One hundred and twenty. One hundred and twenty hours of continuous rain.
I’ve never seen anything like it. Concrete walls with no insulation, plus no air conditioning, equals a humidity inside our apartment so thick that nothing will dry.
Toothbrushes, towels, clothes… all wet, wet, wet.
But complaining about wet towels and toothbrushes is trite compared to the devastation of 100,000s in Central America and parts of Mexico. A tropical storm has moved in, while forcing residents to move out. Here in El Salvador, family after family is evacuating.
Please pray. Pray that the rain will end before more devastation begins.
In spite of the rain’s efforts to slow us down, we refuse to let it stop us! So here are some of our favorite highlights. Rain or no rain, here we come.
#1 – Kara Has A Happy Cara (“Cara” is “face” in Spanish. Terrible pun. Sorry.)
Kara is back with a vengeance after a successful surgery in the States. Thank you so much for your prayers. She is recovering quickly and hasn’t skipped a beat.
Since she has been home, her project has officially begun. She and her team are working with seven families who have been impacted by a new law implementation. The law is forcing children out of orphanages and back into biological family homes. But the homes are too poor, too broken to provide these children with physical and, especially, emotional needs. Kara, her social worker and psychologist are literally knocking on the doors of these homes with beans, rice, bunk beds and counseling. Each family has cried, “You are the answer to our prayers!”
She is the hands and feet of Jesus. And Brett and I have loved having a front-row seat to watch her story unveil.
#2 – Singing At San Martin
Brett and I learned a couple of children’s worship songs in Spanish. He brought a guitar, and we headed out to San Martin, an orphanage for the disabled. Most are adults with mental retardation and physical impediments. The orphanage consists of casitas – each house containing a different level of disability and sleeping 8-10 people.
We drove up to the orphanage and the kids flocked. All eyes were locked on Brett’s guitar. I herded the kids to a shady corner and began to teach them the songs in my broken Spanish. Brett began to strum and feet began to stomp. They sang on a 100 different keys, clapped off beat, laughed and bounced. We then visited the different casitas.
Bodies confined to wheelchairs sang, “I’m gonna walk just like Jesus” as loud as they could. A little boy who was blind and mute banged on a table and threw back his head with a smile as we sang the words, “Jesus loves me.”
As we traveled from one casita to the next with our guitar and voices, the more stable kids followed us and sang with us at every house. We looked like Christmas carolers. And in a way we were – singing about a God who loved them enough that He, too, was disfigured. He too was scoffed at, neglected. Just like them.
I’ve never heard such beautiful singing in my life. And I’ve never felt the presence of God more in my life. These are “lasts” who will be first in heaven.
#3 – Bus Ride!
We road the public bus for the first time! Everyone stared at us Gringos. But for 20 cents the stares were worth it.
#4 – Student Hang-Outs
Brett and I have been invited to teach some high school and middle school students in the homes of some moms we met while volunteering at local schools. Teens here are not much different from teens in the States. They have curfew, love to shop, play video games and wonder why in the world two “old” people want to hang out with them and talk about life and faith.
With Kara, I’ve had the opportunity to lead a Bible study with teen girls at a local government orphanage. This center houses kids who are brand new to the orphan system. A very sad place. The girls are hard. And who can blame them? Most keep a straight face until prayer time when they tearily ask us to pray that their family will visit them. They cry to us about wanting to leave, longing for a real home, a real family. We hold them and give them a promise that they are loved by a Perfect Father who will be their family, their home. And I pray that the promise will take root in their hearts.
We left youth ministry in San Antonio only to find it in San Salvador.
As the rain pours outside, God continues pour blessing after blessing upon our experience down here. We are exactly where we need to be.
Three more weeks in El Salvador before we head to Guatemala. We love you guys!
Kara’s work and continued healing
Our work with the teenagers – that they would know that Jesus loves them
Rain would stop
Our attitudes would be positive and hearts would grow