Surfs Up!

Today our team went to the beach. We were all able to relax and enjoy God’s creation.  The bus ride there took us through winding roads.  Far off in the distance we could see a group of mountains and an enormous volcano.  It seemed to follow us as we zoomed through the hills.  Cows, stray dogs, and other cars flew by in the blur of countryside that swept across the window.

We spent the afternoon riding waves and collecting sea shells. On the beach there were gazebos with hammocks. In short it was paradise. Words can’t describe how restful this was for the team.  Lunch found us in the shade eating lasagna shrimp, grilled fish and chicken, seasoned rice and all kinds of tropical drinks.  Later as the tide rolled in we attempted to play soccer on the sand.  We had more trouble keeping it from the waves than from the other team.

Our team had a great time of bonding today and we have a nickname for almost everyone.

Djamina – Young Djamizee

Celeste – Bobby

Julia – Jafavey

Bre – BB

David Lew – David the Hulk Lew

Casey – Pillowcase

Glen – Glenomie

Elizabeth – Drama mama

Kelsey – Galadriel

Jazmin – Sasquatch/Argentina

David Neel – Bandido

Julie – Jamocha

Anila – unknown/TBA

Abi – Abidrenaline

Crystal – the unbreakable crystal

Right now we’re practicing another skit for tomorrow’s service by Life House called the everything skit. We are all so excited for Easter tomorrow. Thank you for the prayers and support.  We’re so blessed by your donations! _MG_0078 _MG_0082 _MG_0100 _MG_0109

Anila and Djamina

Anila and Djamina

Grilled fish for lunch

Grilled fish for lunch

Glenomie

Glenomie

Smiles

Smiles

Casey

Casey

Sleeping David Neel

Sleeping David Neel

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Thinking about eating the fish head

Thinking about eating the fish head

Bre!

Bre!

Crystal and Jazmin

Crystal and Jazmin

Julia and Celeste sipping soda

Julia and Celeste sipping soda

Good Friday

It’s Friday evening and we are finished with VBS and construction. As I said before our two construction sites consist of building a house and fixing up another. Today we put up two walls in the house we are fixing up. It was a hot day of mixing cement, heaving buckets of concrete, and stacking bricks, but we all cherished each moment of today knowing it was our last day of work.

Due to the wide age range of kids at VBS the bible lesson team had to come up with some new skits.  Surprisingly we managed not only to throw together three new bible stories, but we aslo found scripture memory verses to go with them. The crafts team did a great job of creating crafts that relate to the bible lesson.  After crafts the kids always come running into the church sanctuary wanting to show us and explain what they did. We ended up with about 40 to 50 kids, which was great.

Good Friday is a big day in El Salvador. After construction work today, a few of us were able to walk along the streets and look at the tapestries.  People decorate the streets with flowers and sand, paints, leaves and anything colorful.  Their creation tells the story of Christ’s work on this earth, and his death.  A large crowd of people mobbed the streets silently walking.  At the front they carried statues of Jesus, Mary, and other figures. It was a mournful but beautiful sight.

Fireworks burst in the distance like loud cannons in the night.  The people are celebrating. Our team sits out in the courtyard porch journaling.  We have really come together like a family.  For dinner today the Hawks took us up to a beautiful garden on a hill.  The picnic area gave a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains. Here we ate and talked and had a good time of fellowship.  God has been so good to us throughout our week here. We are all excited for the next two days to celebrate Easter here.  Thank you for praying. IMG_2450

fun pictures after working  hard!

fun pictures after working hard

Here is the team that helped build the house

Here is the team that helped build the house

Bre's birthday crystal rock from the family

Bre’s birthday crystal rock from the family

Baby Stephen

Baby Stephen

Hungry Bre

Hungry Bre

Julia and Timmy carrying bread

Julia and Timmy carrying bread

Celeste Bre and Jazmin at the garden dinner .

Celeste Bre and Jazmin at the garden dinner .

Crystal and Kika

Crystal and Kika

Jazmin and little Johnny

Jazmin and little Johnny

Djamina and Casey sifting sand.

Djamina and Casey sifting sand.

Street tapestry for Good Friday

Street tapestry for Good Friday

David Lew and his boys

David Lew and his boys

David Neel and little Johnny

David Neel and little Johnny

Julia playing hand games

Julia playing hand games

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David Neel and Crystal doing cement.

David Neel and Crystal doing cement.

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Here is the team who helped fix up a house

Here is the team who helped fix up a house

worship with VBS

worship with VBS

Breakfast!

Breakfast!

