The journey has begun! Our team of 10 is safely in El Salvador and we’re already building relationships with the local people, learning more about one another and understanding how we can serve them while we’re here. After a smooth flight from Atlanta, Rachel and Mandy from the Love & Hope (L&H) leadership team picked us up at the airport. Some of the children were there to greet us as well, Irene, Cheyo and Jeremiah! Never afraid to dig right in to a new language, I busted out my Spanish phrases cheat sheet and started asking the children questions. I got more laughs from them than answers, but I'm glad I made the effort and several people on our team are helping me get the accent down! :)
We had a late lunch at our guesthouse and then the L&H team covered our itinerary for the week. While I enjoyed hearing more details about our plans, the best part was learning the background of the family we are building the house for in Usulutan. We all prayed for Kevin, Lilly and Freddie, and it was at that moment that God reminded me that when I take the focus off myself and listen to someone else’s story, a deeper understanding of my purpose is revealed. I’m excited to listen to many other stories of people we encounter so I can quickly subdue any selfishness and serve others first with a pure motive.
Our night was capped off with a great meal with the children of L&H. We had a traditional El Salvadoran dish called papusas, which are a thick corn or rice flour tortilla filled with your choice of pork, beans, cheese, squash & garlic. Very delicious! To work off the meal, we headed back to the L&H home to play soccer and other games with the kids and to learn more about them. There is already a special bond forming, and it’s always fun for me to realize that no matter where someone lives, what language they speak or who they are, every person just wants to be loved. What a privilege it is to share our Lord’s love with these children during this trip.
- Brandon Beeken
Well...we're almost there! What started as a nudge from God to continue building a relationship with Love & Hope Children's Home and has brought us to this point.
After visiting Love & Hope in December of 2013, I really felt God calling me to pour into this organization however I could. And then exactly 6 months ago to this day, Rachel Sanson, Love & Hope's founder, reached out to me and asked if I'd be willing to raise the funding needed to build a new home for one of their kids and his family. The plan would be to come down to El Salvador in November with a team to help the construction workers with building this new house for a several days as well as spend time with the kids doing some community service projects and simply sharing life with them. The challenge was accepted without hesitation.
I jumped all over the opportunity without a clue how it would all come together but simply trusting in God that He would work out all the details, fundraising, supplies, and who be on our team. Through months of planning and preparation, our team has been preparing our hearts and heads to ready ourselves for this trip. Prayers have been lifted up over the past 4 weeks for each of Love & Hopes 23 Children and their staff, as well as for each of our team members serving on this trip. The peace that God has given me in all of this has truly surpassed all understanding.
I can't tell you how humbling it feels to see all of this come together! God sends spirit-filled chills throughout my entire body whenever I sit back and think of the magnitude of what He's orchestrated in order for all of this to happen. I'm learning that when you move, He moves even greater! His blessings are far more abundant that we can ever imagine. I'm learning to just simply bring what little you have to Jesus and watch Him do immeasurably more with it. It makes me think about the little boy with the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish who was "uncounted" on the hill by the sea that day. Jesus took what little bit of food the boy had to offer, gave thanks, and blessed thousands of people with a satisfying meal. There was twelve baskets of leftovers that were gathered up so that no good gift from the Lord would go to waste. Wow! And to think that He can't or won't move in the lives of anyone who comes to Him as a humble servant? I'm blown away and can't wait to see how He'll continue to show up on this trip, in the lives of our team heading down to serve, and in the lives of the children and staff at Love & Hope Children's Home.
Full of His Love & Grace,
El Salvador - Nov 2016