Thursday, October 21, 2010

Back ..........

Yes we are back..........Monday I headed to work and what a difference......Last year I remember feeling the same way....... Lost, like I had never done my job before. Out in left field.

What has God taught me? What will I take away from this experience? Questions that seem simple but are complex. We are all Gods' children and He loves us equally in Canada and in El Salvador. We need to do what He has called us to do. Reach out to those around us. All christians need to share their availablity and their time. By times I felt put to shame by those christians in El Salvador. Their sacrifice seemed so much greater than the small part we did.

Thanks to everyone on the team for showing Christ's love each and every day throughout the week. His spirit worked miraculously in everyone last week.

Let's remember each other in our prayers.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Fruit Basket

Do you remember that song about the fruits of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, and patience; kindness, goodness, faithfulness; gentleness and self-control - these are the fruits of the Spirit. These are the fruits of the Spirit.

That little tune has been running through my head ever since returning from El Salvador. I think it must be because I was so close to "tasting" these fruits the entire time we were away. Don't get me wrong. I'm not referring to myself here, but instead to the great guys & gals with whom I was able to share the journey. In so many different ways and in so many crazy circumstances, I saw these traits lived out in real and meaningful ways.

Like Ed's incredible love for the country and people of El Salvador. Like Joy's "joy". What a perfect name...My beloved husband (Deve or Davicito) has endless patience ~ at least when he's not at home. Kindness could be renamed Vanessa & Brenna. When I think of gentleness, Karen and Crystal come to mind. Surprisingly, Tim and self-control seem to go together. If that guy ever fully let loose, I don't think we'd know what hit us! It was amazing to see the peace of God invade Tyson and Pim's lives. Two great men who trusted the Lord with their heat and health concerns and saw God cover them with His wings of protection. I am so proud of them both. Goodness can come from so many places, but I saw it time and time again in 3 good men. Joe, Stan and Don have such hearts of compassion for the people of El Salvador. And faithfulness - Les and Coby showed themselves faithful to the call of the Lord to go on mission for Him. They didn't know exactly what that would look like, but when the Lord called, they answered. I believe they were blessed for their steps of faith. Julia, also, proved faithful to God's call to foreign missions not once but twice this year. She has uncovered her heart for people in other places and her ability to jump into any and every circumstance is incredible.

And then there are the people of El Salvador themselves. These fruits of the Spirit are on display everywhere you look. People with little else in this world, seem to overflow with them. Such gentleness in their eyes; complete faith in their Heavenly Father to provide; intense love for their families and their God; joy in the midst of sorrow. The examples are probably endless.

Of course, there is no one quite so "fruity" as my friend, Pastor Jorge. His fruits just pour out of Him and you can't help but get caught up in the overflow.

I have been blessed to jump into the fruit basket with all these folks. God has been so good to bring them into my life and to let me learn from them. It has been great and I thank you.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wow! What A Memory...

Thanks again Sarnia team for the love & kindness you showed to me all week. This will be a week I will not forget. In fact, I almost have to shake myself and ask myself whether it was real or whether I am dreaming.
I just finished reading some of your blogs and I am deeply touched to hear what God did in your lives. I too leave a part of my heart in El Salvador each time I go.

What joy and peace I have experienced over these last two days since I have been home, simply to know beyond a doubt that I made the right decision to obey God's call to help provide shelter and food for those who have so little or even have nothing.

How CAN we ever be the same after this past week.
You are an AWESOME team and I love and thank each one of you!!!


What goes up must come down

I was driving home from work today thinking about my day and what a contrast it was to my experience last week. Today I was back in the 'world'. Last week it was Tyson's butt bombs, this week it's back to F-bombs. It's funny how quickly we can get used to things. I was used to standing in a cramped truck, the heat, the prayer and devotion times, the food, and the quality time I was spending with close friends. It was comfortable, it was...nice. Unfortunately I'll get used to work again, I'll get used the F-bombs and life back here in my reality. Basically it's like a flock of birds pooped all over my hot air balloon which is causing it to slowly come down.
I understand the mountain top experience, and that it's not my reality but I'm praying that it's preserved somehow, someway. It truly helps that Joy and I experienced this together which is something I will cherish forever. But I do want to take what I've learned from God about him and about me and do something with it. I don't know what that is but I figure if I continue to pursue God he'll make all things known to me. Just because I'm no longer in El Salvador it doesn't mean God is going to stop speaking to me and working through me...he's working here as much as there. I did sense a connection with Pastor Jorge that I can't quite explain but I know it's there. As we said our good-bye we hugged and he wouldn't let go. I think I did a good job of hiding my tears but that moment in time is another one I'll keep in my back pocket forever.

