El Salvador Mission Trip - Day 3
As we travel out of San Salvador to our Compassion center, we take in the sights and sounds of a new country. There's traffic. Can we ever get away from traffic? There's the joy of a wedding party at our hotel held last night. The celebratory hugs and proud tears are universal. As we bounce down the highway, off to our right is something familiar: Mountains... with a slight variance. In Colorado, our mountains are covered in snow. Crags oft hidden under a blanket of white. However, in El Salvador, a swath of green covers the cliffs. A canvas of colored flowers highlight the land's lushness. Brilliant yellows, striking purples, and dark reds remind me that this is country of growth. Everywhere you look life springs forth.
The news cycles would paint a picture of desolation: A country still reeling from a Civil War decades ago. A people held hostage by gang violence. An economy teetering on the brink. However, I disagree because everywhere you look life springs forth.
This morning we walk the streets in our little Ahuachapan village seeing reminders of life around every corner: children run to join us as we walk them to church. Laughter can be heard as simple games are played along the way. And hugs are exchanged with boys and girls who have quickly become our friends. As the morning begins, our children sing songs worshipping Jesus and then split into groups to complete a worksheet or two. After inhaling an ice cream treat, they head home to ready themselves for afternoon church service. Their exit allows us time to fellowship with those who minister to these beloved children daily.
We sit in a circle and are mesmerized by the church's pastor. His heart for the Lord is evident. His love for his ministry is undeniable. His vision for the church is inspiring. After a lunch of carne asada, one of the cooks shares her testimony, and our team member Marti Grant shares hers. Once again I'm amazed to hear of how God works in the hearts and lives of his people from Colorado Springs to El Salvador. And I'm reminded that everywhere you look life springs forth.
The afternoon church service begins with heartfelt worship. Two of our team members Katy & Mason lead worship alongside the church's praise band. As the rest of the team joins them to sing, I look out to see over 300 people lifting their hands and raising their voices to honor our Heavenly Father. There is no American and no El Salvadoran. Only brothers and sisters in Christ.
After the last song is sung, David Coons steps to the podium to preach on Romans 12 in Spanish. The people intently listen as he shares his heart & reflects upon not conforming to the pattern of this world. The service ends with a special treat for our team when the pastor calls our team to the front to wish us safe travels. As he begins to speak, a line of children dressed in pressed white shirts and black pants walk toward us. Something tells me we are about to be the recipients of a blessing. These youngsters proudly gift each of us a hand painted picture made with much love. I know it will hang on my wall for years to come. After a chorus of prayers offered up by the center's staff, we head home amazed by the awesome God we serve & blessed by the little ones He sent us to serve. At that moment, you do not have to look very far to see life springing forth.
Appearances do not always tell the whole story: a country often portrayed as in despair can be filled with hope. A small courtyard looks abandoned until you see the myriad of little footprints in the dust. And our world can seem a little desolate until you see what God is doing in the heart of a child. Everywhere I look in this beautiful country, eternal life springs forth.
"For whoever finds me finds life." Proverbs 8:35