Friday, November 30, 2018

New Things

So many new things happened this week:

- I had to eat new food
- we were around people who spoke Spanish all the time
- I learned how to use two different kinds of drills
- I learned how to put the walls together for a house
- I tried to carry pieces of the house (but the locals came to take it from me)
- I learned how to interact with the children
- I learned how to interact with my teammates
- I ate pupusas for the first time (didn't love it)
- I rode in the back of the truck (it didn't make me feel to great)

This week has probably been a time where I experienced the most new and different things all at once, and I feel this experience has been bigger than I thought it would be. I feel like the sacrifice to pay my own way and help raise funds was worth it. I had planned to go last year, but it didn't work out. I wasn't upset by that. But now, having been here for this week, it has been so worthwhile to finally experience so many new things.


Number Two

This being my third trip to El Salvador, i'm always cautious of where and when I am going to use the bathroom, usually I just hold it until the hotel. I honestly don't think I have gone number two outside of the "comfort" of my hotel room... until this week.

Baño experience numero uno 
So picture this, we're sitting in Pollo Campero, the whole team, us Canadians, translators, and drivers.
We are about part way through our meal and it hits me... I gotta go! but I think to my self I'm not at the hotel can I hold it? If I choose to hold it how long will we be here? will I go in my pants?? anyway,  I see Matt move towards the bathroom and I decide "hey he's going i'll go too" so Matt and I have an awkward bathroom head nod (you know the usual thing guys do in the bathroom). Then I take my seat upon the thrown. I hear Matt exit the washroom. A minute or two passes and I come to the conclusion that I am finished in the baño. but to my not so great surprise, there is no toilet paper other than the single shred on the floor. Not having my phone being in El Salvador I was unsure of what to do. So I waited, and waited for  twenty minutes. Watching shoes as they came in hoping for someone to save me from my boredom and discomfort. I even resorted to saying "hola" and waving that single shred of toilet paper under the door to which I just received El Salvadorian giggles. At last as the team is getting into the vans to leave they notice I have yet to return from the baño and  I hear the voice of my father asking if I had fallen in. Of all places to use the baño and Pollo Campero doesn't have toilet paper.

Baño experience numero dos 
I brought my own toilet paper this time! See i'm learning. this bathroom trip consisted of me wanting to hold it but seeing Matt decide to go and then realizing it just be safe because he's going, Ben also tagged along to this trip. When we got to the baño Matt went first and Ben and I noticed we could see his head through the top. I went last and got to enjoy Matts thunderstorm and birdsong to help make the bathroom outdoors as comfortable as possible. My problem with this baño was not the lack of toilet paper but the lacking of a certain commodity we take for granted... a toilet seat. The toilet was just a cement bowl causing the users to squat.

Two Things I Learned:
#1. Always bring toilet paper to the baño. No matter where it is.
#2. Toilet seats are just a suggestion.


Key Giving Ceremony

Today was the key giving ceremony. On Sunday we met 14 families, and today all 14 families recieved the keys to a home that they can now call their own. It was so exciting to see all of them together. I think for most, it was so hard to believe that this was actually happening for them. 

During the ceremony, Pastor Pastor said a few words that really helped me relate to how these families were feeling. He said, "It's a feeling of being overwhelmed because it's always been a thought that it would never happen to you. You feel it and you touch it and you still can't believe that it's true."

They thank God for these houses, but they kept thanking us too. And I kept thinking that it was God who provided the funds for these houses, and it was God who worked through us to build these houses, and He should be be getting ALL the glory. We were just the hands who did the work, and in the end ALL the praise needs to be turned back to Him. 

Thank you for all your prayers from home, they are such an important part of this trip.  We couldn't do this without you.


Compassion Day

Yesterday was the first time we have ever spend the whole day at the hotel. It was a nice break from riding in the truck and long hot days on the work sites. I for one was very grateful. 

We hosted the compassion children here for the day, and it was so amazing to be a part of. I personally didn't have a sponsor child here, so I wasn't really sure how involved I could be. But to my surprise, even those of us without sponsor children seemed to have found our place, making conversation with the kid's parents and grandparents. My dad and I sat at a table with Deve and Amanda and their 3 sponsor children. It was really interesting to meet the grandmother. She was really something. She knew we couldn't speak or understand Spanish, but she just talked and talked and talked some more. Even without any understanding we could tell that she is such a kind hearted, loving, caring person, and she has a solid faith in Jesus Christ. 

My favourite part of the visit though, had to be at the very beginning when the kids were being introduced, and re-introduced to their sponsors. One by one they called their names as their sponsor was walking up the stairs to meet them. Those of us without children got to go up first to take pictures, and in doing that we were able to see every reaction. Big smiles, tears of joy, high fives, and the most heartfelt hugs and embraces. I was in tears. I didn't even have a child there and I was in tears. If seeing these reunions had this much of an effect on me, I can only imagine what the children and sponsors were feeling. 

I decided to sponsor a child that day. Her name is Samary, and she is 4 years old. It is something I have been praying about for some time now. And seeing first hand how each sponsor has impacted their child's life just confirmed it for me. This is something that makes a difference. This is something that I need to be a part of.  



Well it’s 530 in the morning and I am once again sitting at my normal perch watching the daylight break revealing God’s handywork which in this case includes the SAN Vicente Volcano. My mind and heart are full as I ponder the many events of the week and realize today will be the last day to be with these families and many of the Shelter workers.

Every year there is something different and this is no exception. This year I was able to re-experience some of the first time awe through the eyes of Lori and Jason helping to realize how much of an impact we are making. Also with Lori being here I have never felt so Loved and taken care of as she forced me to drink water, brought me cold (wet) towels for around my neck and tried to get me to take some breaks. Several builders noticed the care and immediately asked “your wife?”.
I was also teasing one of the builders here “Levi” about singing while we work (something Tim Allen tried to get started two years ago). And he surprised me by breaking into a verse of “Open the eyes of my Heart” in English, which I then had to join into. I later found out that he plays guitar for his church and they are learning a few Songs in English.

Finally we were able to visit our compassion children yesterday which is an overwhelming experience itself. Being able to see the children grow and be happy in the tough circumstances of there lives is incredible. Knowing that our small contribution helps so much is a great testimony of what God can do through the good people working with compassion.

There is so much more I cannot express but it’s time to get ready to go celebrate with and say goodbye to the 14 families we were able to bless with houses this year.