El Salvador

El Salvador

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Wonderful Missions Trip

When our family came to Bethany 5 years ago, it wasn't long before we had a clear understanding of the many missions trips that Bethany is involved in annually. I thought that this was great and was encouraged by how quickly these trips filled up. I thought that it was equally great that people were using their talents for God, but never gave much thought to the possibility of going on a trip myself. After all, what could I contribute to a construction team? I sit at a desk for a reason and didn't consider that I might have a role to play on one of the teams. Boy, was I wrong!

A few people said to me over the years " all you need is a willing heart". I'd smile politely and think to myself " if you only knew how inept I am with tools". In a way, I convinced myself that I couldn't contribute and left it at that. Then Kevin came to me and expressed a desire to go on the El Salvador Missions Trip. He asked me if I would go with him. As a father, this was really a no-brainer. How many teens invite their parents to serve God together in a foreign land? I immediately said yes and the rest is history.

I am so grateful for all of you who served on this team. This group was not assembled randomly but rather was hand picked by God. After all that we have been through together in the last week, I am convinced of that all the more. It was clear that satan did not want our team in El Salvador and he did not want us anywhere near the people who we were privileged to serve. He tried to put many obstacles in our path, but God simply blew those obstacles away. What an honour to be in the midst of that. I was so encouraged by the team's response to each hurdle. Our circle of prayer would assemble quickly and the issue would be committed to God immediately. We saw a number of miracles occur and I thank God for the things that he did.

You are an amazing group of people. From Dig Team to Prayer Team to Childrens' Team to Construction Team, God's choices for this trip were bang on ( as always). It was simply awesome to get to know each of you more fully. It is clear that you all have unique gifts that perhaps God revealed to you for the first time this week. I encourage you to use them from this day forward for His glory.

I'm sure that we all have our bag of highlights for the week, but for me, a few stand out. Mine included working with and getting to know you all and the local Salvadoran guys, building Avillio Marino's house (the guy who was raising his children alone), and singing old gospel songs with Linda and others(Joanna, Maritza, Valerie, Kevin W...) who joined in. There was a ton of emotional experiences this week as well and for me, that was really awesome. Being the neighbourhood dad was also very special to me--hope I didn't nag you guys too much (make sure your homework is done tonight before you watch TV). Aside form the many more things that I could list, I just want to say what a privilege it was to serve with Kevin on this trip. As a father, I can't fully explain the joy of carrying out this labour of love with my son. I can't even adequately put it into words. I just want to praise God for it.

To our brothers Jose and Miguel, I want to thank them for the impact that they had on our teens. My prayer is that our gang grows in their love for God's people and also grows in their faith because of this experience.

I'd also like to thank Pastor, Maritza and their family for their awesome hospitality. They poured themselves into us with servant hearts and they will never fully know that impact that this has had

Finally, I would like to say a huge "thank you" to Dennis and Valerie for leading our team. Your patience and graciousness was felt by all of us and your love for the El Salvadoran people is obvious. God used you both mightily this week and I want to express my appreciation and gratitude for your tireless efforts.

I love you guys and I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to share the past week with you in this labour of love. Let's never forget what we've seen and experienced and let's remember to pray without ceasing for our brothers and sisters in El Salvador. They have taught us many lessons this week.

In Christ,

Dave (dad, papa, pops, pappy...)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A day of rest

After an incredible week with lots of "God moments" we are headed for the beach.
We have 17 people who are coming back to Canada changed. How can you not? We came here not only to build 6 homes but to be Christ hand extended and to impact the people of El Salvador.The wonderful people of El Salvador have shown us compassion, love, generousity,kindness and acceptence. They have taught us so much.

Once again I pray that it won't be long until God opens the door for me to return. When I go back to Canada my heart always remains here.


Valerie

i cannot think of a title for this

Mom if you read this, i think i lost the camera


-jonathan

Friday, March 19, 2010

Miguel

One more time I felt the God´s love in my life, I been enjoyed all my time with you guys, thank you for learn me new words and for you patience when I commit mistakes. Ha ha ha ha!

I want to tell you that all of you are so deep in my heart, and I will never forget this awesome week with Bethany team 2010

:)

OH MY GOSHHHHHH! i cant even begin to explain how amazing this trip has been... its been an emotional rollercoaster, and i have learned SOO so so much!! i can honestly say that my life has been impacted and changed, and i cannot wait to see what God has in store for me and His plans for my future. I KNOW that i am going to be coming back to El Salvador!
Today we went to a natural spring lagoon waterfall place and it was beautiful! im extremelly excited to go to the beach tomorrow, but i have to say that i am NOT looking forward to coming home.
it was tough today to say goodbye to all our new friends here, but i am certain i will see them again and i´m SO excited!!!
alrighty, well tonight we are eating dinner at the mayor´s house. kinda scared....

