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Showing posts from August, 2008

Nightmare All Over Again

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I am sitting in my apartment watching the news and having deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say. It is a different experience being in another country watching my state prepare for Hurricane Gustav. I am usually in the midst of the hustle and bustle and now I am on the outside wondering what will happen. Watching the news is bringing back so many memories and to my surprise I had tears in my eyes. The pictures above are from New Orleans in December three years ago. I feel so helpless and a little anxious about this storm. All I can do is pray for my family and friends and hope they are protected.

Tour of San Jose

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All the new students were taught how to use the public bus system and were given a walking tour of downtown San Jose. It was really neat and beautiful. We saw the Metropolitan Cathedral, National Theatre, and tons of people feeding pigeons which apparently is a very "Tico" thing to do to relieve stress. We also were taken to a few markets and then hopped on a bus and rode back to the school. I seriously feel like I am going through culture shock being able to do things that we are not allowed to do in El Salvador because of the danger. I must admit I am quite a bit overwhelmed. It was really neat because already I am learning and able to submerge myself more into the culture because there are so many things I can do. When we came back to the school we took a little break and then my neighbor and I went walking around to explore and went to a few surf shops and made it to one of the malls to find something to eat. Two things that I have learned already one being nev…

Officially in Language School

I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica yesterday around 3:00 p.m. I feel as if I may go though culture shock here because it is more "American" than El Salvador. Let me explain, I can go run through this area by myself, I can use busses and taxis, and we can drink water from the tap. I am living in a fully furnished apartment on campus and it is so cool. My room is decorated with Magnolia's so the Lord had me in mind when they were decorating the room. Not that I love Magnolia's but it is the Louisiana state flower. I just finished with my interview and placement test so I will find out Monday what level I am and what classes I will have. We had a mini-orientation last night at dinner and Jay Dickerson explained CINCEL as not just a language school but a missionary formation school. Today they are taking us all to a grocery store and teach us how to use the bus system. You can go to www.cincel.org if you would like more information on the school.

CCI Campemento

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I had my final exam, so to say, in the level two CCI class that I have been taking. CCI stands for Christian Camps International. So everything that is learned in CCI class is applied and used in the ministry for our monthly Campamentos (Encounters). Those taking this class had to actually be in charge of a camp. Meaning we had to plan, decorate, and recruit. Everything we have learned in both levels we applied and put it into action. The theme of the camp was "Siembra en Mi" meaning Plant in Me. I was in charge of a group of four girls and during our Bible study time we learned about the parable of the sower. We actually searched for the four different types of soil and it helped the girls understand why it is important for our heart's to be like the fertile soil. Each night we had a service and the Lord really touched their lives. We also did lots of fun things like swimming, playing games, and doing obstacle courses. The camp went great and I passed, thank …

New Roomie

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I have met my new roommate through emails and myspace. She seems to be a cool girl and I am excited to meet my new roomie, in person. It is kind of weird because I feel as if I am going back to College and moving in with someone I do not know. The unknown can be a tad bit scary but I know we share the same passion for God, missions, and people. I am sad to be leaving my old roommates because life as I know it will never be the same. However, I truly believe that sometimes the Lord puts people into your life only for a season. I also recently found out that I can enroll in the Global University program at CINCEL so I get credits for attending Language school and get credit for Missiology classes. I am super excited about that because that can help me get my credentials. I am completely satisfied being a Missionary Associate because I feel God wants me to work with King's Castle but I have no idea what the future has in store for me so I would like to be as prepared as poss…

Spoiled by Superstores

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American's, including myself, are spoiled by superstores. We can go to one place and get everything we need, so convenient. Usually, there is a superstore within a two mile radius of your home. And how irritated we get when we go to a store and they do not have what we need....a superstore is supposed to have everything our hearts desire. Well, my spoiled superstore attitude was rearranged almost as soon as I moved out of the country. My first eye opener was when I was trying to find ingredients for rice dressing to make for our Thanksgiving Dinner. That was a week long escapade. Not only did I have to go to every grocery store I could find but I ended up having to improvise on the ingredients. Needless to say, it wasn't normal rice dressing. Today I needed some packing supplies such as foam, bubble wrap, ect. I went to a mall called Metro Centro, which has everything you could possible want in one place. However, it had everything but what I needed. I was slight…

