Saturday, November 12, 2016
The event was jammed packed with fun activities that the people definitely enjoyed. Face painting and balloon animals were a huge hit with the kids. They would crowd around us waiting with anticipation for their ballon animal or painting to be finished. The joy in their eyes when they saw the final product was priceless. Another really special thing about today was that the gospel was preached. What an amazing opportunity for so many people to hear the good news of Jesus Christ at once!
Some members of the team also performed a couple of worship songs. God's presence was very evident during this time. It was wonderful!!! Next we performed a drama put together by Elaina. Everbody was so captivated but this performance, they crowded around the stage and were so attentive.
The celebration was so special for not only us, but the people of San Salvador. It was great to see all the people that have been impacted by this mission. These people have the biggest hearts we've ever seen.They are so thankful and hardworking throughout their hardships. Therefore it was amazing to see them relax and have some fun. God is truly great!
On the way home from the celebration, we got caught in a huge storm. Standing up in a truck with garbage bags on our heads while the rain poured down was truly a testament to the struggles the people of El Salvador face. It gave us a whole new appreciation of how these homes will help these people. Thankfully God protected us and we arrived safely.
God has really opened our eyes during this week. We are so thankful for our team, the leaders, the families we have met and the opportunities to serve our God.
- Kiara, Rachel and Renee
Thursday, November 10, 2016
This afternoon, after completing the final two homes, we met with all of the families for a key giving ceremony. The ceremony started off with some praise and worship. With a band consisting of keyboard, bass guitar, electric guitar and drums, the songs were uplifting and soulful. The pastor then shared a full gospel message devotional which was clear about God's unconditional love and desire to have a relationship with everyone. An invitation was given to make a commitment to follow the Lord and many of the families chose to become believers!
After praying for these families, we moved into handing out the keys and Bible's to each family. We each prepared a few sentences and shared a scripture. Some of the families shared a few words back to our El Salvador team. Happiness, joy and pride were clearly evident as the keys and Bibles were put into the hands of the new home owners. 12 new homes had been completed in two and a half days...how incredibly awesome for these families.
Walking away from this event today had me pondering about many things. It made me think of how many blessings I have at home and take for granted. How many times do I walk into my home and not thank the Lord that I have roof over my head and walls to protect me from the elements. How many times do I complain about having to cook another meal, when some of these families can hardly make ends meet.
It was clearly evident that the small home was a new beginning for some, a form of protection for all and health for those who were living in environments no one should be living in. They were clearly touched by all the efforts made by everyone involved. Even though we have been able to bless these families with homes, I am also walking away blessed. I am walking away with a whole new appreciation for the blessings God has given me...and with a whole new desire to not take things for granted.
What a great day for all!
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Monday, November 7, 2016
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Although we just got a brief introduction today, there was such a warmth and friendliness as we greeted the families. Amongst the new home owners are construction workers, farmers, a seamstress, a waitress, homemakers and others who sell goods. These are people who work hard and are trying to provide for their families, all of whom have young children. But the harsh reality is that as hard as they work, they are not able to attain a house on their own.
It's exciting for us to be a part of something where people are given a lift up. This is a new start on life that can give them better health because they have a roof that keeps them dry and floors that get them out of the mud; better security because they can lock their doors and keep their family safe.
We are looking forward to working alongside these families this week to give them that fresh start. Our prayer is that people are pointed to God as He pours out His great love on the families and on our team as we work together!
Monday, October 31, 2016
|El Salvador November 2016 Team!|
(Almost all of us)
|The rest of the team :)|
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your front door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
(from The Lord of the Rings) J.R.R. Tolkien
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Saturday, March 19, 2016
You are my refuge and my shield: I have put my hope in your word.
The amazing people of El Salvador continue to teach me great lessons. Lessons that have been life changing for me. I pray that the lesson this week will never leave me because I think it is the greatest lesson of all.
Today we held the key giving ceremony. We have a big celebration where the home owners as well as the community gather together and we celebrate the completion nif the homes. We have worship, preaching, food and piñatas. It is a huge celebration. The families receive the keys to their homes but also a Spanish bible. After receiving the Bibles some people hugged them to their chests, one homeowner carefully wrapped it in a plastic bag to protect it, a number of men brought them to the back and were pouring over the scriptures. Do I hunger for the word of God? Do I realize the priceless treasure God has given me? The answer would be no. I take the word of God for granted. I have access to the bible at all times. I have overlooked this priceless gift that I have been given. Oh God may we hunger for your word and realize this irreplacable gift we have been given.
Friday, March 18, 2016
"As one of the world’s leading child development organizations, Compassion partners with the local church in 26 countries to end poverty in the lives of children and their families.Today, more than 1.6 million children are discovering lives full of promise and purpose as they develop in all the different aspects of their lives—their minds, bodies and relationships while discovering God’s love for them in the gospel of Jesus Christ.Early this morning, our team drove to the Compassion Project here in San Vicente where the children were eagerly awaiting our arrival with balloons, a welcome sign and confetti. Those on our team who have sponsored children here in El Salvador were looking forward to this day even more so because we were going to be spending the day with our sponsored children and their families. According to statistics, less than 3% of all sponsored children actually meet their sponsor families and here we were meeting 11 children those on our team have personally sponsored plus other children in the project.
