El Salvador

El Salvador

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Immeasurably More by Dave Kirkness


Key-giving Ceremony: Families receive a Bible and keys to their new home!
A week has passed since returning from El Salvador, and it has taken some time for me to absorb, process, and begin to articulate all that I saw and experienced.  
Although I had never personally been on the trip before, I have had family and friends go previously, so the experience and its objectives were quite familiar to me—or so I thought.

Through this adventure and experience, God had been teaching me about more. Now, in North America, the idea of more has not had the best effect on our society. The blind pursuit of consumerism has had detrimental effects on all facets of our culture, and exacerbated the idea of us vs. them.  But this is not the more that God has been showing me and pushing me to examine further.

This short-term trip is about building homes for families in El Salvador and, more importantly, building relationships with and showing God’s love for the marginalized. But, as God showed me over the time I was there, it is so much more than that.

All the visiting teams work in partnership with Shelter Canada and their local missionaries, Stuart and Carrie. Because of the success and impact of their ministry in the San Vincente area, they were able to assemble a local team in 2010 that includes drivers, translators, and construction labourers. That decision has allowed them to do even more impactful work. The growth has created over thirty full-time jobs, and all the materials for the homes are now locally produced in El Salvador. All the teams that go down to work with Shelter Canada in San Vicente stay at the same hotel; instead of twelve rooms, it now has over thirty.

Because of the increase of the local ministry, more homes are able to be built, which means more families are able to receive a new home before the next rainy season. A new home means better safety and health for a family, as they are now sleeping on a concrete floor instead of dirt, mud, and potentially raw sewage from overflowing outdoor toilets. Instead of forty homes a year being built, Shelter Canada now facilitates the building of over four hundred homes each year.


The Shelter Canada team works hard and shows an enthusiastic love for the people they serve.  What made perhaps the largest impact on me were the local people who showed up every day in the oppressive heat to help build. They worked.  And worked.  And worked.  Frankly, their work ethic left me both awed and embarrassed.  If I could consistently demonstrate even half the work ethic of the people I met there, how much more could I do?

On our last night in El Salvador, we shared our thoughts and takeaways from the week. One team member wondered aloud how much more we could do. As a team, we had just built a record thirty homes in less than three full days. Still, we wanted to do more.

Dave - ready to get to work
This idea of more is not about chasing it for the sake of achievement, but pursuing what God would have us do. That includes working alongside our brothers and sisters in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru; that includes working alongside our neighbours and co-workers at home.  It means actively investing in the places we are called. It is not about where we go, but what we choose to do with our time.

In Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, he writes:
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” - Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

As Pastor Andrew challenged us this past Sunday, we need to actively look for ways to be useful. God is capable of doing immeasurably more than anything we can imagine.

Here’s to the pursuit of all He has in store for us!
by Dave Kirkness

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