Saturday, March 20, 2010

Home Again

YAY! We are back on American soil! We landed in Atlanta around 6 PM, and on our cell phones immediately to Ted and Ray just to let them know we made it to the US again. We are thrilled to see toilet seats and to be able to flush toilet paper! Ahhh-life is so good in the USA. (but - my quadracepts are much stronger for that little inconvenience of missing seats)

Then, just to see if I could work the technology with the airport WIFI, I used SKYPE to call Ted. I found out the internet service was free......for about 20 minutes - then it switched over to airport default and all you could see was airport advertising and the internet service charges. Also found out to use the airplane WIFI was a paid service. I am definitely an old dog learning new tricks........and happy to be able to process a little of the technology available today.

We landed on time in Indy and our luggage made it too. What a blessing to report that all of our fight experiences were rough clouds to bounce us around, no bad weather, and great service on Delta.

On the flight from El Salvador - our row mate was an El Salvadoran man named, Jose (Elmer was his nic-name). He has been a legal resident of the US for 12 years and wanted us to see his leagal driver's license. He spoke English much better than my spanish. He loved it when I spoke anything in Spanish to him. I could tell it was amusing. He had returned to El Salvador for his mother's funeral about a month ago. The main topic of conversation was about pupusas - which Carol has now learned to make. He tried to convince her she could be rich if she opened a pupusaria in Indy! Before we landed we also presented the salvation plan to him by showing him the beads on our gospel bracelets. He immediately understood what the each color represented. He said he had a personal relationship with Christ. He did convince us that he knew the gospel message.

Elmer decided to help us with our bags to the customs area. That guy had us practically running. I finally had to tell him to slow down. Carol was still carrying 2 tote bags and her legs just don't move as quickly. Elmer graciously did slow down and planted us in a short line at the customs area and disappeared. What a blessing he was.

On the trip from Atlanta to Indy - we had the best row mate ever! Others thought we had an empty seat on our row -- but we knew our companion was JESUS!

Another blessing was the little 3 year old boy, Astin, that was behind us. His speech was so articulate and his conversation was so entertating as we could overhear him talking to his daddy. I couldn't stand it. I had to talk to him. So I used my "Elmo" voice. He totally "got it"! He peeked through the seat to see Elmo. At the end of the flight, he asked if I was really Elmo. I told him no, I was Elmo's mommy. "Oh," he said beaming, "I have a mommy too!" The row of folks behind him cracked up laughing. Then he smiled and said, "I am so glad you got to meet me." Which evoked another laugh from the bystanders. Then he shook my hand. Great kid that Astin! It truly was nice that I got to meet him!

A quick call to the cell phone lot after we got our bags and my chariot arrived. Ray was just a couple minutes behind Ted. We were on our way home from Indy about 12:30 AM. By the time I was wound down for bed it was about 2:30. Haven't heard from Carol but I know she was planning on going to church. I skipped the morning but will go to the PM service. Can't wait to see the folks at church - but I was pooped!

Thanks again for your faithful prayers. God heard them, we felt them, and the Lord empowered us to do HIS work through your amazing support. AWESOME JOB, Prayer Warriors!

Check back next week for the slide show.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Last Day of the Missions

Pupusa (pup-POO-sa) time in the kitchen for Carol and our new friend Lillian. Lillian and Leila have been friends for 24 years. We loved the pupusas and Carol wanted to know how to make them - so Lillian volunteered to teach. Carol had a great time! She stopped every once in a while to write notes. The gals were also kind enough to share secrets about a dessert we had last week. It was a YUMMY day!

Of course it was time for a family photo of the gals after lunch. Carol, Johanna, Leila, Bety, Lillian, Emmalea and Lila saying our good-byes.

Well, here's the team you've been praying for. Back row - Mike, Adam, David, Emmalea,

Middle row - Katie, Carol, Janet, Mark, Juan Ramon, and front row....Kyle.

