Today was our last day in San Vicente, and thus brought the ending of many relationships built throughout the week. It was a day to see the effects of our labour, the strength of the relationships we built, and the dedication of our teammates.
The day started the same as the others, another breakfast of eggs and a devotional given by one of our team members. Today Josh gave the devotional, and despite not knowing it was his day to share, it impacted many of our team members. We were reminded of our responsibilities having witnessed the blessings and miracles that happened this week. We have all been given so much perspective and passion in these past seven days, and Josh challenged us to consider what this will mean when we return to our lives in Canada.
As this was our last day in San Vicente, we also got to celebrate the key-giving ceremony and reconnect with the families who received houses this week. Upon arriving at the site of the ceremony it was surprising to see only a couple of families waiting for us. However, we didn’t have to wait long before familiar faces arrived from every direction, and the atmosphere was soon filled with scintillating joy and laughter as we got to see all the families again. As happy as we were to see them all again, they may have been even more happy to see us. Everywhere you looked Salvadorians were approaching us Canadians, giving gifts and hugs, and even requesting interpreters to exchange heartfelt words. We were all given the opportunity to present a family with a Bible, personalized verse, and the keys to their new home. The amount of gratitude and pure joy the families displayed reassured our mission of coming, and is why many of us continue to come back year after year. A powerful sermon and worship session reminded us that none of this would be possible without God.
Another highlight of our day was helping with the kid’s ministry that ran during part of the key-giving ceremony. Children who had received houses this week walked hand in hand to where our interpreters (and Greg) had prepared fun worship songs for them. Our translator, Miguel, then shared the story of Jesus with them, using such animated visuals that not only was every child captivated, even those who do not understand Spanish knew the good news he was sharing with them. As all the kids marched back to the ceremony in a line, there was an overwhelming sense that they were marching to a future with a roof that doesn’t leak and a steppingstone to building a relationship with Christ.
Finally, we ended our day with a trip to the clock tower with our shelter teammates and their families. Over the course of the week we built such strong relationships with them, and having their families welcome us with open arms made us feel less like a team of individuals and more like one big family. For a lot of us, saying goodbye to this new family at the end of the day was very difficult. We knew this time would eventually come, but we couldn’t be prepared for how close we had became. We all look forward to when we will return and get to see them again.
Today brought with it endings and goodbyes, but also new beginnings for 36 deserving families. As we sit here attempting to write a conclusive paragraph at the end of this amazing week, we are at a literal loss for words. God has done so much beyond what any of us could have expected.
Good week, great week, had a great time.
Renee Smith and Isabel Song.