Today is our last full day here and it has been an amazing week of Thanksgiving in the lovely nation of El Salvador. We were blessed with another gorgeous day and got to spend it at the beach with all the kids playing in the surf and having some dizzy lizzy races for some prizes. We also got to take this awesome group photo with everybody!
Shortly before they were about to head out, we had the opportunity to bless Rachel, and Love & Hope, by presenting them with donation check of $8000!! It was so cool to see the expression of surprise and excitement on her face! Our budget had them expectant of around $2,000 but due to the generosity of so many people, God blessed them in true Ephesians 3:20 style with...Immeasurably More than we could ever imagine!
It was then time to say our good-byes to all of the kids. This was by far the hardest thing that I had to do the entire week. The relationships we built with them will last forever and we’ll definitely continue to pray for them every day.
Once the kids were gone, our team headed down to the beach for one last amazing sunset. It was great to take in the magical sunset and decompress all that God had done in us and through us this week.
When you go on mission trips to places in need, you experience a much needed perspective change. God gives us a new way to experience the world and we begin to see it through a different set of lenses. In a world full of hardships, sadness, disappointments, poverty, and brokenness, we need the life changing lenses God has to offer. We often have the mindset that we are going to “help” other people in the world, when in reality our work really ends up “helping” us. There is a lesson to be learned from the simplicity of the lives that they live and the strength of their relationships. The people we met were very relational, caring, grateful, family centered, and live a “What can I do for you?” lifestyle. In contrast, we live in a prideful, ego driven, self-centered, and a “What can you do for me” type of culture. The people of El Salvador may not have much from a material perspective by USA standards, but there is a joy inside of them that is unlike anything I have ever seen. There is a definitely a lesson to be learned from that as well.
Our lives will never be the same and we are so grateful for the opportunity to serve in El Salvador. We are so lucky to have a God that invites us in to play a part in His eternal story. One of the great lessons we learned can be found in 2 Corinthians 4:18, which reads, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but, what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” I am so glad that God impressed this important thought on our hearts before we were even there. It would be easy to focus on the physical work that we did on this trip to determine the amount of impact that we had. The problem, however, is that when we focus on the things that are “seen” (or temporary) we miss experiencing God’s eternal work in the “unseen.” Nothing will ever take away the eternal impact our team has made from the relationships we built. Even the simple smiles that were exchanged with everyone we came in contact will go so much further in light of eternity than any physical work that could have been done while we were there. I have heard the saying “A picture is worth a 1000 words,” but I after this trip I am confident that a smile is worth a million words.
Until next time El Salvador!
El Salvador - Nov 2016