Our day began with a skit to rap music put on by children in the school. It personally affected our entire group as it depicted the struggle of gang violence experienced daily by children and families throughout El Salvador. It was a sobering reminder of why we are here; to share the hope we experience in Christ to those who have no hope. We then spent the remainder of our morning playing with the children and having fun!!
Our own family has sponsored a 7 year old girl for the past three years. We had the pleasure of meeting Marjorie and her family two years ago and also spent time visiting them at their home. We never thought we would have the opportunity to again travel to El Salvador and see her once more. It was pure joy on her face when she saw us this morning (although she pulled out a picture of our family and pointed to Bethany wanting to know why she wasn't also here). Marjorie has the most contagious laugh which we heard over and over today while she and Hannah played, chased one another through the yard and tickled one another. I gave piggyback rides and then had a line up of others wanting to hop on my back.
Keaton had up to 3 children at a time climbing on his back to be lifted high, Chelsea was snuggled up with a small boy reading to her and trying to teach her the Spanish names for different animals, Paige brought out her ribbon sticks and Julia was being chased around the yard by her two sponsor children. One young girl even came up to Hannah and asked if she lived where there was snow because she was so white. Looking around the school yard, we heard giggles and laughter galore as children played soccer, Duck Duck Goose, What Time is it Mr Wolf, and just had fun!
The afternoon was a surprise trip for the sponsor children, their families and our team to the Lagoon which is a local water park. We enjoyed a meal and spent time hanging out with the children in the water and at the playground. The day went by too quickly and a few tears were shed when the time came to share gifts brought for the children and families, to pray with our families and say adios, not knowing if or when we would be seeing our sponsor children next. Each moment of laughter and hug will be remembered. What a blessing God gave to us today, being able to give of ourselves and our time with others. This day will be in our hearts and minds forever!!
Posted by Wendy Skirrow
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Many people have mentioned to me that they think it would be better to send the money we spend on this trip to the people to build their homes instead of our team coming here. But it isn't just about building houses. It is about building relationships with people here. Jesus says to go and make disciples of people. He doesn't say to send money to people and remain apart from them. Go. And make disciples. Go.
It has been interesting to watch the relationships being built by the team members. People working on the houses, from Canada and El Salvador, who didn't know each other on Monday are now working together and laughing and joking like they are brothers and sisters. The men are building relationships with other men while building homes. They are laughing with each other and sharing about their lives. My husband has been able to meet and get to know a man going through very difficult circumstances with his family. They are almost like brothers. I have been able to meet a number of women as have some of my friends. At the beginning of the morning or afternoon work time we are strangers. But they are so welcoming that by the end of our time together there they are like sisters to us. The children form an almost instant connection with our team members and so much laughter has occurred. And so many hugs. It has also been interesting when I see someone this year that I met last year. Even if I only spoke or even just smiled to that person a few times, when I see them this year it is like we are long lost family.
And so this is what our time in El Salvador is all about. Relationships. People here tell me how important and how meaningful it is to them that we would leave our homes in Canada to come all the way down here to serve them. To build homes alongside them and to become friends with them.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
|Banner presented by the Community Leaders|
to the Bethany Team
|This dog joined us at the meeting of the families.|
There are a lot of stray dogs everywhere.
|These two girls are receiving a new home and are watching|
two small babies
|This special needs boy was loved so tenderly by|
his family. And us!
~ Posted by Melodie Giesbrecht
The family we interviewed received one of the first houses we built today. They were a joyful family even upon facing tough times this year. The previous farming season yielded a very small and pour crop. As the family lives off of the money and food they gain from farming corn, rice, and beans, the small crop translates to an inability to pay for the rented farmland and a limited amount of food. They are unsure of how they will be able to provide food for themselves in the coming months.
God really worked through my mother today. The mom of the family we interviewed had been in a bus accident years ago and fractured her femur. She received surgery to fix it, and has been in great pain ever since. As my mom is a physiotherapist, she was able to provide exercises to strengthen the leg and hip, which will hopefully reduce pain in years to come.
Children's ministry was a huge success! There were around 60 children who came for a nearby school. They enjoyed coloring and making crafts with us, and were very happy. Their principle had a huge connection with the them and was a big proponent for his community. One of our translators Patricia, a community leader, and a few of us took some time to help clean and wash two of the children, one with special needs. It was amazing to see the community leader and Patricia be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Tomorrow is another building day and we are excited to build four more homes! Stay tuned for upcoming blog updates. Please keep our team in your prayers.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
|Community Leaders from neighbouring |
San Felipe are helping and mentoring
the leaders in San Jacinto.