Friday, December 30, 2011

How about the pennies in your pocket?

When our team met for our final stateside meeting in mid December, I shared with them a little exercise that I thought I would ask you to participate in as well.  Each team member was given a penny and challenged to keep it in their pocket until we returned on January 7th.  As we looked at the pennies I gave to them, I reminded them that they represent all of the children, their peers, who gave pennies to help students they did not even know and we would now have the privilege of meeting on their behalf.  We must always represent our school well on this trip was the call to action. In El Salvador, a penny is worth more than it is here. Money has value, but how much more valuable are the people we will encounter in this country that only two of us have been to. We need to remember when we pull that penny out of our pockets that value is given by God the Creator to each of us. That value can be a concept that is reinforced to people by the way we respect and treat them. We will give value to those we encounter on this trip.

In addition to value and the call, I reminded the team that we were all about the phrase on the coin that is so familiar to us. It's that famous 4 words, 'In God We Trust."  We are trusting Him on this whole journey. We trusted him for the resources to pay for the trip, the faith to believe we are going to be used, the health and strength to go and be His hands and feet. We trust Him for everything we need as we go for His purposes. That was the most important thing to remember:  It's all for Him, every penny! How about the pennies in your pocket? Will you allow them to be a reminder of the team and what we are up to this week? and also of the God who gives you value and the world who needs Him?

El Salvador, here we come

It was a historic moment in chapel at Open Door Christian School when the team stood up in front of the K-4th graders recently and shared in the joy and excitement of their generous gift to our sister school students thousands of miles away. They gave $250 in pennies....wrap your head around that. That's 25,000 of those copper coins! "Pennies from Heaven," is what principal Susan Torode coined them to be. (No pun intended.)And what was purchased with those pennies will be more than lots of supplies including pencils and sharpeners for all 600 students in Luz de Sotomayor in La Libertad. It will be hope, change, love, a new relationship between students who had no idea the other existed.

We partner with all of the students at Open Door, as well as students at Firelands School district who helped pave the way for improvements to the buildings and lives of this very poor school and the students there. We hope to Skype next week on the school grounds in La Libertad to give ODCS a real picture of all that has been done in this school.  We hope more than anything else to give these chidren, some destined for the streets, a new start and motivation to stay in school. We have brought tools, but only God can create the hunger in these students to want to find Him, their answer. Streets or school classroom, our students still need Jesus!

Thank you for your prayers as we board a plane today to start an amazing journey. We hope to update you many times over the next 7 days. The Terrific Ten from Open Door and our translator Jose appreciate your prayers on our behalf. So, whatever the adventure holds, this statement is true:  El Salvador, here we come!