Tuesday, July 26, 2011

El Salvador -- Went to be a blessing but was blessed so much more

The trip begins with 4 truckers honking when prompted by the pumping of the arm, 56 plus dogs along the road to Chinamecca, two horses and one deceased cat. The mission trip to El Salvador ended with 961 souls being saved, 25 mission trippers returning safely, and one very tired but proud momma.

Even though this was my second time to go to El Salvador, it was going to be a very different kind of trip. My first trip was to speak at women’s conferences as the main speaker. To encourage women – my calling. I was in the company of Sally Frasier Gaspard, Lupe Meza and Susan Resendez on my first trip. That first trip really solidified my calling into women’s ministry, and it was part of Susan and her family’s call to serve in El Salvador as missionaries.

This second trip I went on because my ten year old daughter felt led to go, so we did what we needed to do to make that happen. She has had a heart for missions ever since her first Mission Week at Calvary when she heard the stories from real missionaries. Erin’s heart and compassion is part of what makes her Erin, but it is also part of my concern about taking her on this trip.

This was Erin’s third trip to fly, but her first to go out of the country. Our first two nights we stayed at the Bible Institute in Chinemecca. This is the place where nationals come for seminary, and once their training is complete they start churches. Showered in our flip flops. No air conditioning. But PTL (praise the Lord) for indoor plumbing!

The first two days on the ground we went to schools in the morning and held block parties in the afternoon. By the end of the day we were smelling quite righteous (hahaha). At the first school, Erin took her bracelets that we made using the Coke can tops. (Thanks for all who sent those to us) She was swarmed. All the girls wanted them. I had a little boy ask for one and when I told him it was for the girls his eyes teared up, so I put one on his arm. I just couldn’t make him cry. After Erin had given out her last one there were still more who wanted her bracelets. She came up to me, and in her sweet, deep voice said, “Momma, I feel so guilty. I don’t have one for all of them.” WOW! Erin has always been generous, but to associate guilt with her lack or her inability to give more was a big revelation for her.

That first evening at the block party I found one of the ladies who headed up the women’s trip last year. Her name is Vashti. I reminded her of our past connection, and we caught up on what happened in the two years since we met. I introduced her to Erin and saw her two girls. She asked if I would be there the next day, and I said I would. She went home and made Erin and I matching aprons to bring the next day. I went to bless and was blessed instead.

The next morning we went to more schools and invited them to the block party that afternoon where they would hear the Word of God. After the block party we made our way to the hotel back in San Salvador. AHHHH, air conditioning! Swimming pool!

Thursday was our rest day. We spent a lovely day spending time together on the black sand beaches of El Salvador and sliding down a water slide on the side of a mountain. It was gorgeous, and the fellowship was wonderful!

On Thursday, we went to another school, but in a small remote country area. This by far was the hottest day of our trip. I thought my skin was on fire, and even though I had been using 50 spf every day of the week with multiple applications, I still got burned. After the school, we went door-to-door to invite the neighbors to the block party. A translator from the local church went with us, and Erin, Brenda and I were matched with Susie, a sweet young lady. Erin’s fear of roosters came into play, but not one of them attacked her. Many accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior at this block party. It just goes to show what Satan means for harm (the hottest day of all) that God can use for His good and His glory.

The next day, we went door-to-door evangelism in a different area with a different church and translator. We were matched with Daniel, a young man in college whose identical twin was an interpreter for another group. We witnessed to a lady at a stand selling fruit, and she was saved. We would go on to lead three other sets of mothers and daughters to Christ that day. What I loved was that Erin was there watching taking it all in. A couple of times, she would say, “I want to do the next one.” We tell her that would be fine, and we would get there and she would go silent. And if you know Erin at all, you know that is not the norm. I’d lean over and say, “I thought you had this one.” To which she would respond, “I’ll get the next one.” In the end, we let her be the icebreaker. She would invite them to the block party through the use of our interpreter. I am so thankful Erin had that kind of exposure.

The block party that day was simply AMAZING! The Calvary group arrived to set things up, but the church members who had been out going door-to-door witnessing and inviting the neighbors to the party were already there unloading and setting up. I got in line to help unload the trailer, and without fail one of the men from that church would step in front of me and take the item I was going to grab. This church had it going on! These fellow Christians were EAGER TO SERVE! I was in awe because we don’t see that kind of heart for service in this volume here. I was working the balloons with the twins which I affectionately renamed Pete and Repete, Claire, and Juan. While Kurt was preaching, we were getting ready because they were expecting a large group of people. They were right. They estimated about 2000 would show up. Of that number about 1000 would be members from their church! The result of the presentation of the gospel – 750 decisions made for Christ. An AMAZING DAY!

Sunday was just as amazing going to the Mejicano Church. They have 1000 people in the early service and about that many in the second service with only two people on staff. When asked what problems does the pastor have to deal with since he doesn’t have any staff to speak of, he said he had to encourage people to give up their posts of service because everyone needed an opportunity to share. They had to learn to take turns serving. Did you read that? They had to take turns serving because they ALL wanted to serve their Lord! From holding and dispensing the toilet paper at the restrooms to rocking babies…everyone wanted to serve. We could really learn a lesson from this church.

I know most of the photos I’ve posted on Facebook have been of us goofing off or laughing, but it’s only because the rest of the time we were working and sweating it out. I was blessed this trip on many different levels and will blog more about the lessons I learned, but I want you to know, I’ve asked Erin to write a blog from her perspective. I hope you will read it.


  1. Can't wait to 'hear' Erin's perspective...knew God would show up and that His glory would be seen...wow! Sounds like it was answered prayer all around~

  2. Can't wait to read Erin's blog! So glad she had the opportunity to go and experience this!

  3. Dad just read your blog and said that he is glad that God is still in the miracle-making business: He even saved some roosters in El Salvador (see paragraph for Thursday). We don't know about dogs in Heaven, but there WILL be roosters! Can you believe he found something sort of grammatical?!


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