Friday

Because we worked so hard yesterday in completing 2 houses in one day, we didn't need to do any building today. This morning we had the key giving ceremony and the mayor of Apastapeque -San Felipe is in this region- came along to give his support and gave a bit of speech. The people recieving the homes were so gracious. It was also a little sad today because we had to say goodbye to our wonderful San Felipe friends. That's always the hard part. We develop such amazing relationships with the men, woman and children and it's not easy saying goodbye. I feel at home here, it is incredible to see how God is working through us and the people of San Felipe.

This afternoon we spent some time at a natrual springs lagoon and that was pretty neat.... I got sunburnt today though... I even put on sunscreen :(

This evening all of us are invited to have dinner with the mayor. That'll be pretty interesting!

Take Care and we thank everyone for their prayers!
Hasta Luego
Joanna

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Finished!!!!

The Bethany team has completed 6 houses in 4 days. I think this is a record! I have been truly blessed serving along side my brothers and sisters in Christ as we have built these homes for some really amazing families.
Each family has shared their life journeys and what they have had to endure. Earthquakes, mudslides, loss of beloved children and husbands as well as abandonment from spouses. Yet they still continue to glorify God in the midst of their suffering. It was an incredible honour to meet these special people and be a small part of the amazing things that God is doing here.
We not only completed all the houses but were able to deliver the food packages to the poorest people of San Vicente.. Many lost everything including family members from the mud slides. In February when I was visiting the tent cities I met a precious little baby girl who was saved from being washed away when the mud and debri washed through homes at 2 in the morning this past November. Someone through a rope around her waist and dragged her out of the water. When I was haning out food in the tent cities I seen her again sitting and playing in a bucket of water. She truly is a "miracle" and I know that she gives hope to the people who have been affeced by this tragedy.
Tomorrow is bittersweet as we are holding the key giving ceremony in San Felipe. We have completed the homes and we rejoice in that but we have to say "adios" to our new found friends.

I here all the time that El Salvador is a "small country with a big heart" and I must agree.. I am going back to Canada but my heart will remain here.

Valerie

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

3 down and 3 to go

As previously blogged, we arrived safely et al. and it is now late Tuesday night. After watching a video about our √úniverse and our Indescribable God, a tired and sleepy Bethany team headed to bed (actually thought that the all the youth would go right to sleep tonight). Within just a few minutes we experienced our own ¨Big Bang¨as an enormous crack of thunder pulled us all out of our beds. Some chose to wash their hair and play in the ensuing downpour while others just watched from the balconyor tried to sleep. This is my 4th trip to El Salvador and my first rain shower (this one is quite a storm). I am so thrilled to know that tonight three families are dry and sleeping under their new roof. I got to work on the roof on house number three and I do hope that those bolts that missed the beam are not leaking. I guess that we should be sure to include a tube of silicone in the gift baskets that we give to the new homeowners (Val´s special touch). El Salvador has become such a special place in my heart and my life as my family and friends are well aware. I love spending time with Pastor Jorge and his special family and they make each one of us feel so at home. What an amazing servant family and I thank God that our friendship will go on for an eternity. (with no language barrier).
Each time I come to El Salvador God teaches me new truths as I interact with the team and the people of this country. The unity on this Bethany team is truly amazing and it is wonderful to have this time to hang out, work alongside and serve with these brothers and sisters in Christ (most of whom I have never met before). No two days are ever the same and I guess that is part of what I love about it. I thank God for this opportunity and in particular for my precious and generous hubby who never questions or discourages this passion in my life. Continue to keep us in your prayers as we build the houses, distribute food and clothing, play with kids, show Christ´s love to the people and do whatever else needs to be done.
Linda

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3 houses

BETHANY TEAMS ROCK!!!! God is so good! I can't beleive I am writing this but we have completed 3 houses in 2 DAYS! Unbelievable.
Our mornings begin at 5 a.m to be finished breakfast and devotions by 6:30. We arrive at the worksites for 7 am
Today we were able to hold a childrens ministry. Joanna and the youth held a puppet show. The children were so amazed. I loved just being there to see all their faces. They were so happy. There were over a 100 children there as well as parents.
Tomorrow we begin working in the village of San Felipe. We will start building the other 3 homes as well as handing out the food. Pastor Jorge has already decided where we will be going to hand out the food. It will be to some of the poorest people in San Vicente. It's so hard as I see poverty eveywhere I look. With 80% unemployment rate these precious people cannot get on their feet. I see so much that needs to be done that I want to stay longer than a week.
The team has been amazing! Team unity is so strong. The youth are seeing poverty first hand and I know that it is life changing for them.
Tomorrow evening is our church service as well as the key giving ceremony for the first 3 houses.
Friday we will be having the key giving ceremony for the other 3 homes in San Felipe and if we have all the work completed we want to go to some natural springs to swim.
Lives are being changed in El Salvador and on the team. May God be glorified in all we do.