Pray for safe travel for everyone. Janet heads for Guatemala as Carol and I head home to Indy around 1 PM - hoping to arrive home at 11:35 PM. The rest of the team leave the hotel at 4 AM, flight leaves around 6 AM and hoping on arriving around 4:30 PM. This was a great team that experienced God at work in El Salvador and we were blessed to join HIM.

I will check in with you with another post when I get home. And plan on checking back on the blog in a week or so. I hope to get a slide show added to the blog to show you more photos. But for now...........hasta luego!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 13

I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get the photos where they should be in the story. Copy and paste doesn't work for me either. Maybe next year I will have learned. It is frustrating!

4 of the team went to the Christian school. Each team member with a Disciple or 2 - spoke in a different classroom. Carol spoke in 2 classes and shared the Wordless book. Although the students were teens, they were absolutely facinated with the demonstration, including the student director and the teacher.

We were able to see all of the kid together for their Chapel time. Janet spoke on the qualities of a good leader.

The house we were helping to build was completed late this afternoon. It is the first time this family will sleep together on a clean floor. Their "floor" has been dirt. Each person that worked on the team had a story to tell of how doing this project impacted their lives. BOH has decided to adopt this barrio and work with them as an ongoing mission. The next projects will be to help them attain supplies to build soccer goals and provide uniforms that will allow them to have teams. Also this barrio has a community center that needs a cement floor and stable roof. After you hear our stories - you may want to get on board too!
There are much more than a thousand words of praise that would go with t he photo of the kids praying. God was there today in that barrio. HE touched hearts of the adults as well as the children.Carol shared the gospel using the Wordless Books and the children prayed. (I cried). Each day has had touching moments - but watching their faces and hearing their voices as they prayed was probably the highlight for Carol and me this week. Thank you, Lord! (this photo was not staged!)

We had a Subway sandwich banquet for closing our time of service with the Disciples. It was very moving to hear them express their feelings and how working with BOH has encouraged them. These are passionate young people with a call to reach levels of society that no one else will go. They are rescuing young people from drugs, alcohol, broken homes and gang activity and leading them to salvation. They are changing lives and rescuing souls. It has been an honor to work with them.
Carol shared the wordless book with them as well. After she finishes, she always asks if anyone can tell the she asked the guys if they would give their presentation. Caesar and Carlos wanted to do it and asked if we would like to see how it would be presented to the gangs. I video taped it. Its not Ray Comfort and Kurt Cameron - but these guys presented salvation with that little book in a way that we could never do. The will get the message to places that we could never go and there will be fruit. God uses all different types of people to do HIS will and he does so in every language.
For the grand finale - the OAC painting was presented. It was ironic that the story I chose before coming to El Salvador was a message that God also revealed over and over through the testimonies we heard during the week from the Disciples. The Disciples creative juices started flowing immediately on how they can use this idea to spring from in their ministry.
One of "our" boys had stayed to see the demo too. Adam is a freshman at Purdue and his new "buds" this week has been the Disciples. Adam really liked what he saw in this painting ministry as well. Maybe Adam will do the OAC on the Purdue campus. Why not?
Pictured here are some of the Los Discipulos after OAC training. Their personalities are showing pretty clear in the photo - but don't let their antics fool you. They have some of the most tender hearts I have ever seen.

Just before this photo was taken, I was also able to teach them all the 10 commandments. They were like little kids opening a Christmas present. There is power in knowledge and knowing the 10 commandments in order gives a person a powerful reminder from God of how we miss the mark as well as a way to help others see sin in their own life.
Well, just one more day and for Carol and myself, no more projects are scheduled. We will spend a few more hours with Leila. The plan is for us to learn to make "pupusas". We can't wait!
Prayer Requests: Pray for the people we have encountered to remember the wordsand the time we shared with them - and not to forget our love - the love of Christ that we shared with them. We will never be the same....our prayer is that they feel the same way. God is here. DIOS es aqui! (that was actually a chorus we sang on Sunday.)
Also pray for our team members that will be going to EXODO again to paint the exterior on 2 of the kid's homes. Pray for their travel safety. Also, some of them are pretty sun-burned from the work on the house. So remember, Katie, Kyle, Mike, Mark, Adam and Dave as your prayer assignments will soon end for our mission trip. FINISH STRONG!

