I'm not sure really where to start with the numerous ways that God showed up in our day today? We believe that He is in ALL THINGS...and today, me and my team got to experience just how real that truth can be when you lean into Him and into the callings He puts on our lives.
After breakfast this morning, our team loaded into the van to make our way to the town of Nejapa which is where we're working on our construction project this trip. Nejapa is a small town located just a bit north of San Salvador and it is where Rachel first planted Love & Hope Children's Home in 2003 and it remained there until 2010. It's also where Bobby & Britney Hibbs and the Medina family live. The Hibbs' pastor a small church gathering in their home and also lead the Love & Hope Youth Ministry. They've been helping provide care for Rina for several years and are the catalyst to getting her into the care of the Medina family. The Medina's have the home that is receiving the additional room that is being built. Through the generosity of over 150 people, our team was able to raise the funds to hire a local contractor and his team to build this addition as well as support Rina. Our team gets to serve alongside of them for several days and help expedite the building process. Rina gets the privilege of living in safe, family environment where she'll receive the much needed care and, most importantly, the love that we all believe will help her flourish.
The Fruit of the Spirit that I had drawn back in August as we began planning this trip was "PEACE". I love this gift that we get to receive from God! It's one of those things in life that so many of us desire, but yet why is it that so many of us make daily decisions that can rob us of that peace we want so bad? This all hits home for me as I have had several personal experiences happen in my life since I decided to follow Jesus that should have robbed me of my peace. But it never happened because in the midst the stormy seas that arose, I knew that my anchor was secure in Christ. Had it not been secure or not strong enough, I could have drifted into un-peaceful times in my life. Yet more recently I did experience a drift and it definitely disrupted my own personal peace. But as soon as I grabbed ahold of the rope to begin the process of reinforcing and resetting my anchor, I began making the better decisions I needed to make to get back closer to God and into that place of peace that surpasses all understanding.
Today, as we arrived at the Medina's house, I got to meet Rina for the first time. She's 20 years old and weighs only 37 pounds. Severely disabled, non-verbal and it's been in question on whether or not she's aware of what is going on around her. It's heartbreaking to see with your own eyes and even more when I know the backstory of the neglect over the years. Living in our country where we have access to the best doctors and hospitals specifically designed to care for young children who are born with developmental deficiencies, we can tend to take it all for granted. Being a person who hasn't had to deal much with anything like this in my own life, I take it for granted even more. But truth be told, it's sad to hear that El Salvador doesn't have much to offer children who are born this way and many end up suffering the same plight of Rina unless they are born into a wealthy family.
As the day progressed our team jumped into working with the contractors. Some of us mixed and poured concrete, some laid cinder block, a few knocked down an old wall and, chopped down a tree that needed to be removed and started digging a trench for more foundation. A few of the girls went to the Hibbs' home to paint a few rooms. All in all it was hot and sweaty and dirty work day. But the most memorable experience that I took in from the day was the overwhelming sense of Love, Joy and Peace that filled the entire place. Funny how those are the first three Fruits of the Spirit. Coincidence? I think not as I have two words for you..."ALL THINGS!"
You see, we're here in El Salvador on a mission trip to serve this young woman in need and to help the people who have been called to help provide a better life for her. It's not about us, its about what God is able to do through us all. It's His kingdom, we're His sons and daughters and when He wants to show off and get His Glory, God does just that. Today we got to see a glimpse of that Glory as Rina got to lay in her new bed for the first time and feel the touch of the loving, caring hands on her hands. We saw His Glory in her as she smiled and waved her arms around at the sounds of the music we were playing...something that Rachel said she'd never seen before. And then we got to see and feel God's Glory in our own hearts and souls as Rina was placed in the new wheelchair that our team brought down for her...the smiles and non-verbal sounds that she shared with everybody in the room was, no doubt, a sign that she was aware of what was going on around her. God's spirit filled that entire home today, and He filled every person's heart with His Love, His Joy and His Peace...even Rina's. He most definitely is in All Things and we can't wait to get back there tomorrow to experience more of Him.
Peace Be with You!
El Salvador - Nov 2016