Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cosas increibles estan pasando aca!!

Skyping from the church with school friends
Miss Jones with Maria, who made the bracelet.

Wow (or Puya as my new friend Giovanni would say)! It's hard to put into words sometimes the things that you get to experience when you are working as the hands and feet of Christ. I have to admit that I feel so blessed because I get to see this trip through a unique lense: I actually understand everything that is happening :) There are so many different ways that I could approach this blog, but this one idea keeps coming to my mind, so I'm just going to share that. I have been studying spanish for over 15 years, and do you know what I realized on our first day in El Salvador? This is why. These people, this city, this church and this school have found a place in my heart that I didn't even know existed. Over the past 5 days, I have had some of the most fascinating conversations with these people. We have bonded over silliness and also over the most serious of situations. I have met people in the church who have personally shared their testimonies with me- and although the kids have heard some if it through a translator, you cannot translate certain things, and it is in those moments that I realize how important my knowledge of spanish truly is. After the first full day that we spent in La Libertad, Andrea and I were reviewing the day, and she confirmed what I already knew myself- I have absolutely, completely fallen in love with these people. Life is so different here. It is simple, and yet beautiful and not lacking in anything. It makes you realize how much we have, and even more so, how much of that we don't actually need. When I was preparing for this trip, I couldn't understand why I wasn't nervous. I didn't feel anxious or worried or anything. When we landed in San Salvador, I had the strangest feeling that I belonged here. I cannot explain it, and I'm not sure I will ever understand the incredible peace that God has given me. This is not a one time trip, it is now a personal passion. When we got to sit down with the school children today after playing with them, working with them and getting to know them for 2 full days, I was taken aback by the response we were given. I was translating for Anna as she gave her testimony, and one young lady Maria wanted to ask a question, but couldn't get up the nerve. When we finished sharing the wonderful news of the gospel, Anna and I pulled her aside. We heard a story of absolute heart wrenching sadness. A child unwanted, literally thrown in the trash by her own mother, unaware of who her father even is. Can you feel it? Can you empathize with a child like this? The stories are similar and yet different. Monica's parents left her and her sister when she was 3 and her sister was 1. They moved to the U.S. to be able to work and make a better life for everyone. She lives with her grandmother, and while she has two younger siblings that live in the U.S. with her parents, she is HAPPY!!! She feels blessed because her parents are able to provide for her! Would you? Would you look at a situation like this, and feel like God was on your side? These children have more things in there lives that bring me to tears than I could ever imagine, but they see God in everything. Even if they don't necessarily believe completely, they recognize God and his power and his faithfulness. When Maria, the child that was thrown in the trash by her mother, finished with her story, do you know what she said to Anna? She did not ask for pity, she did not expect our sympathy, she turned to Anna and encouraged her to never turn her back on God no matter what! Are you feeling what I'm feeling yet? I don't know if that's possible, but I hope that I have conveyed a little bit of it in this blog. God has been teaching me so much personally- challenging me and forcing me out of my comfort zone. I know spanish, but I never thought I'd give a speech to a group of El Salvadorian highschoolers all on my own. I didn't think I could translate, but God has given me strength and persistence and clarity of mind that I never expected. He is faithful. He is wonderful. And above all, he is working and doing amazing things down here- not only for the El Salvadorian people, but for all of us. I can't wait to share even more amazing stories when we return, although I know it will be hard to leave :( Que Dios os bendiga!
-Leanne Jones

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