Check in tomorrow to see how things went for us.
Love from sunny, hot, El Salvador.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 12

This is one of those days that I am hoping the pictures are worth a thousand words - because I am pooped! The top photo is of Janet Michel the founder and president of Bridges of Hope. The young lady standing next to her is the wife of the couple chosen to receive the new home the men are building. I believe she had 5 children, and is 23 years old. The level of poverty is the worse I have ever seen and Janet and her husband expressed the same. The chompa the family is sharing has 18 people living in it and 6 people have died in the dwelling in the past few months. There is no running water or septic or sewer system. The second photo is one of the pathways between chompas. Many homes were made cardboard boxes, corregated metal, and plastic of may different varieties from plasitic bags to tarps. The homes seemed to be endless and almost none stood alone - but rather all shared a common wall. Add the heat and the humidity from the big rain last night, smell a bad sock that has soured and you might get the idea of how we spent today. There was at least 200 people in the area we were to help with children. The kids were petty good as shared the evangecube and 10 commandment game - but - Los Discipulos win if there would be a prize for entertaining the kids. They were great!

We left Los Victorious and headed out of town to EXODO orphanage. Leila came along to meet the director and see the program the Discipulos would perform and see the facility. The Discipulos were great for the kids! They even split up and shared some lessons with the them. A couple of the kids were starting to get the hand of it! I had tried to attach a video but there is something blocking it from uploading. It is about 5 minutes long - so maybe it was too big.

We went from devestation to delight. The horrible conditions at La Victorious - to visiting with the kids at EXODO. The kids have grown and changed so much this past year! I have one little guy that really remembers me. Edwardo wanted his photo with me - he is SO shy - but his smile tells how happy he was to see a friend return for 3 years.

It was a good day - but exhausting.

Prayer Request: Strength for the men that are going back to La Victorious to finish the house. Please pray for those struggling financially as well as in there everyday needs. Later in the day the whole team will return there to have a dedication ceremony for the house with the family. Pray for our travel safety. While most of the men are working the rest of the team and the Discipulos will be visiting Luceo Cristiana Juan Bueno (a christian school), where we will visit different classrooms and answer questions about the USA. Carol and I are prepared to tell them about Jesus too!
Sorry for any misspelled words. That spell checker still is not working for me on this trip and I also am falling asleep at the keyboard. :o) - and 1 more thing....Happy 40th birthday to my favorite litte leprecahn, CHAD. Visit
PS - PRAISE!! The ground was not too muddy!
Love - y'all

