Our trips to El Salvador are memorable and our work there continues. Read the stories below about these mission trips.
El Salvador is one of my favorite places. The people are warm and friendly and the scenery is beautiful. It is hard to go and not come back with a strong love for the country and for the people who live there. The El Salvadorian people do not have much by American standards, but they are kind, giving, gracious, and they are a people who are hungry for the gospel.
Because so many of our team members love this trip, we usually have many who return year after year. This year, this was not the case. We had many new faces and we were a little worried about how the trip was going to go. The team was great! God assembled just who we needed for this trip! We did have many children ask for past team members, but they also bonded with our new team members. This team served and loved on these children well!
During our weeklong visit in El Salvador, we visited seven different orphanages. At each orphanage our team presented the gospel message, did a craft, prayed for each child, and spent lots of time playing with the children. It is so important to let these children know that they are loved both by us, and by their Heavenly Father. It is our desire that they know that He cares for them and that He has a plan for their lives. We were thrilled that two teen-aged girls became Christians on our trip. One of them was a teen mother, who expressed her desire to raise her son in the Christian faith. What a joy that was for our team!
While traveling to and from the orphanages and at stores buying supplies, our team handed out gospel tracts to the locals who were so excited to receive them. It is a great joy to watch them open up the tracts and begin reading them. We also handed out our extra Bibles; it was such a blessing to see the joy on their faces when they received them. They are so appreciative. We were blessed to have a donor who provided the Bibles and gospel tracts! Please be in prayer for the children we met in El Salvador. Pray that they will remember the message they heard, that they would read the Bibles that they received, that they would come to know Christ, and that they would know that He loves them and will never leave or forsake them.
This was an amazing trip. God assembled just the perfect team...as He always does. We had a medical emergency on the trip this year. One of our team mates is highly allergic to sesame and peanuts. She drank a drink that contained both of the ingredients. We immediately began a journey of faith like we have never been on before. The entire team felft the hand of His protection on us at every step. He led us to exactly where we needed to be - step by step!
While we were on the trip we visitied orphanages...3 of them were for special needs children, 1 was for children with AIDS, 1 was for teen moms and their children, and 2 were teen girls. The team members have come to love so many of the children that we see year after year. We have so much fun with them while we tell then the love that the Father has for them. We were able to provide the girls at 4 of the orphanages with dresses that were made by Dresses for Orphans and Lila's Lambs. Toothbrushes and toothpaste were donated by Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals, Dr J Tracy Mills, DMD, and Westheimer Lakes Dental and and we were able to give every child a new toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste. Shampoo, soap, bibles, gospel tracts, diapers, and lots of powdered milk were also given to the children at the orphanages.
We were also able to minister to a family that we met 3 years ago. This family lives across the street from on eof the orphanages we visit. They have very little - but they love each other and are very thankful for what they do have. We gave the father a new testament when we first met them. Last year when we asked if they remembered us, he said that he did. He told us that we were the ones who gave him the New Testament. This year he told us that he had a surprise for us. He explained that he had begun reading the New Testament when we gave it to him. Last year he began to feel convisted to attend church. He told us that he is now a Christian. We were all so excited to hear this. We hand out many bibles and gospel tract when we are in El Salvador...and the people are so happy to receive them. They will actually run to the bus if we are passing them out. It is an awesome sight to see people reading them when we drive off. We take having a bible for granted in America. There are many people in this world who would love to have one.
A mission team from Here I Am Orphan Ministries visited 7 different orphanages. One of the orphanages houses children with AIDS and 2 of them house special needs children and even some adults. One of the homes has very limited finances and the living conditions are not very good at all. They are in very bad need of mattresses for their residents.
The team brought other items including the following; shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, Bibles, tennis shoes (3 orphanages have requested these), backpacks, towels, undergarments, powdered milk, diapers, and fabric. Also a wheel chair for one of the little girls at the AIDS orphanage.
This year Here I Am Orphan Ministries sent a team of 16 people to El Salvador. Of the 16 team members, only 5 of them had not been to El Salvador previously. It is always fun to see the excitement in their faces when they realized that we had come back again. We were able to visit the 7 orphanages that we visited last year along with an orphanage that is a home for teen mothers. There were 4 mothers and their babies in this orphanage. Although it was sad to see these mothers raising their babies in an orphanage - it was good to see that there was somewhere for them to go. This year there seemed to be less children in some of the orphanages and we were told that they are trying hard to get the children out of the orphanages and into homes with family members.
