El Salvador

El Salvador

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The End

Today we are heading for the beach and flying back home tomorrow. All good things must come to an end. It's been an incredible week with the people in El Salvador. The teenagers have been asking me if I can leave them her. I would but I am sure their mom's would kill me.

God is doing a mighty work here. Many people are coming to know Christ as their Savior. In the end that is why we are here and the most important thing. I am so thankful that Bethany has a chapter in the book that is being written here of God's powerful work.

See you in Canada!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Food and Celebration

Today was an emotional day. We went to the village of San Antonio where EMCC has started to build homes. There is such poverty there. My heart breaks for the conditions that the people are living in. I don't think I will ever get numb to seeing poverty. At least I pray I never do. We handed out food to the many families living there. We also were asked to pray for various sick children and adults in the village. One of the babies we prayed for had a fever and trouble breathing. A man we prayed for was having severe pain in his kidneys. My heart grieves for these people who have to suffer in such desperate conditions.

This afternoon we went to celebrate the completion of the homes with the key giving ceremony in San Felipe. We give all glory to God who has provided these amazing people with homes and the team strength to build them. Lots of tears shed as we had to say goodbye to all our friends. Until March we told them. I am counting the days.

Tonight we are going to the mayor's for dinner.
Yesterday we FINISHED our seventh and final house! We finished the house in 2 hours and 5 min!! That is a new record! Our team just worked so well together! IT WAS AWESOME!

We then had lunch and headed out to the orphanage. It was just indescribable. When we first got there it seemed like the director might not even let us see the kids...it seemed like Satan was trying to put up a barrier. But Valerie talked to him and prayed and about 5 min later, the director came out and told us we could hand out the care packages and play with the kids for an hour. The children were so beautiful. I braided hair, painted nails, gave piggy back rides, cheered on some team members as they played basketball (which the girls from the orphanage totally kicked our Canadian butts!). The hour went by so fast. There was one girl I really connected with, I painted her nails and then she asked if she could paint mine. When it was time to leave I went to hug her and she held me so tight, like she never wanted to let go. She asked me about the ring I was wearing and said it was bonita...beautiful, I told her it was from my Mom and Dad, it really hit me hard then that these children have no parents, no parents that can braid their hair, or play cars with them, or lift them up on their shoulders. Man, what an eye opener.

Well we headed for dinner after the orphanage, and of course Maritza, as always, had an amazing meal of steak, rice and tortillas ready for us. Iḿ coming to see how much I love the people here in El Salvador. I´ve grown such a bond with our interpreter Carla, two of the guys who worked with us Carlos and Victor. I don´t know how Iḿ going to leave.

Thank you again for your prayers! Today we head to San Antonio to hand out bags of food to the families still living in tents since the mudslide last year. We will then have the key giving ceremony in the afternoon. I can´t believe we built 7 houses. What a blessing that God is using us in this way.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

2 hours and 5 minutes

That is how long it took the team to complete house #7. Can you beleive it? We were all at the worksite today and we all came together to get the job done. Pastor Jorge and a group of men were up until midnight last night to deliver the building supplies. When we began the job Basilio said we could build the house in two hours with this team. I spread the word and we were up for the challenge. We missed the mark by 5 minutes. We are leaving here with 7 families having a home. A place to shelter them from the rains and scorching sun. A cement floor to walk on instead of dirt. Door's and windows that lock for safety. What a blessing God has given these amazing familes.

After we completed the last home we visited the orphanage in San Vicente. We brought them bags of much needed towels, sheets, and facecloths. We also made up "care packages" that we handed out to each child. Team members bought skipping ropes and basketballs to give away. We were able to visit and play with the children for a couple of hours. Some team members played a game of basketball where the girls played circles around our Canadian team. Noelle, Dayna and Jenn set up a corner "spa" where they painted girls nails. Stephan played cars with some young boys. Otheres skipped ropes with the girls. After lots of piggy back rides and laughs it was time to go. What an amazing time we had with the children. They are well cared for there surrounded by a beautiful El Salvadorian landscape and manicured lawns but my heart breaks for these children who do not have a mom and dad to come home to at night.

