I started telling about my trip to El Salvador earlier, and while I meant to continue the story in country, it didn’t happen. But, long awaited… here’s the rest of the adventure of Mission: El Salvador, and some of my favorite photos.
The doctors and nurses arrived in San Salvador. We also tried to find weights for the jib, since we didn’t want to pay to bring 350 lbs of weight on a plane. We didn’t succeed in finding any, unfortunately. Most of today was spent going through all our gear, getting ready for the days ahead, and trying to solve any minor set-backs.
Brian and I accompanied the medical team to the ocean for a day of prayer, bonding, and planning for the days ahead. We interviewed them and talked with them about what they were expecting, and how they got involved in helping out with this effort. The team is a group of really great people, and it’s been very good to talk with them and get to know them.
Today was the first day of the medical clinics. The medical team, some of the worship team, Ryan, Eric, and I went to the clinic. We were set up in the middle of a community that is built of trash. The houses are built of sticks and branches, and then covered with garbage bags, sheet metal, old billboards, and cloth. Around 1500 people, whole families, live there with little protection against the wind, the rain, and the sun. These families are often too poor to buy enough food, let alone visit a doctor when they are ill. There is water in rain barrels around the community, but it is not safe to drink. The people have many medical problems due to the conditions.
In this community we set up to have the doctors examine those that needed help. We brought food, medicines, and also prayer to these people.
Ryan, Eric, and I teamed up with Joy, who interpreted for us, to be able to talk to an old woman. She is 89 years old, and her name is Clara. She is beautiful. We talked with her for several minutes. We were able to give her some food and she took us back to her house. We walked though the barbed wire yards, and through the side-streets to the corner of the cardboard city.
She lived in a small hut, divided into two rooms by a sheet. The house was built of wooden sticks and poles, with corrugated sheet metal for a roof. In the front room was the make-shift kitchen area, and in the second room, an old thin mattress, with tattered sheets on top. There was a small, lopsided dog barking on the floor.
We talked with the old woman about what her life was like, and we were able to talk with several of the women who live beside her. It is a very hard life for them, and they wish that there was more help.
As we were leaving, a woman pointed across the road to a structure that was being constructed. Poles were in place, and a portion of the roof was put on. The woman said that her husband was building a church. She told us that currently many people meet with several pastors who come to visit, but they meet in someone’s house. Since the houses are so small, not many can come hear the pastor. By building a larger church building, she said that over one hundred people would be able to go to church together.
This was very overwhelming to us. We were surprised to find such love for God among people in such hard conditions. We prayed with our sisters, asking God to send them the help and encouragement that they needed, and to draw all the people of this cardboard village to Himself.