Thank-you Lord for allowing me to experience you in new ways. Thank-you for inviting us to join you in your work. Thank-you for El Salvador.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Mission 2010 to El Salvador was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget. Building homes for the six families was a joy knowing that they will have better living conditions than what they had before, which was practically nothing. Working with a team of brothers and sisters in Christ who's one goal is to help those in El Salvador was also and awesome experience. The laughter and tears will be cherished for a long time. The one moment that I will never forget is hearing Pastor Jorge moaning and shedding tears over the property that has just be approved to build homes for those who have nothing. His heart for the needy in El Salvador puts me to shame. My prayer is that this experience will always be my reminder as to how much God has blessed me and to share those blessings with others.

God is good

Home Again

It's never easy to leave a mountain top experience. Coming home, while wonderful, is also challenging. I miss everyone. I want to talk about what the Lord is doing in my heart and all around me. I want to laugh and be silly. I want to be challenged. I want to be stretched. I want to see a volcano everyday. I want to be excited about going to Texaco. Do I miss hearing about peoples bowel movements? Not really, but I'd do it all again. My prayer is not to live in past moments, but that the Lord would continue to challenge me to embrace what He is doing now.
Thank you everyone for sharing their lives with me.
Till the next time I'm called...

Where do I start........

We arrived home at 2:00 this morning and it has been quite a journey. I really don't know where to start, but I will try my best.
I have a new appreciation and love for each and every team member. Each one of us brought a unique quality to the group and my prayer is that we will never forget the journey that we shared together.
I left a big part of my heart in El Salvador!! I will never forget you Lacy. ♥♥♥ I'm not quite sure why you touched me the way that you did, but if not on this earth, my prayer is that we will once again see each other in eternity. You stole my heart and I love you.
Pastor Jorge, Marietza, Jorhita and Papa (I'm sure I spelled every name wrong, but the Lord knows who I mean), the love of God shines in all that you do and I will pray for you every day that the Lord will continue to give you strength as you do His work in El Salvador and for the people that you love so very much.
Karla, you were such a blessing to us this past week. I'm sure you got tired of us calling you every few mintues to help out with the language barrier, but you kept smiling even when you weren't feeling well and never, every let us down. Keep in touch OK?
Pastor Deve and Amanda. Your leadership and patience with us were second to none. The Lord truly blessed me with your presence. Your love of God is so evident in all that you do and say and I want to let you know that I love you and appreciate both of you very much.
On Saturday evening, Pastor Deve asked each one of us to share the one thing that stood out the most to us on our journey. There were many moments that touched my heart very deeply. To see the poverty that the people live in is something that I found very difficult to comprehend, but when we handed out the food parcels to the locals on Friday, my heart just broke. To see them line up to get their packages from us was the most emotional time for me. Each person was so anxious to get the trasures that we had put together for them. There but for the Grace of God go I!!!
I really wasn't sure why I was on this team. What were my motives for going? Amanda's devotional made it very clear to me. Isaiah 58 verse 7: " share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him...."
Thank you Lord for allowing me to be part of this wonderful experience, and for allowing me to be your hands and your feet during this adventure in El Salvador.


While in El Salvador we built 6 new houses for 6 families; we gave each family a plastic tote full of clothing, toys, toiletries, and candy; we handed out rice and corn and oil to many hungry families; we gave glasses to people who needed help seeing. All that along with meeting new people, building relationships, and showing the love of Jesus Christ to the people of El Salvador.

When we set out a week ago I was unsure why. Why did we do this and why did I want to take part in it. 1John 3:17-18 says, "But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won't help him--how can God's love be within him ? Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.

I just thank God for letting me be a part of this and demonstrating His love to the people in San Felipe, El Salvador.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

What Do You Say?

What do you say, when there are enough soccer jerseys to give to each of the, over 70 children, who came to play soccer?
What do you say, when the almost 3000 lbs of food you've been able to purchase, then bundle, then transport further into the mountains, then distribute, is sufficient to meet the needs of all those gathered on that day?
What do you say, when you stand inside the mayor's office and have him give clearance to begin building houses in another, even poorer area of this city?
What do you say when you get tired of jam sandwiches for lunch?
What do you say, when 17 people put aside their own fears, anxieties, weaknesses and preferences to work TOGETHER for one purpose?
What do you say, when 17 people play, laugh and encourage each other?
What do you say, when those 17 people have given all they have, willing to take on sickness, tiredness, and a longing for home?
What do you say, when you gather at the end of a long, tiring, emotionally draining, physically demanding day and week?

We say..."thank you God for teaching us more about you and somehow using us to help others see, feel and hear about the love of Jesus Christ."

