Today we head out to our first build sight, which was probably a 30-45 minute hike down the mountainside, after a two hour cattle truck ride from our hotel to the community. And those of you who know me, probably know that given the choice, I will take the easy way out. When we were getting ready to begin the hike, I was given the opportunity to ride a horse down the mountain side. Aside from being a really awesome experience, I did it because I didn't want to do the hike. So we made our way down the mountain side, Tiffany and Julia along with me. Finally we reached the build sight. I was so grateful for these horses, and the young men who walked beside us, because we made it there without breaking a sweat or physical strain.
As we finished building the house, I was once again offered to ride the horse back up the mountain. And knowing the struggle I had last year with the hike, I was very tempted to say yes. But something inside me changed. I don't know what, and I don't know why. Perhaps it was watching all the young men and women working so hard building the house, after many had already been up and down the mountain 3 or 4 times, and went to work in their field at the crack of dawn. I opted to hike back up the mountain, about an hour hike maybe a little longer. I even turned down the offer to have my back pack be carried up for me. If I was going to climb up the mountain, I was going to climb up the mountain on my own. Even if it meant taking extra stops and water breaks along the way.
I am proud of myself for pushing through, despite how exhausted I was afterward. It made the experience of building the houses so much richer. Giving my all in helping these families who spend weeks and months giving their all preparing their land is a very humbling experience.
God wanted to show me something while I am here in El Salvador, and here's what it is...
IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT ME!
Monday, November 30, 2015
So today I walked down the mountain after swearing I would never ever do it again after last year. But God wIth His wonderful sense of humour brought me back. And then just to show He hears my prayers, provided this lovely horse to ride back up. I can now add horseback riding (mountain style) to my El Salvador experiences!
I believe that often as we go through life we do not really see how God is leading our paths and often do jot see the impact our choices have on both ourselves and others. Today was not one of those days for me as it became very clear to me how God has used us to impact this community and specifically one of his workers here.
Last year a small team of 11 from SEMC were called for our El Salvador mission trip and lead that team to the remotest communities Shelter has been able to reach. That trip was very demanding especially physically as there were long drives, steep hills, and long paths involved in most of the homes. This lead Pastor Deve to ask that 2014 team last January if we would consider returning to this same area again or should we will consider other alternatives (we have always changed location in the past). Again I believe that God lead that team to have the faith to say they would return. Today God was glorified and hope grew throughout due to that God lead decision. I am not sure that I can express the joy I felt from Pastor Pastor and the communities. Unknown me was the concern that had entered this community that our 2014 trip had been too hard and that no one would ever want to return again. The impact of our return was very tangible as I felt the joy in the Pastor and the community knowing they serve a God we're all things are possible and God was praised with the knowledge that only people lead by the Love of God would return.
It thrilled me to see the joy this small act could bring and I believe God truly was leading our 2014 team back in Jan as we indicated our willingness to return. Now I am looking forward to seeing how he will use use throughout this week.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
One day, one year ago I sat with a family and they shared their story with me, a stranger. I felt a special connection with the youngest daughter in that family. When our team decided to come back to build in the same area again this year I hoped that I would get to see that girl once more though I knew I may not. However, after church this afternoon I happened to see her through the crowd and she recognized me instantly! We hugged, she brought me to see her family and we got to chat for a little while. Crazy that a relationship can be built in one afternoon and remembered for a year! That's why it's not about building houses. It's about building relationships and hearing people's stories.