River of Tears

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Today was very hard and rivers of tears have been flowing from my eyes and I am only leaving for eight months. In fact, I am coming back to El Salvador to continue the work with the children. As I went to go help out at children's church, like I always do, I was greeted with a decorated room and all the Guardian's clapping and saying they are going to miss me. Then they had me sit in the front and the kids acted out the song "Thank You" by Ray Boltz. I was bawling and at the part of the song where it says, "and one by one they came, as far as the eye could see, each one some how touched by your generosity" all of the children got up and started singing " Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am a life that was changed." It just broke my heart and overwhelmed me with emotion that Lord has chosen me to work here in this country to minister to those kids. Then some of the ones in the higher level came around me and all prayed for me. After th…

New Friend

While I was working with the Guardians today one of the leaders brought a little girl to me and asked if I could translate into Spanish for her. I was slightly confused because the little girl was Hispanic and we are in El Salvador. Turns out the little girl, Leslie, was visiting from New York. Her mom is Salvadoran, so is she, but born and raised in New York. She spoke perfect English, obviously, and a little bit of Spanish. So I was translating into Spanish for a Salvadoran-American. I asked if her mom spoke English and she said a little bit. She told me her mom speaks to her in Spanish but she always speaks to her mom in English. She also said when she gets to middle school she wants to take Spanish. It blows me away that this child did not speak Spanish. Most of the children were very confused, looking at her and I, while we carried a conversation in English. She quickly became my little friend and did not want to leave my side because she said, "All these people s…

Life is a Series of Hellos and Goodbyes

This evening was my despidida (farewell) at the coffee (cell) group I attend. This group of people have been my Salvadoran family. They were the first people I met when I came to El Salvador. I was able to share with them something I thought God had put on my heart for them. At the end different people said a few things then they gave me gifts. It was super sad but knowing that I am coming back in eight months and able to speak Spanish better is worth the short gap of absence. One of the ladies said I had been such a blessing helping bring people home after the coffee group. There were times I did not feel like loading up my vehicle and taking people home but most the time I did not mind. But to think that something as small as that blessed her. That is what a missionary's life is all about. Doing the things that Jesus would do, personal things. They also all prayed for me which was the best gift I could have received.

When Will I Learn?

Twenty-five years of living in the United States has handicapped me in the area of buying food and the food keeping for longer than two days. Around 3:30 today I was a little hungry so I opened some Oatmeal cookies and went to pour a glass of milk. Lo and behold, the milk was already ruined. I just bought the milk two days ago. One day after I buy strawberry's there was mold. I buy some cheese and when I opened it...mold. I have been living here for over a year and one would think I would learn to buy less food and go to the store more often. I do not like going more often. I like buying food for a week, eating it, and then going to buy more food. However, that is something you just can not do in El Salvador.

My Christmas Last Year

As I am beginning to make plans for Christmas this year I was reminded what I did last year. I had a blast working the Guardian of the Vision Christmas Camp. So here is the video from that last year.

Quandary of Packing

I have about two weeks left before I make my big move to Costa Rica. I started getting things together since I finished working with the World Warrior's but today I bought some boxes and vacuum pack bags so the reality of moving is starting to set it. I despise packing; I despise all the junk I seem to accumulate anywhere that I go and I am not a pack rat. I am a person who gives away and throws away if I don't use it. This packing that I am doing has to be strategic because I am not bringing everything with me. I have to pick and choose what I think that I will use in the next eight months and the rest of it has to be packed up until I return to El Salvador. San Jose has a much different climate than San Salvador....altitude is higher, more rain, and cooler temperatures. I will be staying in a furnished apartment on the campus of CINCEL, which is the name of the language school I will be attending, so I do not have to worry about appliances and things. So, another cha…

Healing in Progress

I asked for prayer, a while back, for another Missionary Associate here who had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She had to go to the States for a while and is back. Many people have been praying for her healing and she has been feeling much better. She said the harder she works the better she feels. Which is very uncommon with this disease. Last night a man from a team that she was working with walked up to her and said, "The Lord is healing You. You need to receive it." And she said, "I am." So thank you for your prayers and continue to pray for Beth Loef as she is healed of this disease.