Pastor Jorge would say: "Alleluia!!"


Friday, October 15, 2010

Fishes and Loaves

This afternoon Ed "took" us to his swimming hole. It was a nice little place with really cool waterfalls. You paid your money to enter, there were some food and trinket vendors and a choice of a few different pools to swim in. We were able to swim out to a set of falls, climb the rocks to an upper pool, a rather easy task except for the fact that small fish (1" or so long)were constantly trying to nibble your toes, really. It was the weirdest thing. Deve joked later that it was his first ever pedicure.

We just had a very interesting evening (of course). What would a mission trip be without another truck break down. God blessed us by having it happen when we were at the Texaco station for ice cream. The clutch on the truck stopped working. Juan-Carlos, the guitar player on the worship team, was with us. His father is a mechanic and got us on our way, not before we got an interesting visitor who ultimately was escorted by the police in the police car to a location which wasn't far enough because he came back later as we were about to leave. I tell you....those Canadians are nothing but trouble.

We finished off the evening packing up the bins to give to the 6 families of the new houses, a bin for the family of the little girl who got hit before church, can't forget Pastor Jorge or Basilio and his family, have to include the lady who supplied her washroom during the building of the last three houses (she washed your hands for you when you were done),also 4 or so bins for the orphanage on Saturday morning, and left over supplies to be distributed by Pastor Jorge. It was amazing to me that I was nervous that we wouldn't have enough to hand out to all who we thought needed it. God took what you, our wonderful family back in Canada, sent with us and multiplied it to meet the needs of everyone we were hoping to reach,including the orphanage, which came up unexpectedly (just like Teen Challenge last year).

I can't stop being amazed at how our God reveals Himself to us everyday, and I pray I never will.

Thank you for praying for us, we miss and love you all.


P.S. Tomorrow we play soccer against the Mayors team in a "stadium". We are not sure what that means or what to expect. We are hoping to make it out with only 50% casualties. (We found out the P.I.M. also makes a great goalie)

Along The Way

Today was a most unusual day, unlike any other that I have spent in El Salvador, this year or last year.
Because our six houses have been built, we started the day in the city dividing up and putting together packages of food (Read Stan's blog below for details). As seems to be the way around here, what you start with is not what you finish with and so off we had to go to buy a little more of this and a little more of that. Along the way, waiting, waiting, driving, waiting, driving and waiting, we met up with five very different people. The first, David, who lives in Texas but was born here in San Vicente. We met him first when we went to purchase the 1700 pounds of corn and then again at the swimming hole. No coincidence in my books and we now will continue our new relationship via email, where he will help me to learn about the El Salvador culture, and I will keep him informed about the work God is doing. The second, Carlos, is a doctor (a General Practitioner) who last year worked with one of our World Partner medical teams. We were waiting outside the Texaco (having our evening treat) when Carlos pulled up with a friend. Maritza, the pastor's wife, recognized him and introduced him to me. It was another opportunity to continue what the Lord was already doing in His life, as he plans to join another World Partner medical team in November when they visit the area. The third, is the mayor of the region here. Last year, we seemed to connect very well, and this year has been more of the same. In our brief conversation (yesterday) we again discussed our shared concern for this community and our desire to work together for the benefit of the area. May God continue to work in each of these men's lives, that they may know the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. The fourth, has become a friend, Juan Carlos. He's a 27 year old guy, who loves the Lord, works hard at his job, serves well in the church and, is just finishing his university education. We were able to share our dinner time together, catch up, laugh over language barriers and somehow have a great evening. The fifth is Pastor Jorge, he gives of himself to the people of this community, to his church family and to his own family. He is a compassionate man who, willingly sacrifices time and energy, and is persevering in his desire to honour the Lord, by giving his all every day. He inspires me to have those qualities. Thank you Lord for the people we meet "along the way".


When Worlds Collide

Tomorrow is a big day. We will be giving the keys to 6 houses to 6 families and offering them a chance to start fresh with a special gift from God. I can't help but be struck with wonder that we have the opportunity to play a part in that. It's just us - a crazy rag-tag group from Sarnia (plus one) that God has brought to this place to do something good; something worthwhile; something lasting.

But that's not all that's happening tomorrow and my mind and heart are torn between this place God has brought me to and a place that is farther away still. My dear friend Shana (with husband and two of her children in tow) is whisking off to Ethiopia to meet and embrace her newest child, Zake. How can it be that she is going there while we are here? My mind is struggling to contain all that is happening! But oh what a blessing to know that God is completely aware of all that is going on! He can handle the details even when I can't.

