I started this new year by going to El Salvador to work with an orphanage & neighborhood. What you might not understand is these people are my friends. Not simply a place I go to serve God, but a place to build deeper relationships & share God’s love.
I am always humbled by the people’s joy amidst poverty. In Septemeber my dear friend, Gaby, graduated from the University. She is our first young lady to graduate from the University and we fully expect to see her using her Psychology degree to help youngsters.
During that weekend, we had a fiesta to celebrate her graduation. The kids in the orphanage dressed in their finest. They joined us at our SHIP building for hamburgers, a true American meal that they enjoy. Caramel cake (Gaby’s favorite) and ice cream concluded our meal. What a time of celebration we had.
We’ve had several other firsts this year in our family mission trips to El Salvador. Let me share a few other firsts for 2015.
1. First Business Class
In January, Steve & I taught our first class to the business ladies in El Salvador. These ladies buy clothing from SHIP (~ $1/shirt) and sell clothing to the community at a profit. Steve discussed ways they could set goals in their business. I lead a discussion about ways to increase their sales. It was a huge success. So much so, that we had a business class in March & July.
2. First Selfies Painting Class & First Mani – Pedis
We hosted our 2nd Quinceanara in June. The day before the party, the girls received manicures & pedicures. It was so much fun watching them giggle as they had their feet scrubbed. They were definitely tickled.
Even more so, the girls & their moms enjoyed painting selfies with Suzy. Most of them had never painted before. Thank you Suzy Lou for teaching the selfies class.
3. First Young Man & Young Lady Graduating from University
As I’ve already mentioned, Gaby graduated with a Psychology degree. Earlier this year, David graduated with a Pre-Law degree. David is now preaching at a church about 3 hours from the orphanage.
4. First Time to Take 9 SHIP Teams to Work in El Salvador in 1 Year
We added 5 new trips to our 2015 calendar. A church in Ohio found us on the internet and spent a week in El Salvador in February. In May, we opened up the KOR school trip (private) to others and had a team of 30. In July, Grace Bible Church of College Station (my home church) hosted their first family mission trip & will return this summer in 2016.
In September & November, we have a 2 mini-work trips, installing electrical & plumbing for our new building.
5. First Wedding of Kids from Orphanage
Emma (from Casa Hogar orphanage) was married in April. When our SHIP team came in May, we had a wedding shower for her. Everyone was amazed at the generosity of those from the USA.
6. First Sales Contest for Business Ladies
After our business class in January, we announced a sales contest. The business lady who sells the most at the end of March 2015 will receive a prize. She can choose a set of dishes for 4 or a cute tool set. Second place received the other gift.
7. First Christmas Party
We arrived in El Salvador on New Years Day 2015. The next 2 days we hosted Christmas parties for the kids in the orphanage & the kids in the neighborhood. Each child received personal hygiene items, as well as 1-2 toys or personal items. They also received a stocking with oranges & apples. To many of us, oranges & apples are taken for granted. But for these kids, they are excited to get fresh fruit. Their diet mostly includes rice, beans, tortillas.
Thank you to Oak Hills Church in Oklahoma City for all the wonderful Christmas gifts…and again this year.
8. First Time to Share Our Testimonies in the Public School
One of the public school teachers is a Christian who wants to help her students learn English. As a way to help them learn English, she invites SHIP team members to share their story with her students (in English). What a fantastic opportunity we have to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Thanks to Leon Moore for organizing these trips for each of our SHIP teams.
9. First Card Making Class
This past summer I wanted to do something special with the older girls, so I ordered a stamp set with Spanish words. The teen girls in the orphanage and the neighborhood made greeting cards for the first time. Thank you to Dean Hoelscher for teaching this class.
In September, I had some of the older girls in the orphanage make English cards to sell in the United States. If you would like one of these handmade cards, let me know. All profits from the sale of English birthday cards go back to El Salvador.
Click the name of the card to add to your cart:
10. First Time I’ve heard Young Women share their Personal Struggles as they Rely on God
We’ve hosted teen girl devotions for the past 3 years. Our SHIP trippers share a personal story and Bible verses for each devotional. Then, we pray together. For awhile, the teens in the orphanage were very quiet, taking it all in.
This year, God broke down barriers and some of the teens shared their own personal stories. As they shared their story, they told us they believed only bad things happened to them in El Salvador, never in the United States. I am humbled to hear how these teens grew up, most of them being abused or abandoned. Please pray right now for these wonderful teen girls that God would continue to give them peace, strength & forgiveness.
Thank you to all the SHIP trippers who led a Bible study this past year. You are AWESOME!
Would you like to sponsor one of our kids in El Salvador?
There are sponsor opportunities from $25 – $150 per month. It’s a great way to get your kids involved in missions. Your kids will have opportunities to write their sponsored child, as well as buy a Christmas or birthday gift for us to take to them. Or, if you really want to meet your child, you can go on one of our SHIP trips.
Thanks for reading my story. If you haven’t read my recent El Salvador blog post, you can read it here and see that all the profits from this blog & website go to Shelter the Homeless International Project. I’m proud to say that my customers & readers (that’s you) donated $5000 to SHIP at the end of 2015. Thanks for your participation in the gospel being shared in El Salvador…and your participation in these