Hello Everyone! My name is Zoe! I was featured on Sunday’s post, so you know that I am a student on this trip. Just so you can get to know me, I am a recent graduate of Dundee Crown High School. Next year I will be attending Biola University in California. I have been going to Willow Creek my whole life, and this is my second time to El Salvador with Student Impact. I’ve prepared a post for all of you to be able to experience day four with us.
“God is always for us, He knows it’s going to be hard, but that’s why He gave us the Holy Spirit, and why He gave us each other.” – Spencer Mann
This quote from Spencer’s devotional experience this morning is a perfect reflection of my day. It’s day 4 and work day 2. The work was the same as Joy explained yesterday. Although today we got half of the walls covered with cement.
Working today seemed harder than yesterday with sore muscles and numerous aches. Our team powered through with the encouragement of others and constant care for our team. We also got to have lunch at someone’s house! They graciously opened their homes to all 19 of us and the other workers. The ladies at the home were very sweet and we got the opportunity to take our pictures with them! As Joy said yesterday, “these people don’t have much, but what they do have they love to give. Food and their time.”
Today I was in the group that got to experience house visits of four families that we spent time with – each story broke my heart.
Blanca is a single mom who lives with her mother, two brothers and her four-year old daughter. She herself is 22 years old. Blanca makes a living by tailoring clothes in San Salvador. The house they lived in was a small hut made from tin on the top of a rather steep hill. The house is owned by Blanca’s cousins, but her family lives there for the time being.
She didn’t have any specific prayer requests, and we all prayed over her thanking God for the blessings she has, and hoping that He provides in incredible ways. Pastor Carlos wanted to invite her to church if she didn’t already attend one, but she attends another church in the area.
We all gathered outside another small hut about two minutes from Blanca’s house. On the patio, covered with a thin tarp, sat a 41-year-old mother of 3 children. Her name was Mercedes, and I didn’t happen to catch the name of her children. Mercedes makes sports uniforms in San Salvador. She’s gone most of the day at work, so her children are put in the care of the children’s ministry, and when she returns, the children attend school in the evening.
I didn’t understand why she had such a low spirit when we arrived, but then she shared with us that her husband went missing 12 days ago and they haven’t heard anything since. A lot of the details got lost in translation, so I am still unsure if he is in danger or if he left his family. Regardless, the family is deeply hurting, which became evident as Mercedes began to cry and the children left the room when she began to share this detail.
We prayed over the family, wishing for a safe return of their father and that God would keep them safe, healthy and protected. She attends the same church Blanca does, and Pastor Carlos assured her the church would take care of her.
We all crowded into a dark room, and I wasn’t really sure what was going on. To the left I saw a stove and leftover spaghetti – to the right a broken window and a picture of saint Mary. Then I saw a young man laying in bed, and we then understood that he was why we were visiting this home.
Juan went to work on Friday, where he then was shot four times in the legs. He had surgery in both legs and it was originally believed that he was going to lose both legs. The 22-year-old, father of two boys, knew that if he lost his legs his life would basically be over and Juan thought it would be better to be dead. In the midst of all this, the swelling went down on his legs and he got to keep them!
The look on this gentleman’s face was apathetic and I could tell he didn’t care if he lived or died. Pastor Carlos told Juan that he wasn’t supposed to make it and he almost lost his life without having Jesus and today was his day for a second chance. Pastor then looked at our team and asked Mario for a volunteer to pray before they went through the ceremonial process of accepting Christ. Mario made intense eye contact with me when I looked up from my journal, and that’s when I knew I was going to be the one to talk. I prayed over Juan, thanking The Lord for his story, life and family.
Margarita then prayed over him and I watched the Holy Spirit take over his life while I had my hand on his knee. When we left that place, he was smiling and although it gave him great pain he reached out and thanked us for coming. Pastor Carlos blessed him and told him to ask the church for anything he may need, and they would take good care of him.
We rallied together before we went to the fourth house. The family we were about to visit was a set of parents and their 12 children. Margarita told us about how the family had to move from a previous home because the kids were getting recruited into gangs too often. They then moved into their current residence which they have to pay $75 a month for rent, and they only make $5 a day. That alone is a rough time, but with the amount of kids that they have this situation is especially difficult.
When we arrived at the house, the mother wasn’t there but the father was sitting on the ground when we presented the food to him. His house was the smallest of the four, with walls made up of what used to be a coca cola vending machine. Around us were kids upon kids. The father of this family didn’t share much, he did however ask for prayer for health. He was grateful to receive the food! I could also see the level of exhaustion he had on his face. As we prayed over this man and his family, we asked The Lord to provide in numerous ways, and I prayed a prayer that the family’s financial troubles wouldn’t be too big of an issue for them.
There wasn’t many words I could say to the rest of my team after this experience. Audrey and I agreed that after hearing Juan’s story we realized that our problems are so small. I know that the things I saw today will never be forgotten and I know that God put these stories together in my life for a reason.
We are close to being finished with our contribution to the tilapia farms! It seems that the church and the Enlace staff are surprised by the amount of work we have accomplished! Onward to day 5, work day 3
Adventure is out there!