¡Hola a todos! Looking back on this year that has felt like a marathon and a sprint all at once, I can’t believe we’ve already reached the end of 2020. Here’s a look at what has been going on in the last month and a peek at what’s to come!
Children’s Development Centers (CDIs)
The Children’s Development Centers have continued providing monthly food packages for over 130 families associated with the 240 children in our program. Although the contents vary a bit, we try to focus on fulfilling basic nutritional needs while supplementing with hygiene and educational items. This month, the CDI will be providing special food baskets to help families enjoy a delicious Christmas meal, complete with a whole chicken! Each CDI child will also receive a Christmas gift to help make their Christmas full of joy.
One of the favorite parts of my job is getting to help child sponsors send extra gifts to their sponsor children. Typically, several sponsors enjoy sending an extra gift to their child for Christmas. This month I’ve been going to buy these gifts, deliver them and sending photos back to the sponsors. It’s so fun getting to go on mini shopping sprees for our kids and seeing their big smiles when they open them!
Chepe and I have also been supporting the CDIs this month with running errands and taking photos and video of food deliveries and other events to help document all that God is doing through this ministry.
Iglesia Gran Comisión (Great Commission Church)
Chepe has been hard at work the last few weeks preparing special videos for an online Christmas service on the 24th. Our home was turned into a mini video set for a couple days to get some festive, cozy footage of the band performing Christmas music. This is the first time Chepe has created videos like this because during the pandemic he has had to rely on each band member sending in individual video and audio to create worship videos for services.
We’re excited about reaching lots of people with this church service and being a part of people celebrating the birth of Jesus!
Here’s some artwork that Chepe has created to help promote this Christmas service:
Iglesia Gran Comisión has continued hosting online services for Sundays, Wednesdays and small groups. In addition, we are slowly introducing in-person services again after eight months! On November 29th, about half of the congregation for both San Salvador and Soyapango church attended an in-person service at both CDIs. It was such a joy to be able to see some of our friends, although it did feel different being at the CDI and more of a simple, acoustic production than we had at the beginning of the year. We’ll also be hosting another service in person on December 27th.
Will you pray for the church leaders as they continue to evaluate the transition back to in-person services and what that should look like?
Youth Small Group
Our youth small group has finished strong this year with our Christmas Dinner! You may remember that at the beginning of this year, we were selling brownies and candy as a group to raise money for GCLA’s annual Easter conference in Honduras. Well, as the conference was cancelled we were left with these funds. Chepe and I were holding onto them during the pandemic and decided it would be a lovely way to reunite with the youth to use them for a dinner to close out the year.
Almost everyone was able to attend and after dinner, we went back to our neighborhood park for a bonfire. Everyone was craving fellowship time in person, so we spent the night playing games and I even got to introduce everyone to US style s’mores! We will go on a break for a few weeks during the holidays and likely start up again with weekly Zoom calls for small group in January.
2020 Cruz Wrap-Up
We have really been enjoying this Christmas season back in El Salvador. Although it looks very different from years past, we’ve made the most of decorating, listening to festive music (Chepe’s favorite is “All I Want for Christmas” by Mariah Carey while my go-to is the N’Sync album – both respectable classics I’d say) and enjoying this time at home. I’ve been going through a Christmas devotional this month that has helped me to appreciate a simple, peaceful version of Christmas that doesn’t prioritize a busy schedule, a dozen different parties and overspending on gifts. We’re looking forward to a quiet 24th with Chepe’s immediate family followed up by a date night with a fancy meal at home on the 25th. Whatever your plans may look like this year, we wish you the absolute best!
One of my favorite things about this season is spending time to reflect on the previous year and set goals for the coming one. We’re really excited about continuing to serve in El Salvador into 2021, although this year it has seemed a bit more difficult to create expectations for the coming months as the pandemic still affects daily life here. I’d like to say we’re making plans with an optimistic spirit while preparing ourselves to make changes along the way. Living life in Central America has definitely prepped me to be flexible in that way!
Will you pray for us as we ask for God’s guidance in planning for 2021? We deeply desire to bring Him glory and honor His wishes in all that we do!
FOR OUR SUPPORTERS
We want to take this opportunity to reiterate how grateful we are for each and every one of you. In this year full of uncertainty and hardship, we do not take for granted your partnership in this ministry. God has repeatedly shown us his faithfulness and might in sustaining this amazing team of supporters. We absolutely could not do what we are doing without you!
So, from the bottom of our hearts, GRACIAS. We love you!
In this Christmas season, we pray that God would fill your homes and hearts with peace and joy that only He can provide.