Sunday night, when asked my initial thoughts on our journey thus far, I was at a loss for words. Not because of having nothing to say, but more the not knowing how I should express in words what I see with my eyes and and feel in my heart. For some reason, from the moment I stepped off the plane, to this very moment, I have felt a very real sense of familiarity with my surroundings. Is it because I've seen lots of pictures in the past couple years from the other teams, or is it the similarities I see in the landscape and in the peoples' faces that I saw in Bolivia a few years ago, or is it just that sense of recalling a passion for missions that I had experienced in Bible college? Perhaps, it is a little bit everything and maybe it's something that just hasn't happened yet. That's what keeps me on edge.
Reversing roles at the customs/immigration counter was enlightening. Knowing only 2 or 3 words in Spanish, the young man filled in all the blanks for me as I kept smiling and nodding my head at his questions. Then, when the interview was done, he said, "Welcome to El Salvador". How many people had I had the patience for over the past 15 years, and told them "Welcome to Canada"? Not many. Humbling experience number one. The red light green light experience is alive and well in El Salvador just like I had heard about Mexico from my friends and family! I got the green light! While waiting for our transportation to arrive at the airport, an armoured vehicle slowly drives by, with a young soldier perched on top in full camo at "the ready"! I assumed he wasn't looking for bear or deer; and I sure hoped he wasn't looking for any 'gringos' either! Humbling experience #2; meeting single moms who have multiple children to care for and number one on their list is trying to make sure that they are fed. Wow! Just thinking of all that money spent on travel hockey for Jared almost seemed like insanity. Through IJM I've already begun to realize that the number one job of most marginalized persons in developing countries is just to survive. Could I not work, and provide a home for my kid(s)? Would my family be there to help me? Would I still trust in God for everything, if I had nothing? It's pretty easy sitting in a padded pew telling the the Lord and others how much I care, while being surrounded by all the comforts that the North American lifestyle tells me I should have and which I deserve. However, it is very heartening listening to the stories of these folks that we will be building houses for. They are very good teachers.