Last night we were sitting and listening to the Pastor from the church in San Vicente talk about his church's mission. His favourite line was "some open doors, some walk through the doors, and together we accomplish God's plan." His point behind this saying was that we and the other Shelter teams and staff are opening doors (to know Jesus) to these families in El Salvador by building their homes and beginning to build relationships with them. When we build their home, we always let them know that their home is a gift from God who is answering their prayers. To answer their prayers, God used many people who had to be obedient and generous with their resources, to help fund and support and pray for the building of their new home. The Pastor then said the church has to walk through the doors that are being opened to reach these families and continue the relationships. He went on to explain that the church is working hard to create opportunities to meet, encourage, strengthen and provide for these families in emotional, physical and spiritual ways. He is trying to set up community missionaries in each area. Some of the communities in which we build are too far away for the people who live there to come to church in San Vicente. To have support in their own community would be amazing.
I am finding it hard to only be here for a week. I feel like there is so much more relationship building I'd like to do (sometimes it takes me a little longer to form relationships). There's so much more I'd like to give. After hearing the Pastor share how they the church here will continue to meet the needs of these families and continue to form relationships and after hearing some of the stories that were shared today (more on that in a minute) I know that my role was simply for a week. A week to bring joy and hope to these families. It is the role of the people in the church here to continue to bring joy and hope to these families as the days, weeks, months and years go by. Amazing things seem to happen after a Shelter home is received.
Today we headed out to Victoria, (about a 2 hour drive from San Vicente) a smaller city than San Vicente. It is up higher in the mountains and closer to the border of Honduras (where the view is simply amazing...my eyes will never be the same after beholding such breathtaking beauty!). There are teams from Shelter that build outside of Victoria as well, and as you drive you can see Shelter homes dotting the mountainous countryside. Apparently this area outside of Victoria is a fairly poor community. A missionary couple live in Victoria and have an amazing mission there. They have many organizations supporting them as they seek to look after a variety of needs in the surrounding communities. After driving up some crazy roads on the side of more mountains we saw one of their programs come to life. Over a hundred children sitting at tables under a little shelter waiting with a plastic bowl and cup. Our missionary Pablito explained to us that some ladies from the community who have previously received Shelter homes, had come together every day to cook for the poorest children in the communities to be able to give them one hardy meal at lunch time. So every day at noon, these kids flock to this shelter where women were now taking turns preparing a lunch meal for these kids who may not otherwise eat in a day. Because these women were blessed by Shelter homes, they can now help others who are in need as well.
This seems to be a recurring theme this week. We are hearing stories from families who have been blessed by Shelter homes and are now blessing others as well. During our building days, I met a mother and her 3 year old daughter. They showed up at every build site. The mom would take a drill and help with some of the building and her daughter would play with us. Through our translator I was able to talk to the mom and ask her about herself. She told us that she had received a Shelter home last year and it had changed her family's life. So now, when other homes are being built near her community she comes out to help build as a way to say thank you and pay for her home.
Families helping families. A new home brings such hope and joy to a family. It is truly an answer to their prayers and the beginning of a new life for their family. We have seen the evidence. Thank you so much to everyone who is supporting these families by their generosity, their prayers and for allowing our team to create more "open doors". Such a blessing to be a part of these families' lives and stories even if only for one week.