"Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone."
That's a great 'sticky statement' don't you think? Andy Stanley shared that a few years ago and its definitely stuck with me. With that message he continued, "Because if we all did for one what we wish we could do for everyone, it might change the world. But certainly, it would change one person’s world. It may even change your world."
I was reminded of this powerful statement as we descended into San Salvador on Monday night. This is my fourth trip to El Salvador now but the first time I've arrived at night. As usual, the flight path takes you right along the southern edge of San Salvador and you get this great view of the whole city and its volcanic guardian...El Boqueron. What my eyes saw was a city of lights just like any other city, but the reality is, as I'm sure many of you have heard, is that El Salvador was recently dubbed the new "Murder Capital of the World" - great moniker eh? The massive gang populations account for the majority of the murders, but the brokenness of the country and the myriad of neglected kids and teens is what usually keeps the gang families growing as they offer exactly that...a family...if that's what you want to call it.
As I scanned the night sky, the city lights and thought about what goes on in this city on a daily basis, I reflected back to my first trip here in December 2013. It's a longer story of how I even ended up at Love & Hope Children's Home, but I can tell you that there was definitely some divine intervention involved because I was originally supposed to spend time with another children's home. I remember the last day of that visit. As I was saying goodbye to Rachel and all the kids, I got that little tug on my heartstrings that told me I needed to continue to build my relationship with them and that God would lead the way with opportunities to continue to love and serve the kids and staff down here.
Love & Hope was founded to care for orphaned, abused, abandoned and neglected children and give them shelter, safety and support in a family setting. Through Rachel, the staff and volunteers, they provide solid examples of Godly living for the children so they can grow to have happy and healthy relationships with existing family members and others. Having witnessed and experiencing this first hand, I felt that desire inside that I wanted and needed to "Do For One..." with this new found family.
Fast forward 2 years and 3 months and here I am again...with my friend Melissa whose been on both of our previous two team trips...and I'm still in awe of what God can inspire in us and what He can do through us. My hopes and prayers for these kids is that God would use our acts of love and service to help "Shine a Light" in their lives and to add inspiration to their dreams and hopes for a better future than what is typical for countless other kids in this country. We may not be changing the world or the city of San Salvador...but we might just be changing one kid's world. For that its all worth it.
Thank you again to all of you who continue to support our mission to love & serve down here. Whether with financial, material or prayerful support...I'm always humbled by the generosity that is extended. Muchas Gracias.
In His Love & Grace,
El Salvador - Nov 2016