World Warrior's in El Salvador

Our journey began and concluded in El Salvador however it does not stop. We worked in Apopa for most of the week doing programs but also passing out tickets and inviting people to Armada 7, which was a huge youth outreach we did at the fairgrounds. The outreach was on a Saturday and the Friday before we drove down a road in Apopa and there were thousands upon thousands of people everywhere. We drove past a tent with a fence around it filled with hundreds of chickens. We did not know what was going on but took advantage of the situation and started handing out tickets and inviting people. I asked one lady what was going on and she told me that ARENA, a political party, was giving out chickens and stuff trying to get votes for elections next year. After we passed out all the tickets we did a program for all those people. It was really cool a little old lady came up to me and wanted me to pray for her because she had skin cancer and wanted God to heal her. We had a great turnout…

Warrior School

I was privileged to be able to help out in a week long camp called "La Esquela de Guererros" which means Warrior School. I have never been apart of Warrior School but this was for the Guardian's, which is the group of children I work with. It is a camp that has classes on ministry such as dramas, clowns, puppets, preaching on the streets and much more. We have intercession through the night that the children are apart of. The class I taught was training in songs and dramas and then I was able to go out and do programs with the kids. It was a great week and every night during the services God really moved in a powerful way.

Costa Rica

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The most tragic thing and amazing experiences of my life happened in Costa Rica. On our way from San Jose to Limon a bus crashed right in front of us. We were coming out of a tunnel and all of us smelt something burning and as we came out of the tunnel I looked to my right and see a bus crashed into the rock wall, hanging half way over a drop off and smoke everywhere. The first words out of my mouth was "Everyone pray." Our bus stopped and a few of the leaders immediately jump off and the first thing I see is people crawling out of windows and some men helping this guy about my age who is literally covered in blood. I had the medical kit, which thank God was fully stocked for six weeks worth of traveling, and I asked the men to lay him down and as I have the guys head in my lap and blood is gushing all over the place all I can do is pray and try to calm him down and apply first aid to this gash on his head. A huge gash that I can see all the way to his skull. There w…

From the Inside Out

This is a drama that the World Warrior's did throughout our trip. It is Desde Mi Interior, From the Inside Out by Hillsong United.

Panama

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Panama was, by far, everyone's favorite country. Not only are the people amazing but the Spirit of God poured out in that country like we have never seen before. The first school we went to the girl in the picture above with me started weeping during one of the drama's so I started praying and ministering with her. After a while she started praying for me in English saying, "Use her, Jesus, Use her, Jesus, help us to know with us every moment." It was so cool because we are always ministering to others and God used her to minister to me.
Another elementary school we went to about 300 children responded to the alter call. It was so amazing because they were everywhere, on the floor, on their knees, worshipping and crying out to God. Every child I went to I asked what I could pray with them about and they would respond, "I just want more of God, I feel something different and I want more." One little boy was crying and telling one of our leader's…

Nicaragua

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Nicaragua was very interesting because we were caught in two protests in which we were not allowed to pass through a certain point in the road. So we sat on the side of the road until we were finally allowed to pass. The second time we were on our way into the mountains to do programs and people were waiting for us in the church. So we waited for a while and then decided to take everything off the bus and walk through the protest. So as we were walking they let the bus through and we were able to jump back on and drive the rest of the way. The church was completely filled with people, not only inside but on the outside, and they had been waiting hours for us. So after the program we always pass out candy to the children but because we could not take the bus into the mountains we had to take a pick-up truck and one of the girl's grabbed a smaller bag of candy. It was not enough for all those people. So they dumped the candy into a pillow case and they prayed that God woul…