Thursday, August 13, 2009

El Salvador

Where to even begin...
On July 25, a team of 15 flew from Wichita to San Salvador, El Salvador. Our mission was to assist Iglesia Biblica de Elohim in Santa Ana in any way we could for the week. That afternoon, after settling into our hotel, we were taken to the church to meet the congregation and have dinner. Papusas are a salvadorian nation food. It is a thick flour tortilla around refried beans and cheese that is grilled on a flat top. I had heard many stories of papusas from the team that came 3 years ago, so I was interested to try them. They were tasty. We had lots of beams, rice, chicken, plantains, and tortillas during the week. There were several church ladies who worked hard to make our lunches and dinners every day. They even taught us how to make tortillas.
Sunday we toured Tamazul, a Mayan ruin. That evening we went to the church service at Elohim. The congregation was so welcoming and loving to every one of us. Monday we started our work days. We painted some intricate ironwork and started digging a retaining wall. The retaining wall was hard work since it was being dug by hand with shovels and pick axes. It took us 3 days but we got that wall dug and moved tons of dirt by wheelbarrow. We worked alongside Salvadorians who volunteered at the church. And there was always a number of children running around and angling for our attention. We played volleyball and soccer with them as well as just hanging out while attempting to communicate in broken Spanish. We had one team member who was fluent in Spanish and others who got along in it decently.
Tuesday was Kids' Day. We had a morning and afternoon session. We organized into 4 teams by age group and then rotated through 4 activity stations (singing, tug-o-war & shark, face painting, and salvation bead bracelets). It's organized chaos. It was lots of fun. Sara & I were team leaders with the 3-5 year olds during both sessions. At the end we handed out candy & stickers to each child. About 200 kids were involved during the day.
Wednesday morning they took us on a hike to the top of Montana Esperanza (Hope Mountain) which is behind the church property. One of our team members has prosthetic legs. They weren't going to leave Dave behind, so they rigged up a chair in order to carry him up the mountain. When the path was too steep or narrow, Walter (aka Superman) carried Dave on his shoulders. It was an amazing act of love that touched us all. During the climb, we were treated to amazing views. Witnessed how they farm corn and beans on the side of the mountain as well. Thursday during the day we were taken in small groups to visit some of the homes in the area surrounding the church. It is a very poor area. The shacks are made of brick, wood, tin, and whatever else they can find to make a shelter out of . They do ahve electricity but no running water. The home I visited was one room with 2 double beds and not much else in which a family of 5 lived. It was typical of the area.
We attended church services Wednesday night. And they ahd a goodbye feista for us on Thursday. I have never been hugged that much in such a short time span. Friday we headed to a resort on the beach for our R&R time. It was beautiful. We were across the street from the Pacific Ocean. Overall it was a great time there. Saturday afternoon five of us were playing in the waves and got sucked out by a heavy undertow. Three of them were able to make it back on their own, but myself and another girl had to be rescued by a lifeguard. It was a very scary situation but God certainly had His hand on us.
And there you have a brie f accounting of the trip. So many stories of a wonderful week and a great team who decided to take a week's vacation to serve the Lord in El Salvador.
Philippians 1:6 - He who began a good work in you will be faithful to see it to completion.


Brandon and Emily Judson said...

I just want to know if the lifeguard was hot...ha ha. Glad you had a great time!

Jennifer said...

Um, not exactly and he was wearing a speedo. :-)