I truly believe that tomorrow our worlds will collide as our One True Heavenly Father guides and directs both our journeys. And as promised, I will hold a special place in my heart tomorrow for a slightly darker little boy than the ones I will be gazing on directly. Much peace and many prayers Shana. I love you and your family. May Zake be all you could have imagined and then even a little bit more - 'cuz that's just God's way - He likes to add a little surprise every now and then and I know how much you like surprises!! (you can follow their journey here)


Thursday, October 14, 2010

God is good

We just finished day 6 here in El Salvador. One of my biggest fears coming to ES was wether I could handle the heat. It turned out not to bad after all, but definetly could not have done it without Gods help. It was exciting to be part of a great team wanting to do Gods work and see the finished product. Tomorrow the keys will be given to the new home owners and Im sure it will be a tender moment. This has truly been a lifetime experience, one that will never be forgotton.


New Friendships

I was surrounded by people yesterday thanking me for thier casa´s and pointing heavenward. It is an experience I cannot explain with pretty words. I want to do so much more for them...
This time around I am connecting even more with the people and giving each one a piece of my heart. One lady asked me today if I was coming back. She had such hope in her eyes (she doesn´t yet have a casa). We are surrounded by so many people everyday, kids and adults alike, touching us and trying to communicate. One little boy, Frank, has the most wonderful frown and misheivious eyes. He kept coming up to me during the soccer game to gloat each time they scored. When I scan the crowd of children I see Frank waiting for my eyes to find his, and he smiles...then frowns. I´ll miss Frank. At church last night a little boy from the village climbed up onto my lap during the message. He was Maggie´s age, and fit so perfectly, his weight a sweet reminder of who I left behind. When I let go of his hand, he firmly put my fingers back around his hand and squeezed. I got the message. These kids are so loved by thier parents, and now by us.

¨My Grace is sufficent´¨

Since I had this cold in my head and chest and a sorethroat I started to lean on what God said to Paul when he wanted the thorn removed....My Grace is sufficient for you, my power is made strong in weakness. We´ve needed that, I¨ve needed that. We´ve seen suffering, we have suffered. I´m sure by now many have read about the little girl being hit by the car right before church. I couldn´t shake it all night, I fell asleep still replaying it in my mind. That suffering we all experienced, knowing what had just happened turned out to be another demonstration of God´s power when we learned the little girl was going to be OK. Believe me...that´s a miracle!
When it happend I just ran to the car and kept praying for God to give me strength as I tried (later learning that Bassilio was right beside me) to move the car off the girl. It was chaos...someone just grabbed her by the feet and pulled her out. She was concious! She was alive! I just kept praying for her and I knew in my heart that she was going to be alright even before we got confirmation. Church was difficult at first. I fought hard to hold the tears back. That momment will mark my life forever, the squeeling tires, the thumps, the screems, the yelling, the crying, the girl rolling under the car, the pain in my hands from trying to move the car, the church service, the power of God so thick in that place you could touch it, the music, Pastor Deve´s message (which to me was another demontration of God´s power in those words)the thoughts that that could have been one of my kids...all of that accumulated into this one period of time, a time when God´s Grace was sufficient for all.

All of this did turn to joy. Today was a great day. We bagged 1000 pounds of rice and 1700 pounds of corn to give away tomorrow at the key ceremony. We then had some lunch and went back up to San Phillipe to play soccer with the kids, then we went to this beautiful spring fed pool, it was awsome. It was a great day.

I do want to say that our team is awsome. I´m so impressed with how well we work together, with how we look out for one another and support each other. This is a great place to be, I know I´m where God wants me to be.



The truth is, I'm having a difficult time putting my thoughts and feelings into words on this trip.
It has been my desire to be open to the wonder of God each day, and each part of each day.
I do believe that is happening and is probably why I can't formulate anything too much to say. So let met summarize some rambling thoughts:

1. I know that being here, for this short time, is right, no warm fuzzy feeling, just a real sense of belonging to this community.
2. I love the makes everyone else upset, but as the week goes on, I feel better and better.
3. I am seeing the Lord work through each and every member of our was a prayer that I committed to the Lord, knowing that putting 17 people together for a week is tough, but God is at work in us. If you read 1 Corinthians 12, you'll get a sense of how our team is purpose, for the Glory of God.
4. God is at work here...I know it, I see it, I feel it.
5. There is no way, I would have thought we could build 6 houses in 2.5 days, and do the eye
6. Don't be fooled, Brenna has a temper. I mistakenly stepped in to the frame as she was taking a picture. Hurricane Brenna unleashed..."ooooohhhh, Pastor Deve!" she squeaked. Yes, it was barely audible, but it was filled with unbridled fury. Somebody help :)
7. The simple giving of a well-timed encouraging word can change the course of someone's day, even their life.
8. I live in a different place and in a different way from the people of El Salvador, and yet there is no difference between me and them, we both need the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to make it through every day...that and when it really comes down to it, I think I could get by with a pig, a couple of chickens, and a few goats.

