Monday, October 12, 2009


The children smile when you look at them. Some look away, shy and uncertain but always, always they eventually smile. A hug, a touch on the arm, a tug on a braid- any contact brightens their eyes,and warms our hearts.
Most of the children swarm Leisha and Vanessa. They are drawn to the purest hearts and truest love for them. It is a picture of Jesus. Leisha, and Vanessa are Jesus to them. They line up and ask to have their hair braided. And it gets braided. Leisha's fingers may cramp and she may be tired, but not a single child goes away without a pretty braid and a warmed heart.
Some of the boys follow us around and offer their help. Insist upon it. Before my hands get around something to assist, theirs are already helping.
We gave the first family a tub of clothes. There own, ragged and dirty. The family of six disappeared into the ten by ten structure they are living in and emptied the contents. The girl, eight or nine years old, oohed and ahhed over the pretty skirts and socks. One boy, whose shoes were too small for his feet peeked into the tub and pointed at a pair of blue sandals and then at himself. His smile is too difficult to describe. Too precious to mar with my word choice. I nodded to him and he scooped those sandels up so fast. He wore them the entire day. At times other boys would point to them and he would take them off and allow them to try them on. He always got them back.
Perhaps the hardest worker was the fourteen year old boy whose home we finished today. He was nonstop. From the moment we arrived to the minute we left. He would often take things from my hands and carry them for me. Always with the brightest smile. Aways. His shirt was riddled with holes. His jeans too small. When offered clothes he eagerly, but shyly nodded and thanked me so profusely.
I can't wait to see him tomorrow. His joy is contagious. His joy colours my own.


Nestled snug in our twin beds with the gentle hum of our air conditioner buffering as white noise, we sleep. We sleep well. We're tired. Our alarm? The celebratory, explosion of fireworks- at four thirty in the morning. Each half hour or so is punctuated by the same profane noise. My coping technique is simple, I incorporate it into my dreams and pretend someone, somewhere is throwing a party in my honour, because I'm in El Salvador. It's not really working. I think I would like to hunt down the hooligans responsible for destroying my sleep cycle. I won't. I'm in El Salvador on a missions team. I must be mission minded. So I wake and try not to throw anything at my roommates. Some don't know me that well. It may be misconstrued. At this point I'm focussing on pleasant thoughts. Until, our wake up knock. I do believe I may have asked *snarled at* the kind fellow to go away. There were only two witnesses to my character meltdown and Vanessa and Karen are too sweet to judge me.
It's all great fun. An experience to...well, to blog about.

My biggest challenge: not knowing spanish.

It's frustrating not being able to talk to our new friends. I'm doing a lot of hugging and smiling. My new friend had her house built today. She sat and watched us all day. I can't even imagine her excitement, her anticipation. I imagine her head is full of plans. Her house. What will she do? Where will she put her belongings. Her hands, full of love and gratitude will touch the home we built and she will make it her own. I see her hope, I feel her pleasure, and it pricks a tiny hole in my heart. There is a shard of painful awareness within me. Hr joys are simple. Her joys are pure. There are times mine are not. Mine can be selfish and complicated. The Lord blesses her. She blesses me.


Our God is an awesome God! What an incredible experience to have the opportunity to worship at Pastor Jorje's church yesterday.....not unlike heaven when we will praise God together despite our language barriers. I felt God's presence in that place. The Elsalvador people singing in their native tongue and us in ours all the while familiar music and hymns......beautiful and so difficult to contain my emotions. Their passion and enthusism. They sing from the depths of their souls!
I can't wait till Wednesday to gather together in that place again.
I know that God speaks through our Pastor, but how proud we felt to hear him speak and watch how God is using his gifts even here.
Today brought an abundance of emotions. Most of us unsure what our purpose would be here and slowly and clearly God is revealing that purpose. Each person being used in their own way to pour out God's love on these people. For me it was not much different than any other day at home. I was surounded by children, close to 50 of all ages throughout the day. What a priviledge to entertain them and be entertained by them while others sweated it out on the houses. Vanessa and I were able to get up close with the children braiding hair, beading necklaces, painting hundreds of fingernails and toenails, blowing bubbles, sack races and the not so popular for Canadians....playing tag in the heat UPHILL!
Surprisingly, these were not the things that took my breath away. We arrived at the worksite somewhere close to 0730 as did all of the children. In fact, they were waiting when we arrived. There is a sense of community unlike I have ever experienced. Young girls the age of 7 years or so had small infants on their hips. They stayed with us all day until we left after 1600hrs. They cared for not only that child, but even others with no relation. They were just as excited for the child next to them that was receiving braides in their hair as they were for themselves. They nurtured each other with tenderness. They are unselfish. In their innocence they teach so much.
Thankyou for continuing to pray for us. The week has just begun and I'm in no hurry to see it come to a close.