Valerie

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hello from El Salvador!!!!!!
I am so happy that we are finially here, it seems almost like its not really happening!
It was a bit of a cultural shock when we arrived, and i was scared about how i was going to take all of the new things I was seeing, but as soon as i met some of the locals, my heart was completely changed. They are so happy all the time, and so welcomming to everyone. It is so crazy how much love there is in this little country. I am excited to grow more as we are here, and learn more about myself, and about what God has in store for El Savador, I think it is great sucess. We went to church today, and it was amazing how much they love God here, everyone was so excited about life, and so happy. Its crazy that here, where people alomost have nothing can be so increadably stoked on God, and in Canada where we have almost everything, we have doubts about Him and don't always beleive. I am so excited for what God has in store for tomorrow, and the rest of the week! I LOVE IT HERE!
kay now a funny story. So me and the girls in my room (Katie, Jesse and Chelsea) were sleeping soundly, when all of a sudden we heard a gun shot! and we were freaking out, and we went outside and we were so scared. And it happened about 3 times during the night, and we thought that it was people shooting dogs, because they had been barking alot, and we were so sad. Then when we woke up early, we went outside and were sitting enjoying the weather and we saw a mango drop from the tree and hit the tin roof. AND IT WAS THE EXACT SAME SOUND AS A GUN SHOT. So we all laughed, and that was the end of it. But it was so funny because we were all so worried about our safety, but it was just very ripe mangos playing tricks on us!
funny stuff :)
anyways, time for bed, its almost 10 and i have to wake up at 5 tomorrow.

Goodnight, ill try not to let the bedbugs bight.. or the little lizards in our room.
hahah but im serious.

-Emily

Official Full Day!

Hello People reading this!
Wow! We have made it through an entire day! This is amazing! So this morning me and the roomies (Jessie, Emily & Chelsey) woke up at 2 AM! HOKEY DINAH! we woke up cause we thought we heard gunshots! So we ran out of the room screaming and were scared to go back to sleep. real smart eh? Hear a gunshot and run outside haha. were not the brightest .. but were learning! So this morning we woke up first and went outside and a mango fell out of the tree and landed on the tin roof, and it made the same noise. so I´m sure you can imagine how intelligabl√Īe we felt when it was a mango actually, and not a gun. we woke people up for nothing with all that screaming. haha!
So today what we did was went around to all the places where we would be building, and met the families.. seriously, the people pf El Salvador are my favourite people in the world now.. they are so gracious, and even with nothing they praise the lord, and are all so insanely happy because they have such love. Thats something I really want to learn this week, is to be gracious with what I have and love with everything. Being in El Salvador makes me so happy, it´s beautiful (theres palm trees! yay!) and it gives me such a sense of peace just by walking outside.. maybe i won´t be coming back haha .

Love & Prayers,
Katie

Ps, I´m also so happy about making friends already.. we have these 2 translators Hose and Miguel, they are wonderful, and such servants to the Lord it makes me happy, and Pastor Jorge and his family are such servants tp the Lord, they are the most giving people I´ve ever met, I want to be like them , they¨ve inspired me.

P.P.S.. This blog is keeping me awake, silly writing haha.. I should be in bed right now, but i´m not tired. so i´m writing this, what a rebel! but i´m going to get this rebel bum to bed, and sleep! well maybe not, because i´m in the same room as the Duldner. just kidding, she´s sitting behind me.

Anyways, this time i´m actually leaving
Goodnight!

WOW

We had a pretty cool day today!! - actually, it was really HOT! We travelled to all 6 of the work sites where we will be building the new homes for the families. Even though I was here last year, it is still quite unbelievable seeing what kind of living conditions they have. I´m very excited to build these houses! It´s awesome interacting with the kids. As soon as they see our truck pull in, they just herd around us. It was great seeing some of our old friends in San Felipe where we built 5 houses last year. This year we are building 3 houses in san Felipe and 3 in the city of San Vicente. Please keep praying for health and safety! Also, the locations of the work sites are farther apart from each other than we hoped. Please pray that the logistics of this will be ironed out as we travel to and from and inbetween the work sites to get these 6 houses complete!

Dios te bendiga!

Joanna

We've arrived!

We have arrived at the hotel. Yesterday we visited the family and seen where we will be building house #1. It is a blessing to know that by the end of this week they will have a new home. They are a family with 5 children. She was expressing to the team how happy she was as God has provided her with a home. To God be the glory.
Today we are going to be visiting the other 5 work sites and meeting the families whom we will be building along side this week. We will also be starting the food distribution. Church is at 3:30 this afternoon. Pastor Jorge and Maritza has said that the attendance at their church has exploded. Many people are coming to know Christ as their Saviour. God is so good.
Tomorrow the work begins. Pray for us as we need to complete 6 houses!

Valerie

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Puppet Practice
























Team packing day

5 days and were leaving for El Salvador. Getting the 18 bags packed. Around 900 pounds of items to donate!