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 12

We served around 300 "clients" in the Eye Glass Clinic. Carol, myself, and the rest of the American team were considered doctors by the people in this barrio; but it was the Great Physician that tended to the needs of these people. We were blessed to be HIS Hands today. Something so simple as $1 magnifier glasses truly changed some lives and blessed hundreds...and HE let us be part of that. Although I didn't get to participate with the prayer team, our director did ask to use a gospel bead bracelet, and my evangecube to help give visual to them sharing the gospel. I believe there were a couple of people that prayed to receive Christ through those helps.
The other "Group" photo is of the ex-gang team that makes up "Los Discipulos" - an evangelistic brea-dance team. They have learned a lot from us and us from them the past couple of days. It has been a real trip and joy getting to know them. What testimonies of changed lives.....!!!! Oh, if you look close, you can also see most of the team intermixed with the team. This was taken in a big mall where we ate lunch and some of the boys almost got arrested for breaking into a break dance demo! Janet, our leader, talked with the police and security and got them off. She also scolded the daylights out of those kid for pulling this shinanigan. Then we took this photo after they apologized. The guys learned that just because you love Jesus - that doesn't give you the right to disregard authority and rules. BUT - they certainly redeemed themselves at the eye clinic with their outstanding service.
It was a LONG hot day (9am-4pm) but worth every sweat drop that dripped!
Prayer Requests: For the community to continue to seek God and remember how HE met their needs today. For Wednesday's outreach in Las Victorious. This community is built on a landfill. We will be part of a team that is building a wooden house for a family that has slept on the ground for years! We will also be presenting a Children's ministry and Los Discipulos will be performing their break dancing and evangelistic outreach. I may also be presenting the OAC painting again - so pray that goes well and hearts receive the gospel. HEY!!! It's raining!!!! It started about 15 minutes ago (at midnight here) and it is raining like cats and dogs - thunder and lightening!! The last rain was in Novemeber. This is my 3rd trip in 3 years during this time of year and it has never rained before when I was here! NOW - the problem is -- the ground is dirt at the landfill and we will be working outside. PLEASE pray for no mud!!! We also are going to EXODO orphanage on Wednesday. Can't wait to see the kids again!!!! Pray the rain is a refreshing blessing for them and for safe travel to and from.
One thing I think I forgot to mention... we have had 2 earthquakes since Saturday night. Carol and I missed Saturday night's - we were doing laundry so guess we dismissed the rumble in the floor to being the rinse cycle.On Monday we were climbing the stair case in Bloom Children's hospital at the time and was not aware. Leila called that night and said that it had been a pretty good "tremble". Neither made the newspapers here, as far as we know. Wish I could have told you that we felt it - but thankful there was no damage and that you all didn't know about it!
The lights have weakened several times during this storm and went out for about 30 seconds a couple of minutes ago. The laptop battery kept me connected and a light on for me to see. What FUN!!!! Carol and I each have a private room - so she just called wanting to know if the horrible loud noise in the hallway was rain. (Yes!) There is an open concept to the hotel design that you aren't really that aware of when it is NOT raining. Guess it is one way to get the floors washed free. Gotta go - please keep praying for us for just a few more days. (There is more thunder and lightening revving up as I say AUDIOUS to you.) Love you all!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 10

Praying with families
On the left-baby with clef-pallet((?sp). On the right baby with hydrocephilitis

We met our new ex-gang boys today. Here we are with Mansanto (Apple). We think he was being funny when he introduced himself and told his name because the interpreters (from his home church laughed, but didn't tell us his real name. He seemed to be the "clown" of the Los Discipulos (the Disciples in English) group. There are about 35 members of this amazing troop, but we will probably meet only 7 of them. The will be assisting us on all of our projects. They are just young men that gave their hearts to Christ - after a heart-wrenching life of poverty and abandonment. They laid their lives out before us today, not knowing if we would reject them or not. At no time did any of us feel intimidated. It is immediately obvious that God has changed their hearts and HE is truly molding men of God from what others tossed asside. We heard their testimonies and were moved to tears at times. They too fought back the tears as they revisited the hell they once lived here in El Salvador.

After sharing lunch and our 5 interpreters and the Discipulos we all headed to Bloom Children's Hospital. To find out more details of this facilities, one of our team said they looked it up on the internet. We had 100 stuffed animals to give to the children. We were instructed not to allow ourselves to cry, so the team was aware we would see some heart-breaking situations - and that we did. My camera battery died after we were in the first unit with young babies. The baby in the above photo is only1 day old baby. It is speculation on our part but the baby seemed to be blind and had hydrocephilitis (sp?) (water on the brain) There were a couple of other babies with that as well, and one that will undergo surgery this week for a clef-pallet (sp?) We gave out toys and prayed for them and with some mothers in this unit.

It was also a blessing to watch the Discipulos minister to people. This was their first time to do this in Bloom. We saw them moved with compassion and heard them pray for many children and parents throughout our tour. Seeing that was as touching as meeting the children from all over Central America that are patients at Bloom. It was a really good experience that I know changed many lives.

Tonight we talked our driver Jordan) into taking us to an authentic Pupusaria for dinner. I know, it sounds like a possible intestinal disorder - but the the pupusas are delicious! Carol and I each had 2! We hope to have a chance to learn to make them when we visit Leila again on our free day (Friday).

