El Salvador

El Salvador

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hope for the hopeless.

Last night our team went out to minister to the homeless. We met Pastor Oscar and his team from the church before hand so we could pray togeher. We prayed that we would be Christ hands and feet to those who are lost. Oscar prayed that satan would not hide them from us and we could find those who needed help.

The group from the church had food prepared to give out.  Rice, beans, cheese and bread. We drove through the streets of San Vicente looking. Searching for anyone who needed our help. A few blocks from the church we found a group of homeless men sleeping. Another man named Angel who was standing among them came right to us. He was weeping uncontrollably. He had just lost his 25 year old brother. He was killed the night before as Angel and he were walking on the highway not far from where we were building the homes. Angel had went to the hospital to see him but they would not let him in because he had been drinking. He was weeping because he never got a chance to say goodbye to his brother. We sat with Angel and listened to his story. We shared the promise of God's love and grace. Last night Angel accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. We gave him one of the Spanish bibles that we brought from home.

We also met a women named Maria. Maria has been living on the streets for 20 years as a prostitute selling her body to have enough money for her addictions. She does not know her worth and has never felt loved. The women prayed with Maria and shared God's unconditional love for her and how much God cared for her. We can only pray that someday she will know that she has been designed by a loving God and realize her true worth in Him.

Jesus hung out with sinners, and He was judged harshly for it from the Pharisees. The religious people of his time. He hung out with drunkards, prostitutes, tax collectors. The despised and rejected. It is not any different 2000 years later. Let's be honest. People like that make us uncomfortable. It is messy going to minister on the streets to the lost. The thing we cannot ignore though is Jesus has commanded us to do just that! To live like Him. Are we ready to be obedient? I can only speak for myself, it was one of the best nights of my life.



Thursday, November 7, 2013

God is in the details

Every year my mom and dad donate money for the Bethany teams to build a home. The homes they have given are in memory of my niece, their grandaughter who passed away after open heart surgery. Jennifer was born with a heart defect and struggled through 3 open heart surgeries and a pace maker. After emergency open heart surgery Jennifer suffered 3 strokes and was pronounced brain dead. She had just celebrated her 20th birthday. She was on life support until we could all gather to say our goodbye's. She went home to live with her Savior where she no longer has to suffer with a failing heart.

My parents have now built 5 homes for families living in poverty in memory of Jenni.  The make up of the families are all different but they all share one thing in common. They are all homeless. My parents wanted good to come out of Jenni's suffering and death. When we meet the families on Sunday I always ask God to help me choose the family who will receive Jenni's house. This year I felt lead to choose a family of 4. A married couple with a son and daughter. They had no home and were living in his brothers house. He is a welder and she stays at home and looks after her family.

Brian and I sat one hot afternoon to visit with them and to hear their story. They shared how they met, how they fell in love, what they do for a living, how they struggle in life living in poverty. This amazing family were so warm and open. I aske them if they wanted more children. They shared that they did but because their daughter suffers with health problems they cannot. A lot of their time is taken caring for her. I asked them if they would mind sharing what her health problems were so we could pray for them. She was born with a heart defect! I sat stunned for a minute until I could compose myself. With tears in my eyes I shared Jenni's story. That their new home was donated by my parents in memory of her. We were all crying and overwhelmed at how God had orchestrated this whole meeting. God loves us so much that he looks after all the details. He lead me to choose this special family who are struggling with the same issues as Jennifer suffered with.

I know Jenni would be thrilled to know that there is a little girl not very different from her who now has a home to shelter her from the rain. A safe place for her to come home to. I am so thankful for my parents who do not have a lot of earthly material things but are investing in lives. All in memory of my niece. What satan meant for evil God used it for His purpose and for His glory. This time for a little girl who lives in El Salvador.

Making a difference in the life of a child.

Today we visited a Compassion project in San Vicente. It is really incredible to witness how $41 a month can change the life of a child who is living in poverty. Last year we visited this Compassion centre and 8 team members sponsored children. Another team member sponsored a child before we left. Today we got to spend the day with our sponsored children and meet the families.