I told you they were rambling thoughts...God is good.

Thinking of You

Just a note from all of us over here to Jeff and Shana and the rest your wrestling team, we are all thinking of you and praying for you as you prep for the trip. We love you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Whoever said that French is close to Spanish, they lied.

French and Spanish are not as similar as I was lead to believe, but the Lord has blessed us with the art of actions. haha A lot of times I catch myself saying the same thing over really slowly, then I realize that in reality, if someone came up to me and started speaking spanish to me in a really slow, loud would not allow me to understand it any better. haha
Today was a different day. A day where we all rethink our lives, situations and our decisions. Today, the Lord had some of us confused about reasons, but all well knowing that everything that happens is part of the Lord's undeniable puzzle that will forever keep us guessing.
This evening we went to church. I was so super stoked about all that I would feel while being there and all that I would learn. But I did not expect this. As soon as we arrived at the church, a car unfortunately struck a child from the village, who was excitedly running across the street to church. It all happened in a matter of a blink of an eye, but there were a few of us who happened to be looking in that direction. At first it was shock, but we had some awesome people on our team who were able to respond rapidly, alongside many bystanders on the street.
To say the least, I didn't feel like going to church anymore. But tonight at church was even more powerful than Sunday. This lady beside me who was also teary, laid her hand on me, and that made all of the difference. One God, one love.
It's hard because as humans we struggle so hard with the need to understand.
The miraculous part was that she survived, thank you Jesus that she survived. She is in the hospital, but after an accident like that, the fact of coming out of it with considerably minor injuries is a miracle and is none other then Jesus Christ putting this little girl on this earth for a purpose.
To our dismay, the driver has disappeared.
Please pray for the healing of this little girl, and the understanding of her parents. This gives Pastor Jorge and his church, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ the ability to not only tell the story of Jesus, but live Jesus face to face with this family everyday, which is a blessing.
Also please pray for the driver, for only God knows their mind, thoughts and actions. Pray that God will be with them and work within them during this time.
A couple members of our team are down and out due to sickness, but we all know that the Lord is in control, and that He has the power of healing. Please pray that it will be put upon them.

Overall, considering the situation, the rest of the day was a good day. We finished the houses, and got to hang out with even more children, with even more energy then the day before!
Please pray for continued protection over our team, and God's work that is being done here.

Blessing and Love through Christ,



What a day. Today we finished the building portion and included in that two and a half day period the eye glass ministry was also completed. the Lord assembled an amazing team. I loved so much seeing Gabriel again today as we finished the last house. He is receiving the first house we built but chose to help us build the rest.

Yesterday we were so spent. The team was split into two (yuck!). Five went off to eyes glasses at 10am, while the rest of us continued the build. We had an incredible day. Ed our build leader is so awesome. He had us working like a well oiled El Salvador Texaco station (they are extremely efficient and provide yummy treats). At one point I asked Pastor Jorge if there were a lot of people at the eye glasses and his head dropped down to stare at the ground, then he rolled his eyes and nodded yes. We were scared for our counterparts. As we pulled into the drive to pick them up later, Brenna looked at us and pushed her cheeks up with her hands to force a smile.

At the end of a really hard day we did what any hard working, exhausted mission worker would do......climb to the top of a tower (146 steps up a tight spiral staircase, I actually counted them, therapy starts next Monday) to over look the town of San Vicente. It was so comical, Pastor Jorge called the Mayor when we got there and passed his phone to the armed guard who was told to let us in.

Joy has absolutely mastered the spanish language. If she could patent her system Stan would never have to work again. Don't tell her I'm revealing her system but all she does is add the ending: ito, io, or ica to any word, and you are now speaking spanish.

Let's try a lesson together: Guitario, Bananito, truckica, candito, lazyo etc....

Basilio has been incredible, he manages the material and tools, and also opens his home to us for whatever we need. please remember to pray for him and his wife Veronica and their son.

We did have the use of a really cool tool this year that we didn't have last year. It's called a P.I.M. (Personal Impact Machine). He stands 6'-3" tall, but can extend his arms to 11'-9" if he really has too. We brought the "Clint Eastwood" version instead of the "Arnold Schertinagger" version. We preferred the cowboy hat over the shirtless muscle man version. He was very useful in screwing those high, hard to reach areas and passing material up to the roof. We were really surprise at how affordable he was to operate, just 2 pb&j's and some fruit and he was good to go.
I'm seriously looking at getting the same model for my roofing company back home.