Tomorrow we will be going to San Antonio to hand out the food we purchased. EMCC have started to build homes in this village. I have never been there and am excited to see the "new village" where the teams have been building. We will also be holding the key giving ceremony at 2 p.m. tomorrow. Team members will be giving the families the keys to their new homes. This is the day where I shed lots of tears and my heart breaks that I have to say goodbye to all my amigo's and amiga's. I only have to wait 4 more months until I return. The team members are impacted and are coming back changed. God is alive and working in El Salvador and the Bethany teams are so blessed to be a part of it.

Church Last Night

When we arrived at the church yesterday and I walked in it was amazing to see so many people from San Flippee that our team connected with and also that we were building houses for. For me one of the highlights happened when I walked in and thier was a little five year old boy and his family that I meet on Tuesday and he just ran into my arms and it meet so much to me because I knew I had made a difference. Then he asked his family if he could come sit with me and he sat most of the church service with me and it was so much fun to sit with him and also sit with two other girls that I had meet over the week. At the end of the service the translator from the US team that was there helped me speak to them and they were thanking me on how much I made her grandsons day. Also she said on how much I influenced her thourgh the church service which was so nice and when I gave them hugs they just would not let go. I hope to see them today and it was so nice to see them last night. Also Dusty and I gav our testemoies last night and it was amazing because I did not realize at the time that we are from the same town and we were the only two doing it that night. For me it was hard but I was able to pull through because I knew that god was telling me I had to do this and I could make a difference in this country. Before the testemoies there was singing and it was amazing some team members were singing the english version and our translater the spanish at the same time. Last night we got to meet a team from the world race they are from the US and they are doing 11 countries in 11 months for a mission. I got to talk with 2 of the team members and it was amazing to hear them talk and what they were doing and that they tought what we were doing was also important. Then there was a great nigth talking at dinner and at TEXICO which was amazing and thanks for the great night to the whole team.

6 Houses Done!

Wow, God has been so good. Last night we came back from church and debriefed on the day (as we do each night) and I looked around the room at all the faces of our team and was just so thankful for the family we´ve become. Each person is so talented and such a blessing to the team.

Last night we went to church. Dustin and Kari gave their testimonies and it was absolutely amazing to hear this translated into Spanish, knowing all the people understood what was being said was so inspiring and motivating. Jurgen, Erin, Dustin and I sang three songs in English for worship while Carlita, our translater sang the Spanish at the same time. The congregation knew all the songs. We sand Here I am To Worship, How Great is Our God and How Great Thou Art. What a powerful way to share the peace we share in Christ. Carlita, who is Pastor Jorgeś daughter went on to preach the sermon. It was so inspiring to see a 24 year old (same age as me!) speak with such enthusiasm and knowledge. She spoke about the paralytic that Jesus heals in Mark 2 after his friend lower him into the house through the roof. Carlita mentioned how we had children climbing under the walls in the homes to get to Valerie and Karen who were handing out blankets and shoes. She went on to talk about how no matter what kind of home you have, no matter if you have shoes, running water, whatever, if you do not have Jesus your life is empty and dark. The power of her message could be felt in the room and itś so inspiring to see how in tune she is with the message these people need to hear. I pray that I can speak with the kind of knowledge and energy that she does.

Today we head off to the orphanage and build our 7th and final home. Our 7th home!! Can you believe it? I''ve fallen in love with the people here in El Salvador and can´t wait to meet more of them today. Thank you all for your prayers, they are truly being felt in more ways that you could know. Buenes Dias!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day Three

Well for me I blew out my knee on day 1 so I could not do anything but the whole team said it be okay because I was hurt even though I wanted to help. Today was a great day we have 6 houses done out of seven and the 7th house arrives tmo at 10 and we build in the afternoon and visit the orphange tmo morning. Today I really was touched because I was writing my testemony to give tonight and some children came over and watched me write and it was amazing they were trying to say the words. Then a boy who was a teenager came over to me and wanted me to teach him english. For me this was amazing because he wanted to be able to understand me and communicate with me. I was teaching him english and he was teaching me some spanish but he piced up on the english ten times faster and it was amazing and he wants me to teach him tomorrow. This was something that touched me because it proved how much they liked us being there and that god put us here for a reason even though I was injurged it touched me. Thank you to the DIG TEAM which consisted of three very funny men who made me laugh even though I was hurt. Thank you to Kevin, Todd, and Phil for giving me the nickname THE GIMPSTER because I knew they were joking but it was so funny how they said it and by the end of the day I did not feel left out. Thank you Kevin who was my PHARMACY who saved me these last couple of days. THanks to Todd and Phil for helping me get around it has been great. Also thank you everyone for being so caring and stuff when I was not able to walk fast to trying to help and FALLING IN HOLES. This has been a great week and so looking forward to the reast and tonight where I give my testemony at the church.

