Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I love the children but still I don't love the roads!

Again so much has happened since I last wrote and I can only write a little before the battery dies. I can't express enough how much I love to be surrounded by these beautiful children and doing art with them. This is my first mission trip and people who have done this kind of thing before have told me over and over that you get way more back than you ever give. This is so true and it's one of those things that you have to experience yourself rather than have someone explain it. I know exactly why Jesus said,"Don't send the children away, but let them to come to me". So that's what I want to do too.
Most of them draw a picture and then they want me to have it, even though I tell them in my broken Spanish that they can keep it for themselves. Some even wrote at the top in Spanish, "Esto es para ti, Yohanna Demi Parati", which our translator said means, This is for you, Joanna, From my heart to yours. See what I mean about getting more than you give? The families are so generous as well, they have offered us their chairs to sit on and rest, their home for shelter when it starts to rain, their food from their garden and their tables and they are constantly smiling and trying to communicate their love to us in Spanish or broken English. It's unbelievable how little they have and yet they have all their extended family around and they laugh and play musical instruments and help each other with hard, hard work in the rain and mud, climbing over steep rocky mountain paths to get to each other's homes.
And then there's the roads! I'm getting braver each time and I make each trip knowing that it's the only way to get to the children! I love the children.
Ciara is well and we thank each of you for your prayers for our safety. Thanks Angela for your comments. I'm very proud of her as well.

The Angels are rejoicing!!!!!! Tuesday our translator was able to lead one of the local girls to the Lord.  It was amazing how God worked this all out.  The girl's aunt is a believer and she had been witnessing to her.    Ciara built the bridge and made a friend.  Some organization in the state made the colouring book she read. Tracey went and got the translator from the job site.

Words can't explain the joy to see a young girl so open and ready to ask Jesus into her life.  It was a joy to celebrate with her as a sisters in Christ.

Praise God

Milk Mats

For those of you part of the SEMC you might remember seeing an overflowing box that collects milk bags. It's located in the foyer on the small table. For the last two years a small group of Junior High Students have been meeting on Tuesday evenings. They have cut those bags into strips, then they tie the strips together into long strings of milk bag pieces and then they either weave or crotchet those those long strings into a milk bag mat. It takes hundreds of milk bags to make one mat!

As part of our trip this year that Tuesday evening group had about 20 mats for us to take to El Salvador. We left two or three behind, because we were out of luggage space, but the rest made the trip. The intention is that we would give the mats to the families we were building homes for. That way they could put them on their beds (if they had them) or on the floor (if they didn't). 

Also, this Spring, our IMPACT Youth group did a fundraiser where they received donations for spending a week sleeping on the milk mats. They raised over $2,000, which helps us do the things we are doing here. 

Turns out, we, our team, are very thankful for the milk mats. Our sleeping accommodations aren't quite the "small hotel" that we've enjoyed on our previous visits. We're all on bunk beds, which have thin metal rails beneath a thin mattress. Many of us have put the milk bag mats on our beds to provide added support and comfort. Our beds were also lacking pillows...but, no worries, turns out the milk bag mats also make a functional pillow! Who knew?!...oh yeah...God did!!  We'll give the mats away at the end of the week knowing that they do provide comfort!

Here's a picture of Karen Allen's bed which captures what I've been saying. My bunk is similar except that my pillow is made exclusively from the chocolate milk milk bags...interesting....

Have a great night! And thanks for your prayer, comments and care for our families at home in Sarnia.