|PREPARING FOR EL SALVADOR|
I have been to El Salvador 3 times so part of me knows what to expect, the other part knows that I have no idea what God has in store for me, our team, and the community that we will be working in, but God goes before and prepares the way, so I am excited.
The fun part of preparing is for the Compassion Center visit day. I will be meeting my sponsored child and her family for the 3rd time. Ivania is such a bundle of joy and energy. It's like Christmas. Seeing her and spending the day with her is like Christmas morning, but this time preparing to see her is like advent. I am thinking, pondering and praying about our time together, about how to best bless her and her family, about choosing the perfect gift to convey my love for her and her family.
The anticipation builds until the beautiful moment that we are reunited. What a gift and priveledge to be a part of a bigger family.
Then there are the build days. The first time I went I spent most of my time building - I'm a task orientated person and I was there to help get the job done. The second time I was recovering from surgery and was forbidden to lift a thing, not even my suitcase, so gentle children's ministry is where I was. Children's ministry is not a calling or gifting so I was concerned and put some thought into it ahead of time and thought, what do I like to do that kids like to do? Puzzle!!! I found spanish/english puzzles with colours, numbers, shapes and animal themes. My cozy blanket was our floor and we had a great time putting together the puzzles and then teaching one another our languages.
So I am putting my magic backpack together and expanding from just puzzles to a few spanish/english books and games (like Snakes & Ladders - need to learn those Spanish words yet, Connect 4 and Checkers). Looking forward to reading, puzzling, playing and loving on the children.
As an introvert, people are often amazed that I thrive in a setting like El Salvador. Knowing myself, I am also amazed that I thrive in El Salvador, but that story started a long time ago in another Central American place - Panama - where God planted a seed of love for the people of Central America that has rooted deeply in my soul. The pressure is also off for constant conversation, as relationship building is done in other ways. Getting off the plane in El Salvador is like coming home, I can't wait.