El Salvador

El Salvador

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A DAY OF COMPASSION

Today was the day we visited the Compassion Centre.  With me being on my first mission trip it was amazing and overwhelming seeing these children being so excited to see us.  Before the trucks even stopped to let us off the kids were yelling and running to the gates.  As we entered, they were hugging everyone of us as if we knew each other our whole lives.  I would compare the excitement to Christmas Day in Canada.  There was a small presentation the children put on for us.  They also had us interacting with the children by introducing ourselves followed by us making our favourite animal sound while the kids guessed what the animal was.  Some of the team members have sponsor children who they were able to visit with along with the child's family.  After the presentation we had the opportunity to try some of the quisine which was pretty good.  We then went on a tour of the centre where we learned that the workshops they have are pinata making, computers and sewing.  After the tour the team, along with the sponsored children and their families, made their way to the hostess' house where we had lunch and did some more interacting with the families.  They taught us a couple dances and some of the team members played soccer with the chldren.  It was an amazing experience watching these children, along with their families, visit with their sponsors and see the joy and hope in their eyes and smiles.  The Fiesta was a truly amazing experience with the paper flowers, balloons, music, food, and overall ambience.  Compassion is a wonderful thing to spread.  God Bless!

By Dawn Merrick

STORIES OF POVERTY

We finished the 12 houses yesterday. We sit down and interview familes so we can hear their stores and learn more about the family.

Yesterday I was blessed to be able to sit and listen to 2 families life stories as we built their homes. Helen is just 19. She has a 2 year old daughter named Delia. Her husband has a sentence of 20 years and is in jail in San Vicente. He is a farmer and he planted corn and beans. His crops were being stolen and so he purchased a gun so he could protect the crops that fed his family. One morning as he was walking to the field the police stopped him. He did not have a permit for the gun and so he was arrested. Because of their poverty the family did not have the money for a lawyer he recieved a 20 year sentence. He has served only 1 year. She is now alone raising her daughter and tries to sell used clothes to provide for her daughter. Some days she does not have enough to feed her daughter. She explained that the house was a great blessing for her and her daughter. She said she was so grateful for the team. She has family in San Salvador and when I asked her if she could go to them for help she shared that they turned their back on her when she left to marry Carlos. They did not want her to marry him as he was poor. When we first arrived at the job site I saw Helen caring for her severly disabled brother in law Juan. She was a beautiful women with a generous heart and sensitive spirit and it breaks my heart that she has to endure this life in poverty.

The 2nd family we interviewed was a family of 3. Manuel and Marin have been married for 25 years and they love the Lord. They have 3 children but only their son Juan will be the only one living in their new home as their daughters are married. They are farmers and Juan is 22 and still in school. He wants to finish high school. He takes time off from school to farm with his dad. Manuel loves his family and the Lord. He shared that they are very poor but that they are happy. He said that material things cannot buy happiness. They don't look to tomorrow but are content if they have enough for today.

We in Canada can learn so much from this family. This is not how we live life in Canada. We are constantly being told by advertisers that we need the big house, new cars, the latest i phone. Yet, we see that this is not bringing happiness to the masses. Rates of suicides are shocking, divorce rates are at 50 %. Canadians have now out passed Americans in debt load. We need to learn to be content with what we have and not get caught up in the things of the world. Jesus taught us not to invest in things that moth and rust can destroy and thieves can steal but to invest in things that cannot be destroyed. Investing in people and using God's resources to help the poor is one of the greatest blessing. We can learn a lot from Manuel, you see he has found the secret. We just have to listen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

GOD IS IN THE DETAILS OF OUR LIVES!

I'm always amazed at how God is in the smallest details of our lives. If you just take the time to look, you will find Him. Two years ago, my husband Ron and I came to El Salvador with the Bethany team to build a house in memory of my father, Louis Albert Merrick. My father had built our family home along with my mother, and there they raised their 6 children.  I was hoping the family we would build a house for in memory of my dad would have 6 children too. I, however, never mentioned this to Valerie, only asking for a large family.  When we went to interview the family for my father's home, we were told there were 5 children. A large family, I was happy! However, when we started interviewing the family, we discovered one of the children's names was missing from our list. There were 6 children as well as a mother and father who would live in this house! I was amazed God had heard my silent prayer and had provided a large family just like mine to live in the house built in memory of my father! God is in the smallest of details!

Today, once again God amazed me and was found in the smallest of details. My husband, Ron and I as well as our son Richard travelled to El Salvador with the Bethany team, to build a house in memory of my mother, Mildred (Betty) Merrick, who passed away 5 months ago. Valerie once 
again was hoping to find a large family for us to build for. I, however, mentioned that any family would be perfect. I had been praying for months for the family who would receive the house in memory of my mom. I was hoping to build a house close to my father's house.  Since we do not always build in the same village, this could be next to impossible.  I did, however discover there would be a possibility this time as we would be building in San Pedro, where my father's house is.  Today my silent prayer was answered! Valerie gave us our house assignment; we would be building a house for a widow Felipa in San Pedro. I thought this was perfect; building a home in the same village as my father's house! I, however, was shocked and amazed as we followed Felipa to her parcel of land where we would build her house, I discovered not only would we be building my mother's house in the same village, we would be building her house six feet away from my father's house! God is in the smallest of details! I am truly amazed! 

What a Blessing it was to walk my niece Kailey and my sister-in-law Dawn down to see the houses built in memory of my parents. Both of them joined us on this trip and I was able to show them the plaque in my father's house, proudly displayed in the centre of the home. God cares about us and wants only the best for us, if we only would accept him as our Lord and Saviour...."Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Mathew 6:33






Monday, March 16, 2015

Relationships

As we sat and shared at our teams debrief  I was really inspired to hear of all the relationships that have been built today. The stories of shared laughter digging holes, women bonding making tortillas together, children squeeling with delight over balloons the team members brought, Salvadorians sharing their fruit from the papaya trees scattered throughout the village. You see, this was what our hearts desired when we came down here 8 years ago. We desired not just the building of homes but more importantly the building of relationships. Relationships are what last. Relationships are what goes into eternity.

God created and loves relationship. He created humans to have a relationship with Him and through his son Jesus we can have a deep personal relationship with the creator of the universe. He created Adam and Eve to live life together and become one. We are designed for relationship with others. That is what makes life so rich. The joy of living life together and sharing the journey. Living in community together. Praying with others, laughing together, supporting one another. I seen all this today and my heart was really blessed. 4 homes were completed today but countless relationships built. To God be the glory! 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Servants heart

As I sit here for a 7 hour stopover in the airport in Panama I am reflecting on what our week will hold for the team. I know it will be full of incredible God moments. It has been a really trying week for many of the team members. We were going to be a team of 25 but because of health issues 2 had to cancel last minute. I know it will be filled with God moments because of the battle that some team members experienced this past week.

Whatever this week holds I pray that as a team we will go with a servants heart. As believers we have the greatest example of serving humanity in the life of Jesus. He served all of humanity by living a sinless life and dying on the cross for us. We deserved the nails for our sins but because of His great love for us he took our place. May we go and serve with the thoughts of the price that was paid at Calvary. May we carry a heart like Christ where ever we go this week. May God be glorified as we serve.