Prayers

Karie

Teenagers!

Just wanted to post how AMAZING the youth of Bethany are! They continue to show such compassion for the people here and I see such leadership qualities in each of them. It makes me excited about the future and how God is going to use them to impact the world for Him. It is truly an honor to serve with them on the missions field.
I thought the teenagers would be blogging more! I have even threatened them with NO Texaco if they don't start blogging but to no avail. I will have to update everyone on the team news. We have completed 6 homes!!!! We would have been able to complete the 7th but we are still waiting for the supplies to be brought from Galvanessa homes. They have promised us it will be at the worksite at 10 am tommorrow. I am praying that is true. It would be a HUGE disappointment if we can't build the 7th home.
We have also handed out all the shoes, knapsacks and handmade quilts. It is such a blessing to see the childrens faces when you hand them a quilt and a new pair of shoes.. Nothing is better or more rewarding than serving on the missions field.

Tomorrow we will visit the orphanage in the morning. We have bags full of towels, sheets, as well as basketballs and care packages for each child. Then we will set off to San Felipe to build the 7th house.

Tonight is church. We have rented a truck to bring our friends from San Felipe to church. What an amazing night it will be when we will be in church together praising our God. It is a glimpse of what heaven will be like.

The people of El Salvador are truly amazing! I am so blessed that God has called me to this little country to serve Him. They continue to teach me so many life lessons. Community, thankfulness while living in poverty, joy in the midst of daily trials and suffering and most importantly an amazing faith in our Savior.
Day 3! We have completed 3 homes and are now working on house 4, 5 and 6 today. We had started them yesterday and should complete all the homes by Thursday morning. We are waiting on house #7 to be delivered. The team is amazing and God's hand continues to be on us as we work as we have been kept safe as we build. Th last few days have been emotional ones as we work alongside some of the poorest people in this world. I am so thankful that God has proveded 7 homes for these families. Church tonight. I am praying that many families from San Felipe will attend.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Worshipping in different tongues, but having the same heart...

WOW! Todayś our first day to work at the sites! Yesterday was such an amazing day! We visited the sites yesterday and met all the people we will be building homes for. The poverty was unbelievable. I´ve never experience poverty like that. But at the same time, the love and happiness of these people is overwhelming. We went to church after visiting the sites and Pastor asked us all to stand and they thanked us for being here. I couldn´t help thinking how thankful I am just to be here, and what an honor it is to be doing God´s work. Itś an amazing blessing that God has hand-picked each one of us with our different talents and abilities and he will use them all to bless the people of El Salvador. It was neat to see how we all connect a little differently with the people. It was so cool to hear the congregation sing songs that we sing at church but in Spanish, and the songs mean the same things and touch them in the same way, so cool! At dinner after church the worship leader and I spent like half an hour of him singing songs in Spanish, me trying to figure out what they were, and then singing together in our two languages! It was so fun! Well weŕe heading off soon for breakfast and then to work! Thank you for your prayers, it is such a blessing to be here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Church

Going to church was amazing to just see the love that building homes here in El Salvador has brought people to love Christ. When just sitting in church you can see the love that they feel for the Canadian Teams that come down here. Even though its hard to communicate with them you find a way in writing or just in facial expressions. Being down here has brought me so much joy and has made me realize how much I have at home and the love of Christ. We are waking up at 5 tomorrow and its all going to be worth it and we are all here for our reasons and we all have different things that brought us here. Also the culture is so different down here and I have realized the difference already like for instance children can play with a ball for hours just kicking it and throwing it when some people at home we last 5min. Also just the smile on all of their faces when the truck showed up they all came running. This is going to be a great week and I would like to thank all of the team for a great day and can't wait for what God has in store of us.

