Today was awesome! I cannot thank the Lord enough for the love and strength he has given this team in San Salvador. We started our day with a time of devotion about the second fruit of the spirit: JOY. The Lord’s joy can manifest itself in many ways but in this particular case I focused on the joy of God’s presence. God is in our hearts at all times. Psalm 16:11 says “You fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” We talked about how we have to find the joy in all situations God puts in front of us. Each one of us has had a particular time in our lives recently where we have felt beaten. We have had times in our lives where we have been challenged. We talked about looking back over Psalm 16:11 and reminding ourselves that God has put that challenge in front of us and we must find the joy in it.
I also pointed out Matthew 28:8 and Luke 24:41 “The woman who went to Jesus’ tomb and the disciples were overjoyed that he rose from the dead.” We discussed how the words “death” and “die” are associated with negative connotations. However, that’s not what God intended for us. Here we have the death of our savior, our Lord Jesus but his disciples were overjoyed! By giving our life to Christ we have let our old life die and are reborn with the joy and love of God inside us!
Next we went to La Union Church for Sunday service lead by Pastor Gary Powell. What a great service. I was so moved when he spoke about being merciful. That God makes it our duty to glorify him by being merciful to our enemies. Too many of us, feeling that mercy involves some way of feeling sorry for someone but Gary pointed out that real mercy involves forgiving our enemies and helping them…very powerful and emotional stuff to think and pray about. I found myself holding back tears as Gary told the story of he was able to show mercy to a man who hit had his daughter with his car. She was crossing the street and was hit, dragged, and put in the hospital with a severe head injury. When the police brought the man to Gary, instead of condemning him and charging him for negligence, he forgave him! Wow! He helped this man and prayed with him instead of putting him in jail. What an unbelievable act of mercy by someone with the spirit of God in his heart.
Next we went to Multi-Plex, a large shopping mall in San Salvador which was very American. We had lunch in the food court as a team and then headed on our own to experience the mall for ourselves. Not much different from any other mall trip but a good time nonetheless. We also stopped by the local artists market for some trinket and gift shopping. We finished up the day with a taco dinner at Love & Hope with the kids. The kids wanted to see me eat one of their hot peppers from the garden, I’ve developed somewhat of a reputation as the guy who can eat very hot peppers, so they brought one to my table. It was funny to see them all huddled around me watching so I ate it and watched the excitement leave their faces when it wasn’t hot enough for me.
We ended the night back at the house and sang along to Marty rockin’ the guitar. What a truly amazing experience this has been. Each one of us has something unique to share and each one of us has an experience they felt and I just thank God that he has put me here to hear it. I’m so humbled His presence is with us and I just look forward to Him continuing to speak to me and fill my heart with love and challenges.
In His Joy!
El Salvador - Nov 2016