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!!
El Salvador - Nov 2016