El Salvador Beach Project and Service Day at La Casa De Mi Padre

Wednesday - Beach Project

We went to Costa del Sol for our beach project.

This might be the sweetest village people that I have ever met. They reminded us all about the importance of family and friends. Family means something here. We were reminded of that throughout the day as we entertained the children while they waited patiently to see the doctors and dentists. Our team definitely had the sweetest job. We were able to witness the kind acts of the medical team, witness the family love of the community, witness God's amazing faithfulness to a people that have very little material means but Very HUGE hearts for the Lord.
One little boy asked us for another lollipop. We could not understand what he wanted and when we finally did, we gave him one. Nobody asked for seconds of anything for themselves. We gave out animal crackers and goldfish and lollipops while playing games and helping the children with art. Yet, one little boy was insistent on trying to make us understand that he needed one more lollipop. It was the same little boy that showed us God through his enthusiasm and smiles as he played football. His name was Carleta. As he walked away with his second lollipop I watched him. He walked very deliberately to an elder lady that was his grandmother and gave her the lollipop. Family here is everything.
The families of the village waited so patiently to register. While they were in line we handed out animal cookies and every age of every woman and man and child said thank you with a smile and were more grateful for the few cookies (which was lunch to many) than most of us are for an entire meal.
Bubbles, badminton, dodgeball, coloring, magnetic fishing and football were past-times that were rare in the lives of most of the children that came to see us. They were so excited to have someone to play with and even more excited to have their family watch and smile. Family is everything to a community like Costa del Sol. God is evident in their lives even for the ones that are not familiar with God. When we handed out stickers it was as if we were handing out Christmas. The children reminded us all of our many blessings. The children quickly became our favorite blessing from God for all they taught us.
Pedro is the man that allowed the medical team to use to his home. He helps the local boys get out of gangs and teaches them to fish so that they will have a way to make money. Pedro is Jesus in the skin to these young boys and he has opened his home to hundreds. It is always so overwhelming to see God work all around the world in so many different ways.
Thursday - La Casa De Mi Padre's Orphanage Work Project
Today the team cleaned up a room off the toddlers bedroom so that they would have a playroom. Everyone scraped, painted, reorganized, put new furniture together, folded hundreds of little clothes, cleaned toys and bathed the dog! The work itself is not the reason we were there. The work could have honestly been done better by the locals. The work brought us to La Casa and we are thankful for that. We saw how important the work at this orphanage is and how important it is to reflect and pray about the impact that it has had on all of us.
All of the team members have now shared their testimonies. God is so good on these trips to strengthen each other spiritually as we speak into each others lives. Two high school students and three college age students have taught me about coping, trials, passion, love, hope, humility, leadership, family, forgiveness, and teamwork. God brings the people that He calls to go and serve. Not because He needs any of us to paint or blow bubbles or organize toys at an orphanage, but because we need to draw closer to Him.
We are seed planters. Sometimes we travel to see God's purpose for us. Sometimes we travel for others. Sometimes we travel to see a smile on a child as he hands a lollipop to a grandmother. Sometimes we travel to paint so that we can meet a man that teaches us selfless sacrifice to gang members while looking out at God's amazing ocean. Sometimes we travel to get out of our comfort zone and tell our story so that God becomes the focus. Sometimes we travel and never know why God has us do so. But always we travel knowing that God's plans of connecting people are evident.
Today as I saw Abby and Ericka (the reasons that HEAL now partners with La Casa) I couldn't help but smile at how God has used two little girls this side of Heaven. Two little girls that probably would not have chosen the path they have been given. This side of Heaven, we won't know the full impact of God's plans or why we really do what we do. But, this side of Heaven, we will faithfully keep serving, praying and pursuing the orphans in distress as we are called to do.