Yesterday we did relief work in one of the many affected areas in El Salvador. Another Missionary Associate that I was with wrote this letter that explains a lot.
Guadalupe El Salvador, yesterday.
I traveled to the Guadalupe area with our Team from Kings Castle. The devastation was overwhelming. I was prepared to be exposed to the devastation but not the death toll. Standing there in the lower valley looking down at the village was very difficult. I could see where the river blasted through and took lives, homes, church and anything else in its path. I looked up to the volcano where the peak was in the clouds and just below that line I could see where the mudslide began and could follow its path to where I stood and then on through the village. I could see hundreds of people below at work, searching for the lost, trying to cut a road through the old river bed, people carrying supplies across the then impassable riverbed by vehicles and helicopters flying over. Someone pointed out the rescue team had found a body and they were about to pull the person out of the riverbed. I was in the state of shock all I could do was close my eyes and pray.
Soon after they opened up the riverbed our Kings Castle Teams was part of the first group to cross and head up the mountain with supplies. Crossing the river was very difficult, as I crossed the riverbed I had to climb a 12 foot embankment. As I started up the front of my truck was damaged by the rocks and frankly I didn't care. I knew my place was there and I had to get the supplies up the mountain. It’s so hard to explain or justify, I knew I was going damage the truck before I started across but I just knew I had to do it. Last week I broke open the bottom of the engine by rocks delivering the Book of Hope, I was praying this wouldn’t happen again. As we drove up the mountain I could see more devastation along the way. I will post a picture if I can.
8 kilometers up the mountain we drove and arrived at the last river crossing before the main area we were headed too. This river for me was not passable with my truck, the damage to the riverbed was far worse than the riverbed below. I knew if I tried not only would I wreck the truck but would block the badly needed crossing. We had another four wheel drive vehicle with us that is much higher than mine so we had to do multiple crossing to get everything delivered. We now had completed our task as we delivered all the supplies to our Church and refugee camp they were supporting. Pastor Jose invited us into the Guadalupe Church and we had the opportunity to pray with him for the Church, Church Family and the community.
As we travelled back down the mountain road it was getting dark, many of the local people cheered us on with appreciation for our help. I felt bad, yet good or I can’t explain it, seeing the joy on their smiling faces will stay with me for a life time. All I did was help deliver supplies, their community was so beat up and so many lives lost, yet they were still smiling. I’m still struggling understand my thoughts. I’m thinking they have just gone through the worst time of their lives, but all is well. After having time to think, my heart is telling me Lord was speaking to them, he let them know all was well he was with them all and would be.
It was then dark and we had to cross the last river, it was scaring to say the least. They had been working all day on the crossing, but more water had come down and it was now a rocking mud bath that was about 80 feet long after the 12 foot drop. As I sat on top of the embankment, I looked on as the much higher Castle truck struggle to get across. I was worried, “how will I get across if he is having this much trouble, how will I make it?” Out of the blue I found myself at piece and relaxed I knew I had nothing to worry about. I looked back down and saw a LARGE rock right in the middle of my path and new this would take out my engine. My window was down and I could hear all the chatter in Spanish. Everyone wanted to help and give me advice, I couldn’t understand a word. I looked out the window and made eye contact with a man, no words spoken, he just knew what he had to do. With that he jumped down the embankment and moved this LARGE rock on his own. He looked up at me with a look of approved and then I took the plunge down the embankment. I had three Kings Castle Warriors with me (youth ages 15 and 16) they were so excited as we flew across then mud field, they cheered and the further we made it across I could hear everyone on the banks cheering as well. We made it through with the lowest vehicle there and never hit one rock!
This is the best I can do to explain my day, I’m sorry for all the grammar and spelling mistakes, I just needed to share my story!
We have many needs, if you feel you can help in some way please let me know. Keeps us in your prayers,
I have lived outside of the United States for over 10 years now. I studied Spanish at a language school in Costa Rica for 8 months. My husband only speaks Spanish, so I speak it all the time. However, I despise speaking in Spanish in front of a large group of people. I stress, I panic, I freak out. Give me a group of kids and I'm good. Give a small group and I'll do it but don't ever ask me to preach in Spanish. I have lived in complete fear for over 10 years. Fear of man! Fear of being judged and made fun of (which happens all the time). For 10 years I literally have been saying no to God. I can't and won't do it. I won't be made to look like a fool. I can count the number of times I've preached or spoken to a group of adults on one hand.....in the last 10 years. Why? Because I said no. I can't do it. Even with my husband encouraging me," Kristal, you CAN do it. God uses you. You have a word." I'd say, "No, no, and no!"
It has been a week since the Honduran Presidential Elections and the TSE has not announced a winner. I'm not going to go into detail but you can Google Honduras Elections and get the gist of things. I'm experiencing things, after 10 years of living overseas, I have never experienced before. Three days into the chaos I wrote this.
"It's only been three days of chaos,fear, uncertainty and worry. We had an escape plan; but now, even if we wanted to leave, we couldn't because every bridge is blocked. I've never experienced that feeling before. A feeling of entrapment or in a way, a feeling of abandondment. You start to wonder about your own country, who, at the moment, act like nothing is happening. Do they even care about the U.S. Citizens that are here? Why haven't they done anything? They could send us a message on STEP or at the very least a statement on their Facebook page acknowleding the situation.
It is surreal hearing gun shots and smelliing the burn…
It has been a whirlwind of a month. We hosted a missions team from El Salvador, classes started back (back to work), we had to move, raise funds for our residency, and Ruben and a team of youth leaders raised all their funds and are in Panama for a international leadership conference. All of that in one month people! I'd like to say things will calm down but that never happens.
So to summarize......
-We hosted a team from El Salvador the first week of August. It was awesome! God did so much.
-Classes started back. I am teaching 3rd grade and Ruben is the new Chaplin.
=We were basically told we had to leave the place we were renting, by the owners, we prayed and God provided us a slightly larger home in the same area we were living in
(with a huge yard; good for the kids and the dog).
-We raised $1,000 for our Honduran Residency. So now we are in the application process. Once we have our residency we will not have to take visa renewal trips every three months.