Hi to my kitkats, Dad loves you, and thinks of you all.

Time to get ready for church. Tonight we bag food for friday.

We're praying for you all back home, God Bless.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A team divided

Today was a difficult day. Today was good day. We split up early with some of us heading off to do glasses and the rest to build. Two jobs that exhaust and exhilerate in vastly different ways. While it's difficult to split up as a team it's worthwhile at the end of the day when stories are shared and relived. We may have been divided today, but the gracious hand of the Lord stayed firmly put on each of our shoulders. Some of us built and some of us fitted eye glasses, but we all were part of the bigger picture. Divided yet united in purpose.

I managed to organize a rowdy group of childen into a nice neat, and yes, orderly line. It felt good. My spanish vocab is increasing. Dulce means candy. Children follow me around with gorgeous smiles asking for more 'dulce'. I happily comply. Usually the adults aren't far behind. They too love the dulce.

I love being here. Aside from missing my babies at home, it is wonderful. Thank you Father for using me, may I continue to say 'whatever'.


Yesterday driving on the truck I was wondering what kind of soil we would encounter for digging. You kind of hold your breath when you put your shovel into the soil, the next few seconds will dictate how the next few hours will unfold. The shovel sinks in easily, soft ground, a sigh of relief. I wonder if God feels that way when he encounters a soft heart to work with.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I choose to call this Untitled.

Oh my lanta! What a whirlwind couple of days already! I have met so many incredible people and have already strengthened so many relationships! I absolutely love it here! It is completely different from Canada to say the least, but I feel right at home, despite the time moving at the speed of a turtle. The people are so welcoming and friendly, and often get jokes out of my lack of talent when it comes to speaking spanish and my inability to act out what I am trying to say.

I can´t even decide what my favourite part of this trip is so far. Church yesterday was an amazing experience that I really do not think will ever be topped. It was a small church, but so full of passion and love. To hear everyone singing in Spanish, and then us in English was beautiful. I personally thought that it would noisey and would irritate me, but it didn´t at all. I was completely taken aback by the ability of God´s people to come together to unite beautifully for the soul purpose of worshiping God.

My second favuorite part was this afternoon, when I was hanging out with the children, which I thought would be impossible because of the language barrier but it really is not, and somehow we got into a tickle fight. So there I was, a poor little Canadian girl literally being tickle attacked by what seemed to be 2306785 children speaking to me in spanish! It was insane! But totally hilarious!

Anyways, these last couple days have been awesome. And God has already blessed me and shown himself to me in so many different ways, I can not wait for the rest of the week to experience more of him, and how he is working within these people, and within us.

Please continue to pray for strength and unity within our team, and well as energy! because it is very much needed!

and ps. Despite the situation with Stan´s tomato face, I seemingly did not learn the important lesson that was available to me, because my skin today is so burnt and hot, that you could literally fry an egg on my shoulder.

And to my dearest sister Erin, I will not get lost, don´t you fret.

Love through Christ,


All God's Creatures

Sometimes, it's the little things that cause me to stop and really think about my life and the vast differences I see between home and here. Today, those "little things" came in the form of two tiny, underdeveloped, flea-covered puppies. When I saw those two little creatures with their ribs sticking out and their sad, mournful eyes, my mind flashed back to home and my "furry wee son", Fergus. I couldn't help but think how my dog is lavished with love and attention; that he has fresh food and water in his bowls everyday; that he gets treats just for being cute; that he receives annual medical check-ups and treatment when he's not feeling well; he has a cozy bed to sleep in and toys to occupy his time; he is free to run and play without fear of being hurt or mistreated. And I couldn't help but realize that Fergus, my little dog (and yes, I realize he is just a dog) is more of a priority to me than many of the children of God currently sharing this planet with me. That doesn't seem right, does it? My heart was breaking for the little pups I met today. I wanted to give them a big bowl of milk and fatten them up so they'd have those "puppy tummies" I love so much. But was my heart breaking for the men & women around me this morning and for their beautiful children? And what about God's children in countries throughout the rest of the world? What about Canada? What about Sarnia? God's love is big enough to embrace ALL of His children, I can only hope and pray that I will be up to the challenge. Good night to all of God's creatures, both big and small. God made you and He loves you.