While we were in El Salvador we were able to provide bibles for the children at all of the orphanages as well as hygiene items such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, We were blessed with the donation of handmade teddy bears that we were able to leave with the children at the AIDS orphanage and the babies at the home for teen mothers. The children loved receiving the bears. We were also able to provided jump ropes, balls, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and school supplies. While at the AIDS orphanage we asked what the main need was and we were told that the children needed milk. We were able to provide them with 30 large bags of powdered milk and some diapers. We also visited with a little girl at that orphanage who is wheel chair bound. It is our desire to provide her with a better wheel chair. We were not able to do this on the trip because the medical equipment stores were closed due to a National Holiday.
After visitng all of the orphanges our team walked around the city of Aguachapan and handed out bibles and did some street evangalism. This was a wonderful way to end the week in El Salvador. The people of El Salvador are very kind and are very receptive to the gospel!
Here I Am Orphan Ministries was able to return to El Salvador in August of 2010. This year a team of 18 plus an incountry translator were able to minister at 7 different orphanages. The team had seven members who were also on the trip in 2009. The children at the orphanages were very happy to see that so many had returned. It was so exciting for us to see that they remembered the names of so many of us from last year and even asked by name for some who did not return. We realized on this trip how much the relationships we are forming with these children do give them hope.
In addition to the six orphanages that we visited last year we visited an orphanage that was the home for 24 children between the ages of 2-7 who had AIDS. Most of these children looked like they were about 3-5 years old. They were so excited to have visitors and we loved spending the day playing with them - they all seemed to be such happy children. We are very much looking forward to returning to this orphanage again next year and can definitley see the hand of God in allowing us to visit these children.
Our teams have found the people of El Salvador to be very friendly and willing to help us in any way possible. The caregivers at most of the orphanages seem to really care for the children and want the very best for them which unfortunately is not always the case. When we ask them what the children need they always tell us how important it is for us to come and visit the children and give them a message of hope.
During this trip, we visited 6 orphanages in 5 days. God taught me so much about His love and that it literally saves lives. When we preached about Christ's love and saw these kids smile, it was evident that God was moving through them. In Isaiah 55:11 it says that God will complete His work that is started in all those who hear it. These kids have heard His voice and I have no doubt God will finish what He started in them because He loves them. There is nothing that is outside of God's control and that gives me hope for these kids knowing that HE knows every single hair on their head and HE has a plan for them! I also learned this week to think next time I get hungry and to be thankful for the abundance of food I am blessed with, or to think when I get angry with my parents and instead be thankful they are in my life. It was so cool to see these amazing children so happy in such horrible conditions. I have been put to a challenge this week…to tell the world that Jesus lives! That should be one of our primary goals in life and this week has opened my eyes and reminded me of this. We live in a world of hate and abuse. Jesus Christ's love is what shines in this dark world. When we became His we became His servants and we need to tell the world, whether that means in our workplace, at school, or on a mission trip. So many times in my life I have not taken that seriously, and I am so blessed that this week has convicted me of this. These kids were amazing. I love them and will never forget them! Christ's love changes lives! I have been truly blessed this week.
In the past few months, my life has dramatically changed. There has been a lot of things that happened that I never imagined would. I have been able to experience the wonder and excitement of going on a mission trip and spending time with the "least of these." It was an experience that I will never forget and something that I will continue to do as I grow older. This summer my perspective on things really changed. I have seen that I am not as deprived of things as I think I am. I have come to the realization that I am blessed to be where I am and have what I have. I always took my family for granted, and I now realize that I shouldn't do that. Through the trip to El Salvador I made some pretty awesome new friends. One of them has become one of my best friends, and she has helped me through so much. It was good to be able to have someone who knows what I am feeling to talk to. When I returned from El Salvador, my relationship with Christ was changed so much. I saw that my relationship with Christ wasn't what it should have been. Through this experience, I have been able to grow in my relationship with Him. I am currently in the process of trying to go to Guatemala and back to El Salvador. I know that if God wants me to go, he will send me. All I can do is pray and wait for His response. God is so good, and he is always changing our hearts, and he is always going to be there in our time of need and hurt.
Here I Am Orphan Ministries sent a team of 16 people to El Salvador in August 2009. The team visited five orphanages in San Salvador, Sonsonate, Aguachupan, and Santa Ana. The team was able to visit over 600 orphaned children. One of the orphanages we visited was Hogar del Nino, the orphanage where Maria Webb and her sister grew up in before being adopted. Throughout the week, God opened up many doors for ministry both in the orphanages and within the city.
Through God's provisions enough funds were raised to provide shoes, undergarments, backpacks, Spanish Bibles, medicine, school supplies, games, puzzles, bed frames, mattresses, and dining tables to these orphanages. We were also able to share the Gospel with the children through a Bible study, crafts, songs, and games. A highlight to many of the children was the hot dog cook out at three of the orphanages.
Upon our return home from El Salvador we were able to provide medical vouchers for the children in El Salvador. We would like to continue this ongoing project. If you would like to help provide for the medical needs of the orphans in El Salvador, you may do so below!