Monday, October 17, 2011

1st of 14 teams come & gone...

a massive ancient volcano crater lake - lago de coatepeque - stunning views

corn harvest season. grind em up, add water and fry up some tortilla's

well, the first of 14 teams has flown home. 

10 canadians from sarnia
5 houses built
1 tropical storm still raging
4000 el salvadorians displaced living in shelters
1 meter of rain. a lot... i mean a lot of rain - over a meter this week!
8 out of 12 people living here with a chest cold that won't quit...
1 trip to 2 compassion child sites visited
4 fluker's family visit
48 orphans fed supper
50 men visited at teen challenge in san salvador - drug rehab center
4 hour (much needed) nap on sunday afternoon - priceless

we are tired, but feel blessed by the team that just left as they showed our families much kindness and encouragement. leading up to this team we have spent two weeks viewing homes of families in great poverty. we have met and interviewed and taken photos of over 200 homes and families in the villages of san antonio and san felipe. the sewing centre is hopping. oscar is taking some good leadership there. carlos did a splendid job translating for the team and felipito got his feet wet with the first team and his new role here. all in all, we feel like it was a good first chapter to this new season of teams. we asked the team to interview and write a short note of the families they built for. a window into their lives. i thought i would include these in a blog so you can meet them too. thanks to Joy for writing their stories...

Maria del Ingles & 2 grandsons in front of their shed sized mud house.
Maria takes care of her 2 grandsons. she has some obvious mental conditions. she speaks incoherent at times. she jumps around and doesn't make sense most of the time. she seems well liked though in the village. everyone gets a kick out of her and it doesn't seem to be in a bad way. it seems they accept her for who she is. there are so many people here with untreated mental disorders. 

Her house was absolutely filled with stuff. it was smaller than an old single car garage. maybe 9ft by 15ft and looked like it was about to fall in any minute. you had to climb up 'stuff' to get to the top bunk as the ladder wasn't even visible! her new home will have a lot more room. hopefully "Horders", the TLC show will come and help her move in ;-)

These two boys are sure to have a healthier future as we learned first hand during these very rainy days. everything is wet. damp. smelling of mould and mildew. a new house is a brighter future for these two boys who have no mother to care for them… i'm sure God is well pleased as she cares for these orphans.

2 of Gladia's 5 children
A year ago Gladia’s life was changed forever.  Her husband died of heart failure leaving her alone with five children to care for. She sells fruit on the roadside, but it does not offer the means of support she needs. Her goal is to keep moving forward despite her many hardships, and provide her children with a better life.  As a child Gladia hoped to one day become a teacher.  That dream has been lost in the fog of day-to-day uncertainty.  
Her children attend school and can read and write.  This is very important to Gladia as she hopes they will do all that she did not. She is involved with her community, but is unsure how she can do anything to help support it outside of caring for her family.  If only this strong, hopeful woman could see what an influence she could have on the girls in her community, what an example she could be for the young married women.
Gladia believes she has nothing of value to offer herself.  Who might come alongside Gladia to pour into her life so she might do the same for others?

single mom - Theresa De Jesus Hernandez & 1 of three kids
When Theresa prepares food people come running.  She is a talented cook with a gift for feeding a crowd and making sure everyone is satisfied.  Her village knows her abundant skills, and often seeks her out for wedding and various events.  As a child she hoped to one day become a cook. Theresa is living out her dream and it shows.  She is a confident, strong woman with potential to become a leader among the women.  Perhaps she is so content because of the love and support her parents have given her, or maybe it is because she is using the gifts the Lord blessed her with.  Whatever the reason, Theresa’s inner joy is transparent. However, life is not without it’s trials.  Nine months ago her husband left her to care for her three small children, eight-year-old Jefferson, three-year -old Stephen and nine month old Chrissia. Alone and without a home they have struggled to get through each day.  After being abused for years at the hand of her unfaithful husband she is now free from the daily anguish, but at great cost.
The house she received means shelter for her family, and independence to continue to build a strong life.

single mom - Reina Guadalupe Hernandez & 1 of her 3 kids
When Reina was a child she had dreams of becoming a seamstress.  She worked hard until she perfected the craft bringing her dreams closer to reality.  Unfortunately, Reyna’s life did not unfold the way she hoped it might. 
Today she works as a maid, cleaning and scrubbing for others, while her children wait alone at home.  This job she toils so hard at does not adequately feed her family and often they are left hungry. 
This is not the life Reyna had imagined. This is a life of daily survival, and it is exhausting.  Reyna has not forgotten her childhood dreams.  She still sews and creates beautiful dresses using her eldest daughters designs, hoping for the day she can live her live with a purpose that instills hope in herself and her children. 
Her three children all attend school and can read and write. Education is important to this family.  Reyna desires a better future for her children, just as any mother would, and she believes the house that was given to her is the beginning of a new hope.

Ana Silvia Arebalo Montanas & Benito Mario with 2 of their 8 kids!
Benito has lived in his village his entire life.  The view he and his family experience each day is evidence of God’s brilliant creativity.  Unfortunately the house his wife and eight children lived in was a crumbling mess.   When Benito was told to tear it down in order to receive the new one he was hesitant.  Where would he put his belongings?  Where would he sleep?  What about the rain?  When pushed he finally agreed, and his family worked hard to prepare the land for his new home.  Benito and his wife of 28 years, Anna Sylvia, have eleven children.  They exude a simple happiness and contentment despite their hardships. The home built for them means so much.  Benito knew that their poverty would never allow for a beautiful home even though it was something he desired for his family.  What are his dreams for his many children?  A happy life with their basic needs cared for.  He believes the Canadian teams are a great blessing from the God he fears, and is thankful for all they have done to see some of his dreams come to pass.

inside wall of a house i built on my first trip 5 years ago with andrew, tyson & blaine.