The children learn trades at the project, hear the gospel, have dental and dr visits, get a meal as well as having tutor's help them with their school. Most children who live on poverty feel they have no hope. Lives are being changed in Jesus name through the work of Compassion and it is giving children hope. Hope for a future. It doesn't get any better than that!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Poverty

It is hard to see poverty up close. It is even harder to explain it on a blog. I wish that everyone could serve people living in extreme poverty at least once in their life. It is life changing! Hunger, pain, living in dirt, inadequate shelter from the elements, not enough money for medicine when your child is sick. Children dying from fevers because they don't have money for tylenol. All things that we take for granted living in Canada.

The bible speaks of the poor and our reponsibility for them so much. Actually, poverty or poor is mentioned over 2000 times in the bible. God has a lot to say about the subject. If He speaks that many times about the poor shouldn't we also speak about it? Shouldn't we also be concerned for what concerns God? When we sit down to talk to the homeowners about what it means to receive a home they light up. To receive a home is life changing. It gives them hope. We built a home for a family at the team leaders meeting this past April. When I asked the women who was receiving the home what it meant to her she broke down. She said she had lost her father 6 months before and her brother 2 months after that. She said she stopped believing in God after losing family members. She said she realzed after we built her home that God had not forgotten her. I shared the gospel message with her and that day she came to know Christ as her Savior. These homes give families living in poverty hope. $2900 can change a families life. Sometimes for eternity.

View from my room!

Many thanks for all your prayers. God is faithful. I am truly blessed to have so many caring people both here and in Canada. I regret not being with the team building homes and working alongside the villagers. They teach us so much, but God has other plans for me. Presently struggling to do this blog on Valerie,s tablet. I am computer challenged. However, it is not about me but what God is doing in me and through me. I feel priviledged that I was part of the interview with the family for house 2. The fact that the 63 year old man knew God but not willing to accept His Grace. People are the same all over the world. There struggles are great! I think of Rosa who is 18 and comes out to help everytime Bethany teams are here. She has a real loving heart and is going to school, overcoming a seeing problem, to learn English and find a career for herself. She loves God and He is making a difference in her life. To see all the hurdles she has to overcome and where she started gives you the hope that God is working to change lives. Through
God,s caring people and prayers lives are changing, we are changing and being enriched because of them. Valerie is asking a villager to make a crutch for me so I will be able to get around better than hopping on one foot. They have no crutches here in the fairly large city of San Vicente. We can not comprehend that back home where all things are easily obtained. I feel humbled yet honoured that a villager who we are here to build for is extending his hand of kindness to me. The sharing of God,s gifts is amazing. The team should be nearing completion on the 8th and final home and soon will return to go to the lagoon. Just a final hello to family and friends outside of  Bethany who are reading this, all is well, see you soon. In
God,s loving care,  Chris

Houses

We are finishing the last two houses today. In the afternoon we are going swimming at Amapalapa. It is a natural lagoon with a waterfall. We have been so blesed to work in the village of San Antonio the last 3 days. Lives have been changed. Canadian lives that is! It is really hard to describe in a blog what you see and experience here. What I do know is after experiencing a missipns trip to El Salvador it changes you. May God use us in the village today to share His love and to be His hands and feet.

Tomorrow we visit a Compassion project. This Compassion project has 331 children. Last year 10 children were sponsored by the Bethany team members. We get to visit them in person tomorrow. We made up little care packages to give to all the children in the project.

Continue to pray for us as we to minister to people. May God be glorified in all that we do.

Update on Chris

Chris went for xrays and to the Dr yesterday. Our prayers have been answered. The dr said the x rays show no break or dislocation. He feels it was dislocated and from the pressure of the boot it located in the night. This makes sense as she was in so much pain but was feeling better in the morning. Jurgen had prayed at our debrief that it would loccate itselfnin the night on its own, Praise God he answered our prayers!  Chris still has to wear the boot for 4 weeks. This was really hard for Chris to hear. Chris is very active and to have to wear the boot for support is discouraging. We are going to have a man in the village make a crutch for her today so she can brace herself on that and walk. Continue to pray for Chris.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Missions Possible