Elizabeth and Gabby

Elizabeth and Gabby

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Playing soccer

Playing soccer

Singing with the kids

Singing with the kids

Casey and the baby

Casey and the baby

Jazmin and Wendy

Jazmin and Wendy

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Dinner in the garden

Dinner in the garden

More Sweat, More Jesus

Our team leader Anila has finally arrived.  Her presence has really given us more joy and strength.  Also our host family the Hawks have returned. Last night after working they took us to get tacos.  Under a gazebo in the warm night air we ate tacos, sipped coke, and were able to talk about our work thus far.

Early mornings begin with construction work.  At one site we are working on building a house. This involves a great deal of digging. But as we work and sweat in the heat, the family we’re helping is always offering us refreshments and food.  Yesterday we ate sweet mangos and fresh baked french bread. During our water breaks they appear in the doorway with a plate of sliced mangos. Today they prepared aroz con leche, a rice and milk combination spiced with cinnamon and sugar.

During one of our breaks, Mr. Hawk took the whole team to a coffee roasting co-op.  We were greeted by the smell of fresh roasted coffee beans. They spun around and around in a huge machine.  We learned that about 80% of the coffee grown in El Salvador goes to StarBucks! At the second construction site we are working on building cement walls for the house.

Afternoons consist of VBS.  At the church, arou

Jasmine with VBS kids

Jasmine with VBS kids

 

Abigail after VBS

Abigail after VBS

 

David Lew entertaining kids

David Lew entertaining kids

 

scripture memory

scripture memory 

 

David Neel

David Neel

 

David leading games

David leading games

 

Djamina!

Djamina!

 

Glenn taking a water break

Glenn taking a water break

 

Abi digging a trench

Abi digging a trench

 

Kelsey drinking coconut water

Kelsey drinking coconut water

 

Celeste and the baby

Celeste and the baby

 

David Lew digging away

David Lew digging away

 

Smile!

Smile!

 

Coffee:)

Coffee:)

 

Casey doing crafts

Casey doing crafts

 

Kelsey with the crafts team

Kelsey with the crafts team

 

Our Leaders

Our Leaders

 

Bre and Julia at breakfast

Bre and Julia at breakfast

nd 2:00, children come racing through the open doors.  We begin with singing, where our members Jasmine, Celeste and Bre lead in singing with hand motions. Next the kids break up into three groups. One group stays for a skit of the bible lesson where Julia, David Lew, Djamina, and Crystal act out a familiar bible story.  Another group goes to the crafts team organized by Glenn, Abi, Casey, and Kelsey.  Our final team is the games, led by David Neel and Elizabeth.  The kids always come back from here sweaty and full of energy.

We all agree that the work is hard and exhausting so we came up with a saying.  More Sweat. More Jesus. This is a constant reminder that our work is for the Lord.  Though we feel gross being sweaty and dirty, the more we sweat, the more of Christ we give.

Arrival and First Day

After 14 hours of traveling we finally arrived here in El Salvador Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately we didn’t arrive all together. One team member didn’t make it through the airport in Indy. Because of this disruption our team leader, Anila, had to stay behind and try to figure out the passport difficulties. Our one team member is International and had trouble boarding the plane.  Today let us know that Anila will be joining us later today but Shante, our last team member, will not be joining us.

Saturday night our team participated in the church’s youth group. We were all surprised that they sang the same song we had prepared to sing for them in spanish, “Open The Eyes of My Heart Lord.”  After youth group we got to converse with the pastor and other church members.  Out host family, the Hawks are not here yet so we’ve received instructions thus far from the generous Rodriguez family.  Miguel Rodriguez is the pastor at the church in which we are staying.

Sunday morning before the church service our whole team witnessed a beautiful baptism. Two youths from the church were baptized by Miguel outside in a pool.  We were all so moved by this service. We then attended the church service were we got to help in sunday school. There were about 35 kids between the ages of 6-10.

For sunday school we taught the bible lesson of Jesus feeding the 5000. We performed a skit of the story and passed out crackers and swedish fish. We then sang songs and played games with them until the adult sunday school was over. During the worship service our team performed a skit called rag man.  It is a simple drama with music representing the death and resurrection of Christ.

Later on in the day our team travelled a few miles to a more rural area to do our same lesson for different kids. These kids wore dirty clothes and some had faces caked with mud.  But this didn’t hide their bright faces full of life and eager for love.  After the lesson we had them play soccer, we painted the girl’s nails, and made balloon animals.

Thus far everyone has been in good health.  The food is delicious and the weather is beautiful. Tomorrow we continue construction work and children’s ministries. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. We will keep you posted.