so...let me start off by saying that dad broke down and decided to go with no shirt and its only the first day! and do you guys know that we are really in el salvador??? you know that back room in the church? we could just be hiding out down there and ordering in food..after all we do have 33 000$! im kidding! but was great..i admit it was probably the longest day of my life i looked at the clock expecting it to be 3 or 4 but it was 11, even though it was long it was an amazing day. i got to make necklaces with these kids, have sack races, watch them swim in the river, blow bubbles with all the babies and littler ones, play soccer with them (and they are all extremely good!), we coloured and they showed me some of the games that they play. it was really special. i loved learning all their names and seeing all their different personalities, i wish i could take them all home. last night we all sorted out the different clothes that we could give to the families and today we got to give it to them. i think that was the most touching part of today, they were so happy to recieve all these things that you guys donated and yet they said that if they didnt fit that theyd find the other people in the village that needed them the most and theyd give it to them. i have realized that we really dont how good we have it. at least i didnt until i saw these people today, they are so generous when they have almost nothing. im really excited for the rest of this week and to see what happens!


I love how the children say my name. I,ve always thought a more exciting name would be nice. They roll the "r" and pronounce the first syllable like car. Aside from being renamed it was an interesting day. Time seemed to actually stand still. We got to the job site about 0730 and started working away and it seemed like it should be about 1100 or 1130 and it was only 0900. That kept happening all day long. I even had to look at one of the watches later in the day I couldn't believe that only fifteen minutes had passed. Don't get me wrong I wasn't in a hurry to get the day over with I was just fascinated at the phenomenon. It felt good to get sweaty and smelly and actually accomplish a huge task. One house is built! It is difficult to have a language barrier when trying to learn a something new. I wish I knew more spanish, so I could communicate with the kids better.


Oh, my goodness......what a day!!! It was hotter than anything yet Percy still has his top botton on his shirt still done up......what a guy. The first house is up! Probably the hardest do the fact of the location, lack of shade and also just how this first glorified shed was to go together!!! Totally awesome to see everybody do something to get the job done!! It seems like the whole village is pumped and everyone looks to see what is going on and the beautiful women working so hard and sweating so hard...looking so HOT!!!! The water is great the food well......its a stretch.

This is difficult to say in 1 paragraph since Deve only gave me 5 mins, so this will have to do for today!

Thanks for all your support and prayers


I guess I could keep talking about how dire the situation is here for alot of people, But I won't. Instead I would like to talk about the form of two incredible young men....Jose and Oscar. They were at service tonight representing Teen Challenge. They were surprised to here that we had a Teen Challenge in Canada. They are in the infant stages of their ministry but are trusting in God as they go. The main focus of their ministry are the street gangs which roam the city streets at night here. They are providing an alternative for the young men who are looking for change in their lives and the path they are on. They currently rent a location and have recently been given a bread oven. Their thought was to have young men learn to bake bread and other items. No one volunteered to go learn to become a bread baking are going to do it themselves. They are learning to make bread so they can teach ex gang members a way of supporting themselves and their families, and be part of productive society. Actually they are simply showing Gods love for these young men when they need it most.
They are also planning to offer an english course to these men as part of the ministry.
Talking to these two guys you can really feel the passion they have for God and the community they live in.
Please pray for Jose and Oscar as they venture forward on the path laid before them. Pray also for their families and the communities they will be impacting. May God bless and keep them.