Prayer Requests: Pray for my husband, Ted. He had a tooth pulled on Monday and obviously I'm not there in Indiana to comfort him...bless his heart....Pray for the kids at Bloom. We will have photos to share and the director asked that we PLEASE pray for the kids we met. Pray for our Tuesday project - an eye glass clinic. We will be fitting people with reading glasses (magnifiers). Our project is from 9 AM - 4 PM and is in a very impoverished area called La Fosa. We also will share the gospel and pray with our "clients". Blessings to you all. The week is going quickly!!!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 9

Yep - a slow photo op day. That's my leg/foot - the bug bites are about gone - so that's a good thing. Center photo is the rest of the group listening to the sermon from a translator and the 3rd is my room. Hey a bed is a bed so just the cozy computer corner.
What a great SONday! Breakfast is provided in our hotel package so we had eggs, toast and fruit. Then our team traveled together by van to CCI – a huge Baptist church that meets in a Holiday Inn conference center. We estimate nearly 1,000 attended! The worship music was great and the message was really good too. This church provided us with headsets that gave us an English translator. The message was so good that Carol and I asked if it was available on a tape or CD. Unfortunately it was not – but we took a lot of notes. Although it seems amazing to receive such a blessing – in verse by verse format here – doesn't it confirm that God's Word is True, alive and written for everyone? On young man on the team, Adam (18), said hearing the different language at the same time of the interpretation made him think of the tower of Babel. Pretty much everyone agreed that although we were far from home – God made sure we were “fed” well today.

Buses, buses everywhere! Seems today was a political protest against the FMLN party. THe socialist party is not happy with the administration that ran under their ticket. Seem the president has his own agenda now and that is not setting well with the people. (hmmmm-that sounds somewhat familiar...)It was a sea of red shirts, flags and banners unloading off buses all the way to the area where we planned to go for lunch. Our Sunday dinner in El Salvador was from a Chinese menu! I had an egg roll and Carol had some sort of creamy chicken soup. She said it was good.

I had a surprise SKYPE call from my home church, Cornerstone! What a treat to see all my friends and some of my family. I miss them all - but I KNOW this is where I am suppose to be and hopefully Carol is as confident in her decision to come with me....she says she gets why I love serving here. Thanks again to everyone for your support - especially our husbands. It really is a sacrifice for them to do with out us for 2 weeks!

Our afternoon project was dividing up the donated supplies for the individual projects we will be doing. Each of us store a day's projects in our room and are responsible for getting it to the van on our day. After that task was done, Mark, Adam, and Mike escorted Carol and me to the nearby store (think mini Wal-mart) for some groceries. I needed my branflakes, milk and ice cream.

We took taxis to a nearby mall. We ate a "Tony Roma's". The food was excellent but the best treat was hearing the full story of Bridges of Hope and the testimony of Janet Michel (the founder and our leader). God has really worked in her life and we better understand WHY she is called to do this work in Central America.

It is late of course and Carol and I just had a surprise blessing in the laundry room. We met a really sweet young woman in the laundry room that is visiting El Salvador from California. She shared the story of a miracle their family had received this past year. Its a long and beautiful story we can share with you when we see you. We have exchanged emails to hopefully keep in touch. We love the creative way God has been putting people in our pathway!
Prayer Requests:Monday I give the devotion for the team. Pray for me as I present what God has laid on my heart. I think it will be my acronym for HOPE (He's Our Perfect Example) and perhaps a message on trusting God. This is a visual that we didn't get to use with the Children's ministry last week so thought we might as well not let that go to waste. We meet the group "Los Discipulos" Monday afternoon. We will spend a couple of hours with the x-gang members - listening to their stories and building a relationship with them. This is so key to our projects. These boys need acceptance and to see the love of Jesus in us. We are looking forward to meeting them. Carol and I feel they may need to know a couple of loving grandmas. Pray they receive the love and acceptance from our team that they deserve as new Believers in Christ.

In the afternoon we will be going to Bloom Children's Hospital to pass out toys and pray with kids and their families. This can be pretty emotional. It is so difficult to see the sick kids. This is the first trip for Katie, Kyle, Mike, Mark, Adam and Carol. Pray for their (and my) emotional and spiritual strength as we work through a week of heart wrenching projects.

Until next time........