Hola a todos!
On Saturday, July 30, 19 of us from Rock City Church made our way to San Salvador, El Salvador! Despite a three hour plane delay followed by a two hour line at customs, we made it safe and sound to the hotel in time to get about four hours of sleep before beginning our first day serving the Lord!
For church on Sunday, we went to the Soyapango church location, which is located about 45 minutes from the city of San Salvador. This was the first time a mission team went to Soyapango church service in the morning. After lunch and a cultural meeting with the local mission director, Sarah, we were teamed up with local translators and church members to hit the streets and do some old-school door-to-door evangelizing! Two people accepted Christ as their Savior with people from our team!
Monday and Tuesday were also spent in Soyapango serving at the Children’s Development Center, which is located in the same building that church is on Sundays. We all spent time serving in Bible studies with mothers of children at the Center, in the classroom teaching the kids about the stories of Gideon, Samson, and Deborah, and in cleaning and painting the building. Tuesday was extra special as we hosted a special backpack give where each child received a backpack we packed earlier in the week!
Soyapango is known as one of the most dangerous communities in El Salvador due to the large gang presence there. With our Children’s Development Center, we are striving to provide the kids in our program with a refuge of hope and a healthy community that will help to protect them from falling into a life in a gang.
Wednesday and Friday were spent at our Guayabo Children’s Development Center, which is located on the side of an inactive volcano about 30 minutes from the heart of San Salvador. In Guayabo, we served by going on home visits to share the gospel, leading lessons in the classroom, and working on a bit of painting before some extremely rainy weather kicked in due to a nearby hurricane. Some of our team hosted a special bible study for the older kids in our program, where five (yes, FIVE) of them accepted Jesus as their Savior! We also hosted a backpack give for the kids in Guayabo on Thursday!
Guayabo is a small community, but one that lives in great poverty. Most of the children in our Center live in homes without electricity or access to clean water. Many children live in single-parent homes or even with extended family. The meals and medical attention they receive at our Center are often the only food or care they would receive at all. Through our Center in Guayabo, we strive to restore hope in these families through the gospel and showing them the love of Christ through the benefits we are able to provide for them.
On Friday, the children from our Soyapango center were bussed over to our Guayabo center for a first-ever field day where the children from both centers were able to meet and play together! It was amazing seeing all of the children in our program at one place. In the afternoon, the children said a special goodbye to our team and afterwards we were able to spend time thanking the local staff and volunteers who had been serving alongside us throughout the week.
Saturdays with a mission team are usually spent at the beach, but due to inclement weather, we had a change of plans. In the morning, we invited the locals for an extended time of devotion and worship at the hotel. One of our team members, Staci, took a leap of faith and obedience by deciding to be baptized! I met Staci several months ago and was able to share my story with her, but this week was the first time I was able to share some of my experiences from El Salvador with her. It was such a cool thing to witness her boldness and courage as she declared her faith to the world through baptism, and it was clear to all of us that she was experiencing a true sense of freedom through this decision.
After this, we all went to a local mall called Multiplaza and spent the day hanging out with some of our local translators and relaxing in one (or three) different coffee shops! After a final farewell dinner with the local staff, we headed back to the hotel to pack up and leave for home the next day.
As this was my seventh time to El Salvador, it was easy for me to think I already had it all figured out. But just as He does every time, God taught me so much in one week about love, hope, and truth. I was reminded of the intense need in this country and in the lives of the people we minister to at our Centers. I was reminded of the church community waiting for me in El Salvador that has become part of my family.
Most of all, I was reminded of the restorative, everlasting power of God that is transforming lives in the communities we serve. I feel honored and humbled to have shared such a special week with the rest of the team from Rock City and all of our local staff and volunteers in El Salvador. It was an experience full of God’s grace and goodness.
Please continue to pray for me to receive the last $550 in monthly support that I need to be 100% fully funded. I need to raise this support before leaving for COMPASS cultural training on September 19 (less than six weeks) in order to return to El Salvador on a full-time in early November.
Enjoy more pictures below!
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing. // Zephaniah 3:17
Que Dios los bendiga,