Today was an amazing day! In the morning we headed to Love & Hope to make sandwiches (ham & cheese!) and pack bags of rice & beans which we then took to an impoverished local community (barrio) in San Salvador to hand out. When we got there, we walked throughout the community greeting the people and giving out the rice & beans. They were all really happy and thankful to receive these gifts and had such warm smiles for us. Seeing the way the people in the barrio live in such meager means, my heart goes out to them as I just wish life were easier for them and I realize how blessed I am to have all of the comforts that I so easily take for granted. I saw several pregnant women out in the heat and I know they don’t have air conditioning in their homes and probably can’t afford the best (if any) medical care, but at the same time, they are such a close-knit community and really love and look out for one another. They were very welcoming to us. Many of the kids asked for rice & beans for their friends and neighbors, making sure that everyone was taken care of. After we passed out all of the rice & beans, we invited all of the community kids to join us at a nearby park for some activities. At the park we played soccer with the kids, jumped rope, and made bracelets. We all had a great time and got some exercise chasing the kids around the soccer field. They are so full of life/laughter/mischief and love to have fun. After playing awhile we handed out the juice, snack packs, and sandwiches to our hungry and grateful new friends and said our good-byes, heading next to the local Volcano park. We had lunch up on the mountain overlooking San Salvador. We hiked up from there to viewing points where we could see the crater and the steep canyon that were formed when the volcano last erupted. It was a beautiful view from up along the ridge and when we got to the top we got to see a few (so adorable!) kids dancing and singing a song about the volcano. We were all thankful for the opportunity to take in this breath-taking sight. In the evening we had dinner with the kids back at Love & Hope and then went to the park next door to play soccer. Team “El Salvador” which was mostly the kids beat our (mostly adult) mission team “USA” pretty easily, but we all had a great time and we are looking forward to a rematch!
We closed the night out with a time of devotion about the first fruit of the spirit: Love. We talked about how the Hebrew root of the word “love” means “to give” or “I give” and how when we love others by unselfishly giving of ourselves out of concern for others we exhibit the same mind-set as Christ and fulfill God’s command to love others as he loves us. 1 John 4:16 - And so we know and rely on the Love God has for us. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. John 13:34-35 - A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
I am so happy to be here, with this great team, serving and loving these amazing and humble people. Many strong connections have already been formed among our team and with the kids & staff of Love & Hope. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week has in store as we continue this journey together.
To Him be the Glory.
El Salvador - Nov 2016