|Hola a todos!
Wow, June was truly a month full of some treasured reminders of why I’m here serving God in El Salvador. First off, I celebrated my 23rd birthday on June 2nd! As with most holidays and celebrations, it was somewhat bittersweet not being with my friends and family back in the States, but my second family here stepped up their game and I felt very loved. On top of the dozens of well wishes I received from around the world, a few friends surprised me with a day trip to Ataco, a small pueblo a couple hours from the city known for its colorful murals. We finished off the day with dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant here with a ton of the youth from church.
Another thing to praise God for is that I FINALLY got my one-year residency card! No more waiting, no more last-minute trips to immigration, and no more lists of documents to put together under some sort of time crunch! I’m thrilled to get this 8-month process over and be able to focus even more on my work in ministry.
June was also jam-packed with mission teams visiting from the States. We are on our last day of hosting THREE teams in a row, meaning 22 straight days of working overtime! It has been exhausting, but each of these teams brought with them a special dose of energy and encouragement. I can definitely say they have helped to remind myself and our local staff here of the miracles God is working in the lives of the people we work with every day.
Having mission teams here with us means my day-to-day job looks a lot different. I often take a break from teaching English and let the missionaries take over my classes. This has been awesome for the students because they get a lot more small group conversation practice than I’m able to give them by myself. I also spend a lot of time translating for Bible classes, small group Bible studies and home visits. Basically, I’m able to join our visiting missionaries in talking to a lot of parents of children from our Centers about Jesus! Just in the last two weeks, I’ve had the honor of translating conversations during which FOUR mothers from our Children’s Centers have given their lives to Christ. God is beyond good!
I’ve loved being able to connect more with the mothers of our kids from the Centers, and I’m excited to build on those relationships and be part of the staff that follows-up with those who have accepted Christ with one of the mission teams we’ve hosted. I love the passion our staff has to see people come to Christ, love God and love others. This is what it’s all about, friends!
It may come as a surprise to you since I’m a missionary living abroad, but right now I’m going through and studying the book of Acts as a whole for the very first time. Let me just say, I’m loving it! Reading and reflecting on the lifestyle and passion of the early Church has sparked a new fire within me for my ministry in El Salvador.
People! Why are you doing these things? We are people also, just like you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them.
– Acts 14:15 (CSB)
This passage grabbed my attention because it shows that even though Paul and Barnabas were becoming somewhat famous for their ministry, they always directed the glory and praise to the One who deserves it all. They reminded themselves and everyone else that they weren’t serving to make themselves look greater, but instead because they truly desired to honor God and see other turn their hearts to Him.
I reflect daily on the privilege it is to be able to serve here in El Salvador and the teamwork it takes to keep me here. Thank you to those who are a part of that team!
- Join me in praising God because our Centers are growing! We’ve been able to add about 20 children to our Centers over the last several weeks. Please pray these children will adjust well and that God will continue to bless our ministry financially so we can continue growing!
- For the two separate mission teams we will be hosting in July from Bay Area Community Church in Maryland. The first will be with us July 8-16 and second July 22-30. Pray that God will use them in mighty ways and that He keeps them safe and healthy.
- I’ve been feeling very encouraged and extra engaged in my time in God’s Word recently. Please pray that this passion to learn from God will grow and that I can use it to follow His will each day.
Facebook // facebook.com/ali.howard.52