Friday, April 5, 2013

So much to celebrate!

So much to say at the end of a long day...I'll try to be brief (but will probably be unsuccessful).

We had a little bit of everything today: market visit, building another house, visiting a bakery-school project and meetings. Include the "regular" daily happenings of building relationships with leaders from  across the country and you have a pretty full day...oh, and it was my daughter's 14th birthday too!

Why do we stay involved in El Salvador? That's a question that we get asked often enough and is always worth considering. Today was a good reminder of many reasons. 

When we first started here our desire was to be involved in a global mission field with a view to developing a long term relationship for the purpose of mutual learning and the capacity to contribute to long term sustainability.

More than building homes, we have seen the establishment of a goat farm, sewing centre and now a tshirt printing business and a bakery-school. All of these endeavours flow from the gifts, talents and dreams of local people who are being equipped and mentored in order to develop skills and provide for themselves. 

We visited a small bakery that started out of a desire of some to learn to bake and then to teach others. Through this "school" ladies are being brought into relationships that equip them with skills that can benefit their homes and enable them to make some money. More importantly the leaders of the bakery meet together and pray for the ladies who attend. Their desire at some point is to have this operation get bigger so that some will bake and others will sell, all while investing time in developing relationships. 

Today we heard stories from two ladies (Pimpa and Wendy) who work at the sewing centre; about how the skills, employment and the community they are part of have helped bring significant change to their lives. Both have learned the value of commitment, hard work and learning to save. In fact one of them was able to save some money from her job, then her husband sold his motorcycle and they bought a small house! More importantly they realize that the Lord has made all this possible. 

Last year when we were here, we visited a town called Rio Frio. At that time we had the opportunity to connect with the two ministers (Pastor and Cesar) in the community, one from the evangelical church and one from the catholic church. Both men, demonstrate humility, and have formed a partnership that is united in their common affection for Jesus and a mutual concern for their community. Over the course of this past year there have been 75 homes built in Rio Frio. The results have been significant. In summary, they said they have learned that God desires for them to show love in Jesus name; what they see now in their community is people showing love towards each other, despite religious or political differences; and more importantly they are wanting to learn more about this "kind of love": Jesus. The Kingdom of God is being opened up to people and there they are responding to the love of Jesus Christ!

Why do we come here? Because God has called us to learn together, not just as canadians, but together with the people here, that Jesus is the solution for the needs of people. It's exciting to see, hear and smell the evidence of God's Kingdom as it grows!

Thanks for praying,


A Birthday in a Different Country

I had the most incredible day today. I got to experience my birthday in a different country, and although I didn't think we would make a big deal of it the team surprised me with cake, a silly hat, and a piƱata. I don't know everyone on the team that well, so it was really cool that they would do this for me. Although these things were extremely fun and memorable, they weren't my favourite part of the day.

This morning, a group of us went off to the market. After we were done, my dad, a guy on our team named Chris and I were standing on the street corner. On one side of us, there was a girl and boy and on the other side was another little girl. Chris pull out three balloons from his backpack and I helped him make the kids balloon animals. No words were spoken, we just laughed and had fun with the kids. For two minutes, we were able to take them away from the pain that they most likely know and just have fun with them. As I was leaving on the truck, the kids smiled and waved goodbye to me tightly holding their balloons.

My most favourite part of the day happened at the worksite. My dad and I were only there for about an hour or so because we were at the market but we still were able to help out. I went over to Lupita (not sure how to spell her name) a 10 year old girl whose family was receiving the house. I got someone to ask her what her name was and they lady that asked her also told Lupita that it was my birthday. She grinned and gave me tight hug while wishing me happy birthday in spanish. I think that was my favourite present. After that, we played together for the rest of the morning. At first, I wasn't sure how it  would work because of the language barrier but I quickly learned that language doesn't matter. I gave her and her little sister sparkly tattoos and we blew bubbles. Later, when we were interviewing the family I learned that Lupita was having trouble in school and as a team, we were able to pray for her. That morning, Lupita and the rest of her family accepted Jesus into their hearts. Tomorrow I will get to see Lupita again at the key giving ceremony and I am trying not the think about the fact that I will have to say good bye to my sweet new friend.

Buenos noches!
P.s. thanks for all the birthday wishes! :)