patricia have a one-year-old daughter named, Theresa.  They are a quiet and loving family who also take care of and live with Del’s 82-year-old mother who struggles with her health and memory.

Del considers himself a jack-of-all-trades as many of the Salvadorian men do – taking on any odd jobs to earn income.  At this time, Del was employed selling lottery tickets, which means he leaves the house at 6 am to meet his boss where they travel to different communities selling tickets.  Unfortunately this does not give a steady income, often earning less than $5 a day.
Del, Patricia and Theresa
 in front of their new home!

They had moved from place to place trying to find a reasonable home to rent.  They lived under enormous pressure trying to come up with the $50 rent per month that they had to pay.  They were so thankful and relieved to have this new home where their anxiety was alleviated and it now allows them to use the rent money for living and sustaining themselves.  They asked us, “Why would you come to build houses in El Salvador?”  We were able to share how God’s love for us compels us to help others and show His love; and they praised God with us as they were certain this was God’s gift to them.

These are hard-working people who want to provide for themselves and their families, who long for the opportunity to get ahead, who dream that their children will have a better future.  They are warm and loving people who embraced us and told us their stories.  And somehow by working, praying and laughing together we were all lifted up.

Change is made family by family and before you know it, whole communities have been changed.  In November the leaders of Rio Frio planned a community party to celebrate the 350 homes that were built by Shelter Canada over the past 4 years. (our Bethany teams have worked in Rio Frio on numerous trips)  We had the incredible privilege to host this party and participate by making hundreds of balloon animals and painting hundreds of faces!  Over 2,000 people were in attendance!
Rio Frio Celebration Day
Pastor Mendez of Rio Frio (we know him as Pastor Pastor) told us that he cried out to God to see his community have homes and he has seen that come true.  Communities that are becoming safer as they stand together against the gang violence.  Communities that are hearing the gospel as teams come in to share the good news as we build together.

“Open doors” – that’s what it’s all about.  There are so many stories like the one just shared and these are made possible because of what God is doing through Shelter.  Ten years ago Shelter built 30 homes.  In this past year 376 homes were built through Shelter! A total of over 2,300 homes have been built since Shelter started.  That’s why communities are celebrating like we did in Rio Frio.  That’s a lot of families who now have a roof that doesn’t leak and they can actually lock their door!

But the homes aren’t even the best part.  Just think of all the people those 2,300 homes represent.  Thousands of people have experienced God’s love and have heard the gospel loud and clear.  How amazing is that!  As we go and show God’s love by building homes, this opens doors for the local church.

Pastor Amilcar, who heads up the main church we work with in El Salvador, puts it this way: “God uses some people to open doors and He uses other people to walk through them.”  Because we come and build homes, the church in El Salvador now has open doors that they can walk through.  They are now welcome in communities where they could never go before because of the gangs and the fear of violence.  But now they are welcome.  And they are ready!  God has been raising up leaders in El Salvador and workers to support this huge evangelical outreach.  People are now in place to facilitate, to train and to go and make disciples.  They are ready to walk through the open doors.
El Salvador Leadership Team for Shelter Canada
And we are ready to go and open even more doors!  We’ve barely scratched the surface in El Salvador.  Shelter has built 2,300 homes in 110 communities, but there are 12,000 communities and 400,000 families still in desperate need in El Salvador.  People ask us “Are you done yet?”  But we have just begun!

Our biggest challenge is raising funds for the houses and the Dessert Auction is a huge help in that! Thank you to so many who have supported the ministry in El Salvador!  None of this happens without people responding to what God places on their heart.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

El Salvador Cityscape - by Elliott Song

El Salvador Cityscape
by Elliott Song

Friday, March 17, 2017

Kids are the Best!

The colourful yellow bus
The hard work is over, the twelve houses are built, today it was time for a real treat.  About 9 a.m. this morning a full sized bus, with no roof, and lots of colours and balloons showed up at our hotel!  And...it was loaded with kids from the local Compassion Center, not just any kids, kids sponsored by members of our team.  There certainly was a lot of smiling going on, maybe some joyful crying as well.  Everyone piled on, some meeting their sponsored child for the first time, others greeting each other once again.