Mission Possible because with God all things are possible. I have to say that I thought I was coming here to help others. To build them safe secure homes to live in. But I have to say that maybe those that are really in need is Us.  We are living in decent conditions and are able to work and put food on our tables but I'm not sure we get it.  When we first went to the village to build I was embarssed because of  the amount of people that came out to help us build these homes and they didn`t have a home for themselves. Unselfish giving out of their  poverty and giving themelves to help their communtiy. Where back at home we barely have time to share a coffee or tea with our neighbors. Our closets are full of excessive stuff we haven`t used or needed in years (where is your MISSION POSSIBLE ).
We will do fund raising for situation that come up but what do we really give that costs us. Will we use all our savings to save someone? People know we care for them because we Carry Them!!  Tommy Vinson
Today was another amazing day!  While the team men and local men were building the houses and building relationships with each other the girls were doing the same building relationships!  We spent most of our day with each other painting fingernails, some times repainting fingernails doing crafts and put sparkles wherever we could and sharing Jesus!  It's so amazing how we are all the same wherever we are in the world.  We may have a different set of life circumstances but we all want and need the same things in life.  To have our basic needs met, to be valued, respected, loved, cherished and to know Jesus!!!  Nicole and Jasmine :-)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Prayer

We had an incredible day at the work site. We completed 3 homes today with the whole community coming to help and be a part of it. We shared at the debief how we have lost community in Canada. We live in neighbourhoods where we don't know our neighbours. Today we seen everyone coming around to help us and the community get 3 houses built. Chris, Sid, Edith and I were able to share the gospel message with one of the homeowners. He was not ready to surrender his life to Christ but we continue to pray that the spirit will move on his heart.

We  need to ask for prayer. Late in the day Chris Frere fell off the curb and has done some damage to her ankle. She was taken to the local clinic and was checked by the dr. She is in a lot of pain. We will be taking her back to the clinic tomorrow as they need to take xrays before they can tell if it is dislocated or torn something. She has a boot on and is in bed with her leg elevated. She is on a lot of pain medication but she continues to be in a lot of pain. Please pray for her. Please pray that she gets rest tonight and that the Dr will have answers after he see's the xray.
We covet the prayers of our friends back home.

Building

Today we start the building. When we visited with the families yesterday the sites looked like they would be easy to prepare. I guess we will find out today. They have been getting a lot of rain in October so the ground should be soft. Well....we are hoping for that. :-)

We are open to serve the community of San Antonio. Some want to build, others want to work with the children and minister to the local people. Whatever God has planned for us we want to be used. Used to be His hands and feet. Last night we prayed for team unity, for health and strength, and to be a light in the community.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thankfulness

After preparing, fundraising, team meetings amd much prayer we were finally able to meet the families who will be receiving their new homes this week. The team is excited to start working tomorrow and getting to know their stories. Their hopes, dreams and their struggles.

One of the things the team shared at our debrief  tonight was how thankful each of these families are to God for His provision. Many have been praying for years for a house that would provide shelter for their families. They gave all glory to God. One of the men shared that they work hard and are able to get food for their families but they would never be able to afford a home. God heard the cry of their hearts and met this need.

We are humbled to be given the oppurtunity to work this week alongside these amazing people. I know we will learn many life lessons. Today we learned the lesson of thankfulness. May we return home realizing that everything we have has been provided by God. Everything! God is our great provider. Every good and perfect gift comes from above.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Voice Of Adventure

I was reading a devotion today by Max Lucado. The passage that he used was Psalm 27:1. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
Max writes the following "Jesus says the options are clear. On one side there is a voice of safety. You can build a fire in the hearth, stay inside, and stay warm and dry for what you don't try, right? You can't lose your balance if you never climb, right? So don't try it. Take the safe route.
Or you can hear the voice of adventure-God's adventure.  Instead of building a fire in the hearth, build a fire in your heart. Follow God's impulses. Adopt the child. Move overseas. Teach the class. Change careers. Make a difference.  Sure it isn't safe, but what is?

I feel each of the team members listened to the voice of God. Each said yes to getting out of their safe place. Making a difference! Making a difference by going to build homes so families no longer have to live in mud. We are ready for an adventure. An adventure designed and planned by God. An adventure to share the gospel message. I am thankful that when we do say yes to God's plans we do not need to fear. May He be glorified in all that we say and do this week.