We are finally back to San Salvador after 11 days of being away. First I’ll explain what we have been up to and then some commentary on it. On Friday July 2nd we travelled to the camp to get ready for two different groups coming in from the United States to do sports ministry here in El Salvador. One Group from Connecticut has a basketball ministry and they travelled to two school each day and played basketball with the kids and shared the gospel. One of the young women that was in this group is the daughter of Pastor Peter Monahan from Westford Congregational church. We were amazed that we had never met Rachel in Ashford but here we are in El Salvador and she was traveling with this group. The kids that she played basketball with one day kept calling her Barbie because of her long blond hair so her nickname became Gospel Barbie. There was another young man named Brent that goes to Windham Tech!!!! The other group that came is called Inspire Sports Ministry from New Jersey. They are a group of young people who have come down to El Salvador every year since 2006 and go into the schools with all different types of games and then present the gospel through drama and then meet with the kids in a small group setting to make sure they understand the story of Jesus. I got to go out with this group for one day and had a really wonderful time playing with the kids and handing out the new testaments after the small group meeting. The rest of the time my job was working in the kitchen and cleaning the bathrooms at the camp. Then on the weekend of the 9, 10 and 11th we hosted 85 children that could not afford to come to camp. Inspire raised the money, $35.00 per camper, throughout the year and the Word of Life staff coordinated with different churches and agencies here to determine who would get to come. Inspire had a whole weekend of drama, gospel, games and worship for these children and you could watch them change before your eyes over the course of the weekend or…………….. choose to stay the same!
Maria, pictured above with Ashley, is one girl who was forever changed! She received Christ as her Savior. When we first saw her she was timid, tough and a leader of the group making fun of almost everything that was going on. By the end of the weekend she was talkative, paying attention and not wanting to leave us! We saw the power of Christ change her forever right before our eyes. Ashley got to spend a good amount of time with her helping her to understand the decision she made and how it would impact her life.
The older boys had a harder time than the girls and although you could see some were eager to try new things most were more worried what their peers were doing and chose to imitate them instead of engaging in the activities. I had the opportunity to pray for two of the boys and when I finished I was crying and I looked over and the other boys in their group were laughing at them because I had chosen them to pray for. I told the boys it was not funny and they shouldn’t laugh and went and sat down by myself still crying out to God for their souls. All of sudden one boy came and sat next to me, He had made the decision to be different from the others and be changed forever. When he opened his new bible I glanced over and he was reading Luke Chapter 23 which had been my reading that very morning and it is the chapter about Christ being crucified. I was reminded how even as Christ was hanging on the cross the mockers were there even the one thief hanging next to Him! But there was another hanging there that asked to be changed forever and Jesus promised him that very day he would be with Him in heaven. A little while later we had to write something that we were struggliing with on a piece of paper that we wanted Jesus to take away from us and then we threw the paper into the bonfire to symbolize it being taken away. I was out by the fire and the young man who had sat next to me, Daniel, came out and threw his paper into the fire and said to me “I did It!” I hugged and kissed him and saw him be changed forever right in front of my eyes. He crossed over from being one of the mockers to being a brand new creation.
By the end of the weekend we were all exhausted and ready to come home and rest but the memories of the past 10 days will be permanently etched in my mind and heart. Please pray for all of the new believers, especially for Maria and Daniel and most of all pray for the mockers – that God would give them another chance to hear the Gospel message and chose to receive forgiveness and eternal life and be changed forever!
Serving Him with joy,