The bus sped through the streets dodging dogs, people, cars and motorcycles.  It seemed that everyone in town knew the big yellow bus, as everyone waved and smiled and laughed as we went by.

We arrived at the Compassion Center being greeted by line ups of kids throwing confetti and streamers, and holding big welcome signs.  The greetings and hugs continued as we got off and settled in for a short devotional led by members of the center and some of the children.

Following the devotional, we were taken on a tour of the facility.  This center services around 300 sponsored children from the area who attend once or twice per week and are exposed to things like computer training, sewing, jewellery making, and aestheticism(if that's the wrong word I mean manicures and pedicures, and don't worry, I didn't get colour).
Some very interested onlookers

Since the Compassion child I sponsor is from another country, I was able to be an observer today, which means I got to stay in the shade! It was amazing watching the kids warm up to their sponsor parents, or for those who had been here before, the kids dove in!  Old and young played soccer, hide and seek, tag, skipped, and who knows what else for over an hour in the hot sun, and not a complaint.

We got back on bus and headed to a farm house outside the city for lunch.  Many of the children's parents were able to attend as well, so it was an awesome time to share a meal and converse with the sponsored child and their family and get to know them well.  Then it was present time.  Sponsoring families brought toys, games, food, toiletries annnnd SOCCER BALLS!  It was so cool walking around watching all these different kids eyes lighting up.  What a day!

 At the debrief session tonight, most people's highlight of the day had to do with meeting and being with their child.  Although the sponsored child's parents tell us they are blessed, it is certainly we who are blessed.  But really, I think it is God's way of blessing both sides.  Everyone loves kids, kids are the best, and God knows that they will melt our hearts and bless us at the same time as melting the hearts of the El Salvadorean people with the care and compassion that is shown to their children and themselves.


Sponsoring families, sponsored children and their families and Compassion workers all gathered together. 
                                             

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Compassion


          We visited a Compassion Centre today and got to meet our Compassion Foster Child.  What a thrill!  It was great to visit the centre and to see all the good work that they do with around 300 children in this community, but to meet little Alisson grabbed a hold of my heart.  We had been thinking and praying and preparing for this visit for a few months and were so excited when the day finally arrived.

          We got to visit with her and her mother through an interpreter and to find out about her life here in El Salvador.  We also got to play with her and to her sweet voice giggle and squeal with delight.  The presents we had brought for her were perfect and we could tell she loved them.  The groceries we purchased for her family completely overwhelmed her mother with emotion.  It was only a little for us, but does so much good in her young life.


          The day was all too soon over and when we said our goodbyes we hugged with tears, wondering when we might ever be with each other again.




























     You can find information about getting your own compassion child by following this link Compassion Canada.  Share the love of God with those less fortunate, it is only a little for us, but means so much in their young lives.  God has richly blessed us, let's build a longer table, not a higher wall.  God will bless your generosity.






Building Done, Water Park and Ice Cream- Elliott Song

Today the team completed the construction at last. Though only two houses were built today, the intense heat and large rocks made it a very taxing few hours. Luckily everyone's efforts were rewarded with a trip to the local water park! Team members, community members and workers all were able to cool off and enjoy themselves together at Amapulapa water park. I personally enjoyed playing some soccer with the locals. It is something both our very different cultures are able to understand and connect through. 
Later, after an amazing pupusa dinner the team enjoyed various forms of Boston ice cream. Sundaes, milkshakes, fruit shakes and cones were some of the many treats. The day was finished with an extraordinary testimony by Donald and Ellie, workers at the shelter organization and members of the local church. They shared the amazing ways that their faith in God's plan for them helped them overcome life's most terrible obstacles. It was inspiring to all of us to hear about their great strength, integrity and perseverance in unimaginable situations. 

Overall it was a very eventful day as we celebrated the completion of the houses, continued building relationships, ate some awesome food and learned about an extremely inspiring example of God's power. I'm looking forward to what the rest of the week has to offer.

*Pupusa is a typical El Salvadoran food consisting of a tortilla stuffed with a variety of meats, vegetables and sauces. It's really good.