Well its Sunday night and day two is complete. Learned a few things.... Tyson is scared of midgets and clowns, even if he looks in the mirror....Karen is cherishing a break from Tim, separate rooms....and Im really glad to be back here. It was absolutely priceless to see the old man from last years house 2. He was smiling ear to ear when he saw us. He had really taken the house and made it his home. It turns out that he is 88 years old and not 99. We found out that a week after he took posession of his new house, his old one collapsed. Gods timing is so perfect.
It was really cool to see some of the familiar kids faces, one girl is in the cookbook, they are just as precious as they were last year.
I am really blessed to be able to share this experience with my wife. I am excited to see how our relationship with each other and God will grow by doing this together. I miss my kids am incredible amount, but know this was Gods will that we are here.
On one final note I have to say I find myself missing Percy. Percy you are in our thoughts.
Hi Eric, Nicole, and Stacy, I miss you so much.


I have to admit that coming on this trip gave me certain expectations. My husband came last year and after hearing his stories and seeing the pictures gave me certain expectations. Yes, alot of the scenery was familiar to me from the pictures and recognizing people from pictures...but that is where it stopped. The word ¨surreal¨ comes to mind. I don´t believe that anyone could prepare themselves for the reality of what is here. It is very hot but you have already read that from other pòsts, there is alot of poverty hence one reason why we are here. I am trying to decide on which is more beautiful..the gorgeous landscaping, mountains and such unique surroundings or the people who have amazingly welcomed us here with open arms. Even those that will be not be benefited by a new house. As we pass by we can always count on a warm smile or a wave attached to an olla! Although they don´t have much to offer us let alone their families, they have warmth and compassion. This is all after only 2 days of being here. We start to build the first house tomorrow and I can hardly wait! No more expectations for me, I am just going to take it all in and take what I can get! the Lord is Great!



I was looking forward to church today. I was looking forward to the unique experience of hearing and participating in the worship. As the english and spanish praise was (loudly) raised to the picturesque mountains, it made me think of the babylonians. They were working together to build a tower that would glorify themselves. God confused their languages because they were using their God given skills to make a name for themselves. In return the language barrier drove their progress to a halt. But when God is being glorified, in unison the language barrier is a beautiful,moving and humbling experience.
Miss you all

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Oct.10

Went to the places today were we will be building houses. All the places are in need. One family lives in a place that is about 2 metres by 4 metres and they have 7 kids. We are going to try and build 6 houses this week. They are simple houses but are alot nicer than they are trying to live in now. We did not get to the orphanage, maybe later in the week. It is very hot. We are meeting at 6 in the morning to begin our day. It is very hot here and they say after a few hours of working in the hot sun it seems like you have been slugging for days. Will update more after our first day of work.
Thanks for your support. Mr. A

I Love Hot Sauce & Jalapenos

Wow coming up with a creative title and I'm spent...
I have been eating an absurd amount of hot sauce and jalapenos, so much so I have a few team members concerned. However I have an apprentice believe it or not of all the team members its Coby. Stan looks like a lobster and I think that with melted butter and hot sauce I could eat him. I am amazed (not really) by how many people miss and ask about my wife.
We are building our first house tomorrow for a young couple and their baby. They were just beaming today when we saw them. I am excited to get their house going.
Joy seems to think its funny to make fun of my phobias when we are in group meetings, so she may wake up as a clown.


Striking views

Today we visited the families who will be getting new homes. It was hot, really hot. My sunscreen wore off early from all the sweat and now my face and forehead are beat red. The drive out to the area was a blast crammed into the back of a truck. As we drove up the mountain there were several things that amazed me. The totally unbeliveable houses that folks live in (I would rather live in my shed), the cattle drive up the highway, the large bus flying down the hill(I swear all the passengers were leaning one way to keep the bus from flipping), the joy that I saw in the faces of those who are getting a new home and to top it all off the absolute striking beauty of this country. We are surrounded by a dormant volcano, it´s green as can be - total majestic. Joy asked me what I was thinking as we drove up and I really didn´t have much to say. Pretty much speechless.
Tomorrow the work begins. I´m excited about what God´s going to do in and around us. This should be good.


Welcome Home

From the moment our plane touched down I've felt a sense of homecoming that surprised me. The familiar landscape, the dormant volcano, and of course the bright smiles of the people, welcomed me and I was reminded, before I left the airport, why I came back. The hearts of the El Salvadorian people are beautiful.

We met the families we are building for today, and I've tried to act toward them the way I would anyone else, offering a smile, a hug and a mispronounced word in spanish (I've yet to master the language though my 'Ollah' is cheery). It's a new year with new families and new opportunities for the Lord to show his hand at work. God is good. God is at work.

You would all be so proud of your pastor had you heard him preach tonight. The Lord anointed him and his words were inspired and challenging. If God is gives us a full portion of himself and holds nothing from us, why do we keep so much from him? Somehow he managed to work his entire message around a charging cell phone we saw charging in a tree...honestly it worked.

