Today was the first day of our AGM (Annual General Meeting). Most years we have a guest speaker to share in one or more of our sessions. This provides some necessary reminders, some equipping and usually a challenge that relates to the privilege of being called to lead these short-term teams. This year we invited Tyler Pelke to be our guest speaker. As a fourteen year old he endured incredible suffering, which almost took his life and left him with 25% of his body covered in 3rd degree burns. The short version is he faced several choices over the next number of years, either to remain a victim of his past circumstances or courageously make choices in spite of those circumstances. He continually chooses the latter and that's part of the message he shares: know your purpose, be quick to forgive, adapt-ability. With the God as His helper Tyler provided an inspirational message that speaks encouragement into the often confusing world that we live in as leaders of these teams, as well as speaking hope into the lives of those among whom we serve in El Salvador. We don't have to remain a victim, we don't have to just survive, but by knowing our purpose we can actually thrive no matter what our circumstances may bring.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Today we built six houses. The first family my build team built for was for a man named Gustavo, his wife, Rena, and their son. Both Gustavo and Rena had been abandoned at a young age by their parents. Their parents moved to the United States, keeping contact for the first few months but that soon stopped. Gustavo and Rena have heard through friends that Rena's parents have separated and have new families. During our interview with the family, one of the questions asked to them was, if they could go anywhere in the world where would it be? The response, they each want to go to the United States so they can tell their parents how much they love them. Crazy.
The second family my team built for had a great grandma who was 92 years old, grandparents around 50 years old, and a 6 year old grandson. You could tell that this family was truly loving and caring, which is something so rare to find here. The little boy, Joseph, was so energetic and intelligent, another rare finding. When he found out the Canadians were coming, he made his grandma buy him a book in English so he could learn to speak it. He hopes to become a doctor one day due to an experience he had at the hospital where no one was available to help him.
It was hot today, but nonetheless I love building and hearing the stories of families.