Wiped Clean // September 2017 Update

Hi, everyone!
September went by in a flash, and I’ve got lots of things to share. Join me in praising the Lord for all He’s done here in El Salvador this month!


English Classes Started in Soyapango

When I was tasked last year with creating and managing an English Program for both of our Children’s Development Centers, I knew we would be starting out at our Volcano Center. Based on transportation, materials, etc. it made more sense that way. Almost a year later we have all 135 children in that Center receiving English class at least once a week with a native English speaker!

And I’m thrilled to share that this month we launched English classes at our other Center in Soyapango! Moriah (another missionary with us until December) and I are taking turns giving the older half of the children there class once a week. We’re excited to be able to serve the children in Soyapango by expanding the English Program to include them.

[ the first English class in Soyapango, on September 6th! ]

Happy Día de Independencia, El Salvador!

On September 15th, El Salvador celebrated 196 years of independence! At our Development Centers, we celebrated with “actos cívicos” which included singing the national anthem, a ceremony honoring the Salvadoran flag, and traditional dances. And of course, we enjoyed some traditional Salvadoran dishes! These were excitement-filled celebrations and fun for me to experience my first Independence Day here.

[ many children dressed up to represent popular professions in El Salvador ]
[ our Soyapango Center praying for the country and its leaders ]
[ some of the girls at our Volcano Center who participated in the traditional dances ]
[ Saul from our Soyapango Center telling us about the national dish, pupusas! ]


English Academy Growing

It was an exciting month for Academia Gran Comisión! After seeing two distinct levels of English knowledge within our class, we decided to split the group into two and offer two levels of English classes. This was not included in our original plan for this year, as we are still in our 6-month pilot program, but we felt it was necessary so that our students wouldn’t become frustrated or discouraged and also for us to have more opportunities to add students to the Academy.

I am in charge of the Basic-Intermediate level class, and Moriah is with the Basic level class. This means that both of us are teaching on Saturday mornings every week now! It has definitely been more work as far as having to plan an entire class on my own, but I’ve also really enjoyed it. It’s a nice mix-up from teaching the children at our Centers during the week.

The Academy is now up to about 20 students, 12 of which were not existing members of our church! We have also seen 5 new people start coming to church as a result of the Academy, and a couple have even started serving! We hope to grow on the connections we’ve been making with these students, believing God will change lives with the Gospel through the English Academy.

[ some of my students in the English Academy ]

San Salvador Church Update

If you read my last update, you may remember me mentioning that our San Salvador Church was changing locations from a large rented home to a local hotel. With a month of church services in the new location down, I think everyone is adjusting really well to the change. Because of transitioning from a permanent campus to a mobile one, there are more opportunities than ever for us to get involved serving on Sunday mornings. I have been helping out with setting up the banners and informational tables to help people become more familiar with who we are as a church and which social projects we manage.

Also, we are praising God that He came through with a beautiful house for us to rent to serve as the church offices, rehearsal space and the English Academy! It has been lots of work clearing out the old house and moving everything to the new one, but these offices have already been a huge blessing to our church. Thank you for your prayers!

[ pictures from our first church service in the hotel ]

Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
Hebrews 10:18 (CSB)
This month, I studied the book of Hebrews. One of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from this is the reminder of the absolute miracle it is that Jesus is fully God and fully man at the same time. He had authority on earth and in heaven, was perfect in his thoughts, actions, and words. Even so, He humbled Himself by taking the form of humans, emotions and temptations included.

And, of course, He did so to give us the chance at eternal life, which us imperfect people could never gain on our own. He became the perfect offering to pay for our sins and at the same time ripped the veil from top to bottom, giving us full access to our Creator.

When I accepted Jesus, my slate with God was wiped clean. All the bad decisions I’ve ever made and hurtful words I’ve ever spoken were forgiven, not to mention all the times I’ll mess up in the years to come. Not because I was or am good enough, but because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. God no longer sees my stained life when He looks at me. Instead, He sees the perfection of the Son.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
At our Development Center in the Volcano, we have Hebrews 11:1 painted in a beautiful mural on one of our perimeter walls. I’ve walked by and read this verse hundreds (maybe even thousands) of times, but it has definitely taken on some new life for me this month.
So, let’s take a moment to thank God for this. The times of following a list of rules hoping to earn our salvation are long gone. Instead, we can live in confidence of the hope that lies in front of us. 

No matter how near or far you are from me, you guys are essential to my ministry work here in El Salvador. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement!

Bendiciones,
Ali


 

Prayer Requests

  • For our children at both Development Centers. October is the last month of the school year, and many children are making their last effort to be able to pass their grade. Please pray for them to have the energy and focus to finish strong!
  • For the English Academy. Please pray that classes continue to run smoothly and that we as those involved would be bold in sharing the Gospel and connecting with the non-believers in the Academy.
  • For the missions team visiting from Bay Area Community Church, October 7-15th. Please pray for safety and that God would use this team in mighty ways to reach and encourage the people we serve at our Development Centers and Total Health Clinics.

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