Sunday, December 2, 2018

Wrapping Up Another Season

After almost 10 months of preparation our team has returned back to Sarnia. We are tired but thankful. We're also a little bit nervous and excited about how the Lord will use all that we've seen and heard over the last 9 days, in our lives. We've been challenged to say "yes" to God, a little at a time.

Our team will take some time to process what we're learning. However, we do have some initial thoughts that we'd love to share with you. Here's a list of our names and a one word capsule that you can ask us to elaborate upon:

Jason - humbling 
Julia - Community 
Brittany - Compassion 
Jim - turbidity 
Shailah- eye-opening
Taijah- Powerful
Karen - contentment 
Pat - Community
Kayli - impactful 
Erin - Family
Leisha- 2,700
Tyson- Donald
Quinn - patience 
Matt - premier
Ben - si
Lori - hot
Deve - relentless

Thank you to those of you who have prayed for us - please continue to do so, financially supported us, and who have followed our adventures (or misadventures) through this blog ( a special shoutout to those who have taken the time to post comments - they mean so much to us as we go through the week!). 

Be sure to check the blog again in a few days as we update the current stories with pictures and write some stories about the families who received homes. 

To those who think they would like to join one of our teams - talk to one of us about it, and begin to prepare yourself now, our next team recruiting will be starting in just a three months time. 


Each night after we get back from supper, we have a team “circle time” in an upper room. Last night Deve’s announcement that we could all sleep in tomorrow (which is today, as I write this) was met with a cheer from the group. Yep - breakfast would be moved forward to a nice lazy 8AM!  Since we would all be packed to hit the road already, we could sleep past 7 no doubt, and still arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed for the breakfast table.  Back at my room after last night’s meeting, “Hey”, I thought to myself, I could stay up late using the amazing πŸ˜‰ WiFi and read the blog and download some podcasts and stuff.  Unable to do so, i have up and turned in early - around 11:15 or so.  I could still get over 7hrs of sleep and be up to use some of the amazing πŸ˜‰ WiFi before everyone else is out of bed (except Pat, of course).  Why not, right? Well, there was at least one critical oversight in that idea, however: El Salvador πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡».... Did you ever get mud (a lot of wet sticky mud) stuck in your hiking shoes or heavy work boots πŸ₯Ύ and then take them off and leave the mud to deal with later, after it all dries up?  Well...I can’t be sure, but I imagine that someone nearby (a nice old man with a leathery face and a sweet, wise, toothless smile) must have heard their rooster πŸ“ crowing as usual at 4:40 AM and remembered that they have many  such boots with dried mud (left over from rainy season) which they have collected but never dealt with - and now would be the perfect day and time to finally stop kicking  that can down the road.  Beginning at about 4:45 AM, and about every 15 minutes (give or take)to about 6:15 AM, this person, I imagine, got a pair of big old mud-crusted boots from his house, walked over to our hotel on the other side of the street, and started banging the soles of a those boots as hard and loud as he could on our hotel wall - the one closest to my room - until the boots looked reasonably good. Then he walked back to the house, smiling at the accomplishment, perhaps had a sip of coffee, dusted them off with a cloth, and grab another pair of boots - and repeated. Good for him to finally get that big job out of the way! :)


Changing their life has Changed mine

Psalm 61:4 ~ “I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”

‭‭God placed this verse on my heart when I opened my bible Monday am. Not knowing what to except as the early morning of new things was approaching I was so thankful for our safe arrival to El Salvador πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡», meeting the families we were building for, the long but beautiful three hour church service just the day before and the fact I did not eat those chicken sandwiches as some were already suffering from. God was already showing himself in the details of our experience. This trip I knew was going to be extra special to me because I was experiencing it with my oldest child. I was faithful that God would not only protect, walk with me and write my story for the week but knew he was doing that for Kayli also. 

So after our first bumpy ride back to those communities were we had met the 14 families we were building for it was time, time to bless them with their new homes, so I thought. But the reality was that we were blessed so much greater then I could imagine. We were blessed by their hard work along side of us, to watch their community come together and blessed to see how faithful they were in fact God was their provider. I watched Kayli jump out of her comfort zone and grab tools, put together walls, cut metal and bless the children with her smile and love. I wore my sunglasses most of the week to hide my tears from her because I couldn’t have been more proud! Now as I sit digesting the week and anticipating hugging my other two children I am more thankful then I have ever been.
I am thankful for another experience in El Salvador πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡» this time with Shelter knowing God is working out all the details for the future here. I am thankful to the Shelter team, the drivers who safely drove us through roads and traffic I will never drive, the builders for their patience and teachings, the translators who make it possible for us to communicate and especially the leadership team who with Gods help iron out all the details. This experience will forever change who I am and my walk with God. I kept thinking of this t-shirt a Compassion team member had on during my last trip here “Changing their life has changed mine”.

Erin Norcross