Today has held quite a wide range of emotions. From Church, to Cipi, to feeding the homeless, and then Jamie's haircut.. We've laughed harder than we ever have before, but our hearts are also full tonight as we are reflecting on the way we saw the glory of God in the faces of these people today. This morning we started off by going to Church here in San Salvador, worshipping together with other Salvadorians. When we began worship this morning, honestly we were all tired and worn out. Yesterday was extremely long and exhausting, but it was incredible the way we left that Church so energized, recharged, and ready for whatever God had laid ahead of us. As the people of the church were worshipping and singing "I'm trading my sorrows, I'm trading my pain, I'm laying it down, for the joy of the Lord" I was so overwhelmed by the greatness of our God. They were singing in Spanish, and some of us were singing in English, but yet God heard one voice, His children praising Him. As we layed down our exhaustion for the joy of the Lord, He began to fill us up again. During the sermon, we took the kids out and did our Jonah skit for them. After lunch we headed to Cipi to spend the day loving on the kids there in the orphanage. Cipi is a goverment-run orphanage with kids ranging from new born babies to teen moms. I spent time with babies, special needs kids, little boys, teen girls, and teen moms. With this being my third time here I was really hit by the fact that some of these kids were still in the same spot they were when I left. But on the other hand, I was shocked at how many had left and weren't there. I had many questions that have gone unanswered today about children I came to know and love that weren't there and were already forgotten by the workers. When we got to the teen girls area we began painting their nails, playing basketball and soccer, and taking their pictures (they love to pose for the camera). I sat down and several girls sat down next to me and began to pour out their entire life story. All the hurts, the memories they wish they didn't remember, and some shared their favorite parts of their past. There was a little girl who was about 11 years old who came to the orphanage because she was escaping gang members that were trying to kidnap her. There was a 12 year old girl who was placed in the orphanage by the police because of her very abusive dad. I could go on and on with these girl's stories. They have had to be brave and courageous, and on the outside they want people to know they are strong enough to handle it. Many of them shared with many tears though that they are scared, hurting, and broken. They really just want a normal family, and they don't understand why their parents don't love them. Jenny (an incredible translator and friend) and I began sharing with them the story of Esther, and how her life and circumstances were not ideal, but yet God used her life in such a huge way. I wanted so much for them to understand that God was crazy in love with them and He had a beautiful plan for them. That if they would trust Him, He will take care of them and work all things together for good. Just as Esther was used to free her people from bondage, Esther's story was used today in the lives of those girls to free them from the bondage of thinking they are not loved, cared for, and sought after by the King of Kings. It is my prayer that they will come to truly understand the value they have in Christ. After dinner, we wrapped up the night with feeding the homeless. After dinner we got the meals prepared and bagged, loaded up the truck and began passing out food. Towards the end, a father holding his 2 year old baby girl came running after the truck to get food for her. As he approached the truck his pregnant wife climbed out from under the bridge and began running to get food. Before I even got to hand them the bag, the first words out of their mouths were "God bless you". These people bless my heart way more than I can even begin to bless theirs. It is my hope and prayer that our team will be able to be at least half the blessing to them that they are to us.
Tomorrow we will be going to the village to construct a house for a family that is living under a few sheets of metal. Apparently the goal is to have all of the house built tomorrow except for the roof. I guess we'll see how that goes.. For those of you that have been praying, thank you so much! They have definitely been felt by the entire team :)
Sorry it was short and lacking a whole bunch of detail, but its late and I've got to head to bed. Adios!