Day 4 in El Salvador found us waking up to the cool air of mountain life, in the little city of Berlin. This place is beyond beautiful. To say that it perfectly demonstrates God’s Glory is an absolute understatement. There is such splendor in the way of vegetation, fresh air, and natural beauty all around us. Nearly the entire mountainside has some sort of crop growing – coffee, bananas, corn – and the slope on which these items are planted is dizzying. I can’t imagine how these “farms” are tended to – yet you know they are managed just the same. Our hostel, as maybe could be expected, is filled with a variety of artifacts & antiques…as well as plants, flowers, and even a lime tree. We certainly don’t want for much here. The surrounding area, though, is a site to behold. Mixed in with the natural beauty – there is extreme poverty - not everyone – but it’s hard not to notice the living conditions that are a normal part of life for so many – and I just wonder what becomes waste, from excess, in my own life.
Our day began with breakfast here at the hostel, before heading out to the build site. Having a driver to taxi us around gives us a chance to take in all of the landscape; so as we worked our way down, around, and back up the mountain, the video and still cameras were firing away. It’s kind of crazy how different the pace of life flows out here. We encountered lots of people walking, chickens, cows, and horses…to go along with the CRAZY number of wild dogs that abound in this area. The terrain varies from paved, to barely traversable. The air is some of the freshest I’ve ever breathed in my life…when it isn’t mixed with smoke from someone’s fire…which we seem to encounter somewhat frequently. There were one or two times we had to get out of the van in order to keep moving…and those were some of the best parts of our morning journey, as we got to hike up the road and see the terrain up close. As someone who admittedly LOVES coffee, I had never seen a coffee plant up close… so that, in particular, was a treat for me.
Upon getting to the work site, we met up with our contractor for the build – Nelson – and his two helpers – Christian & Juan Alberto. We didn’t take long to drop our belongings, and dive right into working. They had already built a retaining wall, and started the first few rows of cinder block. We started with digging holes, mixing concrete/mortar, and helping to move materials around. As can be expected, the work itself tended to take a back seat to connecting and building relationships. Aside from connecting with Nelson, Christian, and Juan Alberto, we had opportunity to meet the neighbors who live immediately adjacent to the home we’re building… and then, we finally got to meet the actual people for whom this project was created– Kevin and his sister, Lilly. They looked to be beside themselves. Kevin’s smile out shined the sun.
Seeing their joy brought me joy – and I had a thought: This. Doesn’t. Just. Happen.
What does it take for 10 people from major American, metropolitan cities, to raise money for the purpose of traveling to a Central American country they haven’t seen– to build a house for a family they don’t know?
It takes Jesus.
He has changed the life of each person on this trip…and He has called us to something greater than ourselves. We are exceptionally grateful to be a part of this trip. As for myself, even though I’m missing a wedding, Thanksgiving with Family, and the birthday of one very special girl – His calling has been most fulfilling. I pray it’s something that I’m allowed to continue to do – to serve Our Father in the way that He sees fit, according to His Will.
Your support to this point – however it manifested itself - is priceless. We start another day tomorrow, God willing, submitted to, and aligned with His Plan. Please continue to keep us in your prayers… they’re working!
Love & Blessings y’all,
El Salvador - Nov 2016