Ministry looks a little different in El Salvador. We followed another team (Crash of Love) to this site and they ended up leaving the morning we arrived. We are staying in the house of Oscar, the youth pastor at Teen Challenge, and his new wife, Jacqueline in San Salvador. He and his wife are from San Vicente and we have gone there twice already; it’s about an hour drive away. Jacqueline’s dad is the pastor at their church in San Vicente. That church sends out and receives many missionaries. It seems most of the missionaries they receive are from Canada. From what I have gathered, there is one large organization that gathers Canadaian missionaries and sends them in groups pretty much back to back for about 7-10 days to build houses in El Salvador. My teammates from the South have commented that I sound similar to our Canadian friends.
We went to Teen Challenge the first night we arrived and have gone two other times so far. This location is only men, and these guys know how to praise the Lord. Each of us will be able to share our testimonies and I have been praying that the Holy Spirit will give me the words to say because I feel that there are a lot of aspects of my life that I could see God using to share with these guys.
When we were in San Vicente, we were give tracts at two different times to hand out. The first time there was a funeral processional occuring in the street. Carlos, our translator, said that it would be alright for us to join the procession as long as we were respectful. As the only white people (pretty much everywhere we go) we stood out. I handed out several tracts to some teenagers, since the tracts we received were comic versions of the Gospel of Mark. During our training at camp in Georgia and the launch training in Antigua, we are encouraged to be like Christ. Christ calls us to heal those who are sick and to raise the dead. I don’t know about you but I’ve never healed the sick or raised the dead; however, that does not mean that I don’t believe the Holy Spirit has the power to do so. Brooks and I followed along and prayed for the deceased finding out she was a 76 year old woman, I prayed also that others would see Christ in and through us; I’m not sure what occurred that day…but I will continue to lead if the Lord follows – I also want to make sure it is the Lord leading, and not the other way around though.
So in the evening we handed out tracts again. There is this tower in the town square and I saw a young guy sitting on a bench and asked him in my poor, but improving, Spanish if I could sit down. He said “no” but I can understand joking even if it is in another language (he smiled and motioned for me to sit down after he said no). We had a nice chat – I told him about my trip and learned that his friends were in the tower but he didn’t want to pay the $1 to go up it (by the way the currency here is USD). I found out he is 17 and his name is Victor; I told him I had a good friend in the states named Viktorija; reminders of home are nice.
Carlos (our translator) works at Teen Challenge but has been hanging out with us a ton to help translate. He lived in California most of his life but was recently deported back here. We have had several good conversations; he mentioned that he thinks that I am a special person and he can see that I have a good heart (thanks God for talking to me again). Carlos asked if I miss home the other night. I thought about it and realized that I have a hard time coming up with where my idea of home is. I have several family members and friends who have offered their home to me for when I return, but I also don’t really feel like I have a home – you know, one place with all my stuff awaiting my return. But because of that it allows me to be more present here. Currently, El Salvador is my home – and I didn’t even know I was going to be going to El Salvador.
I’m just going to record a few other things the Lord has been teaching me. I am sick today but God is watching out for me and allowed me to be sick on a day where we had plenty of free time during the day and ministry was saved until the night time. Therefore I have been able to get a lot of rest. I’m currently reading several books, but one that I have been reading most of the day today is Joyce Meyers’ “Approval Addiction.” God really impressed upon me that He made me just the way He wants me and it is insulting to not like myself. He spent time and effort in creating me, the least I can do is appreciate it.
Another thing God was really speaking to me was that “he who is forgiven much, loves much.” Jesus has taken so many of my sins. I am definitely forgiven much, therefore I am able to love much. The pace/amount of ministry here is slower than Guatemala but I have to be content with that. I have to realize that God gets to set the pace and that this is a wonderful time to bask in His love and get to know Him better. Michael arrived here two nights ago (I think – my watch broke, with the date on it, a couple weeks ago, time seems irrelevant now). He went to Nicaragua after Guatemala because he is part of the logistics team for our squad and he was setting up the debrief for our who squad in Nicaragua at the end of the month. I think God has planned this month to help us grow as a family. I feel like I have been able to relax and be goofy with my team more. We all missed Michael when he was gone and it was really nice when he was able to be reunited with us. So my hope and prayer for this month is that we will continue to grow as a family so that our ministry will be a lot stronger in the months to come.