Prayers Karie
We have visited the families who we will be building the homes for. The people of El Salvador are just amazing. Pastor Jorge and I went to deliver medical supplies (donated by a medical team from EMCC) to a women who is the village midwife. She had delivered two baby girls that morning. She was showing me a scar that she had that spread across her entire abdomen. She has had surgery 4 times to remove a growth that continues to grow back. I could see it and felt it. It is huge. She is so selfless. She said that she prays that God will continue to allow her to live so she can continue to help the people in San Felipe. She suffers in pain everyday and her only prayer is to be able to continue to serve. She has taught me an incerdible lesson today.

Starting the work tomorrow. Off to church now!
Luckily some of my clothes fit tim, at least we dont have to share everything he had some personal items in his carry on. Today was very humbling seeing how the people live and still they are happy. Breakfast of rice and beans started the day off right. Looking forward to church this afternoon and greasy chicken tonight. Hope you are all safe and healthy. See ya , Jurgen

Day One

We left to eat breakfast this morning and then we went to visit the families that we are building houses for. The ride there on the truck was amazing I was on the front and we were going fast and got splatted in the face by a lot of things. When we got there we went and visited all the families and it was so nice to see how happy everyone who is a part of the house building was so happy. We saw many families and interacted with them and I loved how happy they were to get a house they has the land already prepared for us to build there homes. What touched me is some of the people receiving the homes were sleeping right by there stuff so it would not get stolen. Then we went to eat lunch and we went and interacted with many of the children. We played games and learned all their names and they new my name better then I could remember theirs. They were teaching us games and even though there was a barrier it did not matter we know that they loved interacting and playing with us. I meet many young girls and we were playing games that I still have to learn, we were playing something like tackle football and just having fun the kids loving our sunglasses and us just playing with them and them wanting us to play with them. We got there and there are already children following us around and they will be around all week with us interacting and helping us along the way. They were so cute and the best part is that its their summer time down here and they will be with us through the day cheering us on. I can not wait to see what God has in store for us this week for our team and I know I'm down here or a reason. I love it here and its such nice weather and I con not believe that it was finally here and I can just see what it is like and be able to help as much as I can down here.

God Bless everyone and we are heading to church at 3 which is when it starts which it will be 4 your time.

Prayers

Karie

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We have just had dinner at the hotel and are about to start our first team debriefing. We have made it here safely. A few of the bags are still in Toronto but we are told that we will be receiving them Mnday. Tim and I do not have our personal bags. We are begging and borrowing clothes from other team members to tie us over until Monday. We are going to San Felipe tomorrow to visit the 7 families we are going to build the homes for. I am so excited to be returning to a place I love. Not because of the place but because of the amazing people who live there.
Wow what a team God has put together for this trip. So excited to see the lives that will be changed this week. Not just the lives of the amazing people of El Salvador but the lives of the team members. There is no one here by mistake. God has chosen each one to gloify His name through their amazing gifts and talents. Each one has been handpicked. May His name be glorified this week. And people come to know Him as their Savior.

Keep praying for us.

We are here

Just to let everyone know we are here safe and sound. It took us over an hour to get to our hotel because of all the cows on the road. 6 pieces of luggage got left in Toronto because it did not get loaded on the plane. It will be here on the next flight which is on Monday. Valerie and Tims personal suitcases did not arrive here but they are handling it with grace. Note to Elaine can Tim cut his new jeans off???

Had a great dinner tonight and visiting the families we will be building houses for tomorrow. Most of us are headed to bed early!!!!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Countdown!

Two weeks today! 14 days before we leave for El Salvador. The team of 19 people are pumped and ready to go. After many team meetings, fundraisers and of course immunizations we are well prepared. There are many team members who are returning to El Salvador and for others this is their first time. I am really excited to see how God is going to use each of us to impact the amazing people of El Salvador for His kingdom.

We have 7 homes to build, thousands of pounds of food to hand out, 160 handmade quilts to give away, 120 care packages for the orphanage as well as a few hundred children's sandals. Wow!
We have a full week with lots of work to be done. I know that there will be lots of "God moments" and that each of us will be impacted and changed.

The Lord your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

March 2010 Team