by Shelana Poindexter
I can’t believe that we have already been here 4 days! They have flown by. Today was our second day in el comunidad El Tanque. I was completely blown away by the people and their reaction to us painting their houses. The pride that they took in a gesture so small, they provided us food, drink, even small gifts to say thank you. Even the kids in the neighborhood wanted to contribute to the work -- asking if they could help us paint. We continued to paint the houses in El Tanque today and we were greeted with the same smiling faces and people of the neighborhood sweeping down their walls and “tidying” up their homes.
I remember back in the late spring when Brett told me about the opportunity to come on this trip -- I told him that I was coming, no question. He smiled and said, "Yeah... Ok." But there was something about this trip that pulled me in. Not sure what God has in store -- but I know that He has a purpose for everything. The sermon that we heard here on Sunday referred to 2 Kings 5. We learned about the “roles” that we play throughout our lives. We will forever play one role, and that is being a Child of God. No matter the role, whether servant, friend, prophet, witness…we all have different roles to play. My reflection is what role am I playing while I am here in El Salvador? From what I've experienced on this trip so far, I do know that many times, our role is simply bless those who are in difficult circumstances with a heartfelt smile.
by Rodney Zehner
After flying into El Salvador on Saturday, it seemed like we'd never left from last year's trip, but rather just woke up from a long siesta. All the memories from the previous two years were coming back into focus as we headed right back to exactly where we left off last year in Nejapa - a small town about 45 minutes from San Salvador (the capital of El Salvador) called Nejapa. We had the opportunity to visit with Rina and the Medina’s who are the family who so graciously brought her into their home last year. When they were asked if they would consider taking care of her last year, their response without any hesitation was, ”Why wouldn’t we?” Last year’s trip was rooted in the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. I was focusing on the fruit of “kindness” and I have not forgotten how kind of a response that was from the Medina’s considering they had never met or knew nothing about the Rina…I still stand in awe of that generosity and how God worked through us to provide Rina with a healthy, happy and loving family…definitely fruits of our labor!
Here’s another thing… I don’t believe in coincidences. I had sent an email the morning we left to the people who helped support our team both financially and in prayer. I shared in the email how, that morning, God had impressed upon me the verse in 1 Kings 19:11-12 which speaks about how the Lord is heard in the “gentle whisper”. Saturday night in Nejapa our team attended a youth worship night in a local church that has just started to recover from some unfortunate circumstances. To see the younger girls and boys at the center smiling and laughing as everyone was dancing around with glow necklaces and bracelets listening to the live music was such a rewarding experience to see the church alive and moving again in the right direction. What was even more encouraging to me was when one of the younger guys grabbed my hand and brought me to the front of the stage to celebrate our Lord by dancing like no one was watching. And here’s the kicker, while I’m certainly not fluent in Spanish and able to understand the majority of words being sung as we danced, what I could understand was the “gentle whisper” as we gave Him praise and worship that resonated with my soul and brought me to tears.
The next morning we attended a local English speaking church that really set the tone for our trip here. The message we collectively heard about listening and obeying God and knowing when we are called to play different roles during various stages of our lives. Our Creator has us exactly were He needs each of us to be, including you right now, at any particular moment in time and this time is definitely no different. Each of us is playing a role down here which has been prepared for us in advance and I believe mine is to simply bring a joyful smile to those we come in contact with and let Him do the work…with a little help from chocolate candy for the kiddos ;) I am so thankful and humbled to be serving the people of El Salvador over the Thanksgiving holiday once again!!
by Brett Gorney
Back in March 2014, one verse in the Bible jumped off the pages and became fully alive in my life. It is nothing short of amazing that these words… nearly 2000 years old, inspired by God, penned by the Apostle Paul… that they would become the catalyst to a series of promptings, divine appointments, prayers and events that have led me to this moment in time… writing this journal entry at 35,000 feet, somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico, en route to El Salvador, with a group of seven friends. The verse to which I’m referring is…
“…for anything that becomes visible is Light
therefore it says,
Awake, O’ sleeper,
and Arise from the dead,
and Christ will Shine upon you.”
… and it became the inspiration and foundation for this humble little organization that God birthed through me and named…
You can read the full story behind it all on our website here. But in a nutshell, Mission 5IVE.14 was created to encourage people to AWAKE. ARISE. and SHINE a Light in the World. I believe that when we press in and intentionally discover and learn to grow into the person God really created us to be, we can leverage our unique gifts and talents to love and serve others really, really well… in the ways which God actually designed each of us to do!
I’m sharing all of this with you is because I believe its important to know the “WHY” behind these impact trips to El Salvador and Love & Hope Children’s Home. And btw, I’ll admit that I borrowed the term, ‘impact trip’ from another organization. I like it. It makes more sense than “mission trip.” And this now being my 5th trip down here, I’m beginning to see the fruit, or the impact, of our commitment to continually return to serve at Love & Hope. It’s been my prayer and desire that we’d be able to build lasting relationships with the kids and hopefully make a lasting impact in their lives… and of course not to mention the lasting impact that God makes in the lives of those who join me on these trips.
So this trip is really exciting for me on a new level because those prayers are starting to be answered as we’ve earned the right to invite the older kids into a small group, conversational, environment. The topic of conversation is: “AWAKE - Discovering who God created you to be.” Me and the team cannot wait for these conversations to happen!
The theme for this trip's journal entries by each contributor is going to based around how each of us has discovered (or is in the process of discovering) the unique gifts and talents that God has given us and how we've intentionally sought to use those gifts to love and serve others. My encouragement (which is actually one of my gifts) to you is that these stories we share will be a blessing in your life and might ignite a desire to start asking yourself, "Who was I really created to be and how can I use my unique gifts and talents to love and serve others well? Who knows...you may just step onto a path that helps you 'Shine a Light in the World' brighter than you ever have before!
p.s. - Two Things!
1. To learn more about what we're doing on this current impact trip click here.
2. If you'd like to take step toward being more AWAKE. in your own life and "Discovering who God created you to be", there's some resources to get you started on the Mission 5IVE.14 website,
El Salvador - Nov 2016