Stan is's very funny to some people (Brenna). Don managed to evoke a violent response from our sweet Amanda that involved a soaking with a water bottle. Shocking. At one point no one knew where Brenna was when we were driving away on the truck, but it turned out she was standing in front of Pim. Coby completely understood my truck fears from last year. It's scary people! Only this year it's a new truck with strong welds... I had a colony of fire ants attacking my bare feet and Joe kindly watched me freak out, offering a few words encouragement along the way.

My heart is full as I contemplate what the Lord will use me for. I have no plans, no expectations, only the eager willingness to be used. May I see with the Lord's eyes, work with his hands extended and love with his heart.


im burnt already.

so yes i did get burnt today and didn´t listen to aunt coby and put on sunscreen. ill be doing that tomorrow! haha today was great and i just love being back here. especially since it´s my second time i feel more comfortable, because i know what to expect, mostly. there are always suprises, but so far they´ve been good :) my favourite part of today was seeing all the people we met from last year. it was awesome to see how the little kids have grown up in the past year and i almost died when they remembered my name. so special.. tomorrow will probably be a long day, because we´ll be figuring out where everyone fits in and what jobs we´ll each be doing, but getting to know the new families and kids is what i´m so excited for.
nothing else to say really other then the food is..interesting..haha

What a day!

It has been a truly amazing day! We started our day with having breakfast at the pastor's home. Pastor Jorget's wife cooked our breakfast and it was wonderful to experience the different foods that they eat here. We then went on to visit the sites of the homes that were built by our team last year. It was such an eye opener for me. To see the homes that the locals live in and then to see the joy on their faces even when they live in what I call poverty conditions. These homes are like castles to them. It was a very emotional time for me, to see how we live so differently and are still sometimes not content with all the material things I have!!! God has opened my eyes in a mighty way today. I can hardly wait to see what He has in store for me (us)in the days ahead. All I know is that I am ready and willing to do anything that He wants me to do for Him and His people here in El Salvador. It may not always be easy, but I am up for the challenge. And is very hot here!!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

real hot

El Salvador has been surprise after surprise. The heat more than anything else. Much hotter than I expected and I'm not sure how that's going to work out for me. The other surprises though came in the shape of birds. Within the first hour after landing I saw 2 new species of doves just outside of the airport - inca dove and ruddy ground dove. Great tailed grackles were inside the airport and I saw a peregrine falcon flying over the runways as we were getting on the bus to go to our hotel in San Vicente. Then I was further surprised by social flycatcher and black vulture seen from a landing in the hotel. If the work goes as well as the birding we are in for an incredible time. Thank God for all His wonderful surprises.


First night in El Salvador

Well we made it. What a beautiful country. The mountains are awesome and the countryside is so green. It is hot. Sweat is pouring off my face as type. Joy just walked up to me and told me she just watched a dog get hit by a car. That's our first weird story...sure there will be more. Dogs are everywhere well as cows and horses. We should eat dinner soon and tomorrow we will meet the families. That should be awsome.

Peace out,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ready to Go?

Well, it's here and I'm ready to go...I think. I have challenged myself and our team to think of this as being new and fresh. Inevitably the comparisons will be there...just as they are within me. This time is different already and I probably can't describe it. But if I base my perception on how others are treating this departure, this trip, this experience, this journey, then I believe it is already truly special.

My kids had a tough time letting us go last year. I'm having a tougher time this year. I loved that they each wanted to have lunch with Dad this week, even though I was only home for a couple of days.

It's already been an incredible week: Our community support has grown, and it is amazing to walk and ride through the streets and have people wish us well.

Our church family, they are amazing. They have supported and encouraged and worked and provided for us to be able to do this. So many blessings and so many hurts. It is hard to leave those who hurt, except knowing that the Lord will continue to bring help and healing.

Our team, I think I've communicated with all of them today, there is nervous anticipation and I am thankful for each one of them.

Last year, I went to El Salvador with a lot of questions. This year, I am ready to go with a great sense of wonder...ready to receive all that God will show me, to help those to whom He leads me, and willing to learn from all He has to teach me. So before we begin let me say thanks to our greater Sarnia community, thanks to our church family, thanks especially to Jarrett and Aynsley (and all our children/families), you have sacrificed much, may the Lord bless you all for your encouragement to us.


Sunday, October 3, 2010


Today we packed the totes. Can you believe 6 days and we will be there. Pray that God will uphold our team until it is time to leave and pray for unity while we are there. Thanks to everyone who will be praying for us. Without your prayer we would not be able to make it.