Wow. And just like that, it’s done.
This past week has been filled with so much joy, laughter, tears, unfortunately sickness, but most of all; love. There were so many real emotions, but unfortunately these words I’m about to write will not be able to justify them in the slightest, but I’ll do my best.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were extremely long, but rewarding days. After breakfast and morning devotionals, all 35 of us would hop on the back of the two trucks, and head out at 8am on an hour long drive into the communities that we would be building in. We had the team split into two groups, and then 2 subgroups which were our build teams. This was so we’d be able to set a new record, of 30 homes in two and a half days!! We were working from village to village that suffer from extreme poverty. Their previous homes were a small rectangle room, made of mud and sticks, without a floor. During rainy season, all of the sewage from the toilets (which are basically a pit in the ground) would all get brought to the surface. It would then get into peoples homes and into the dirt on the ground, which causes many diseases.
To do the actual physical building of the homes was such an honor. To know that we are literally being the hands and feet of God in those moments was incredible. But what made my heart even more full, was the time spent in kids ministry. At times, it felt as though these children were ripping my heart out and stomping all over it, but in the most loving way possible. I probably played with around 200 kids over those three days and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them was so happy. And by happy I mean sooooooooo happy, and it wasn’t just because they were hanging out with white people. It was real joy. These children have gone through so much that they shouldn’t have gone through, but despite that, they are just filled with so much love and joy. At times it felt as though I couldn’t breath because I was being lavished in love (or maybe it was just because I was choking back tears), but whatever it was, it was because of God.
This past week, I saw more genuine smiles from the locals in El Salvador, than I think I’ve honestly seen in the past 2 months. This is why my heart hurts so much. These people are FILLED with love, and they have absolutely nothing, except for each other and The Lord. At the key giving ceremony (Friday morning) the first thing that around 95% of the families said, was that they wanted to thank God for their new home.
Not every family that received a home were believers, but the ones that were had such a strong faith and trust in The Lord, something that astonished me, and I absolutely admired it all week.
I’m sure that many of you haven’t been able to fully immerse and experience poverty at its finest, so I think that not many of you realize that it could have been reversed. We could have been born in a developing country and these families we built homes for, could have been born in St.Catharines. This is also very hard for me, and many others on the team to understand. We don’t deserve the life that The Lord has blessed us with, and over the past week this has been a struggle for many of us. We have experienced frustration, and anger because of it. But if we stay in the state of anger over this situation, it's then Satan that wins.
It is up to us to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, and those who do not know The Lord yet. This week, I have realized how important missions are, and how important it is to give glory to God for blessing us.
I have heard so many incredible testimonies and have so many stories from this week. Although I won’t be writing them on this blog (because it’s already almost a novel, and I feel like I have so much more to say) I would love to share them. If you’re interested please ask me. Please please please.
Lastly, I would like to share that I was able to interview two families before getting their homes, and explained what I have done to raise the money for their homes. At the key giving ceremony I gave them each their own bracelet, and the smiles on their faces were huge. Once again, thank you everyone who supported these families in giving them a home.
Coming home and getting back to the North American reality is not going to be easy for me. I can’t ignore that my heart hurts. But I praise Jesus for giving us the opportunity to meet these families that have taught us so much, in such a short time.
I will be back to El Salvador soon.
(Stay tuned for more updates on Highs & Lows)
"We proclaim how great you are, and tell of the wonderful things you have done." Psalm 75:1