A New Dawn

Meditations on the Advent Season…Peace / Reflexiones sobre la Época Navideña..Paz

How can we find peace in a world that is so broken? How can we breathe deep and close our eyes and be at rest in a world where children are caught in war zones, and women are sold as slaves? How can we find respite for our souls when diseases wipe out whole villages, and addictions claim lives? Where is the peace that is promised us in the candlelight? How can a weary world lift its heads to hear the angels sing? So much is wrong, so much is battered and seems beyond repair. This tension between the two Advents of Christ is almost unbearable. The weight of the world pushes down on our shoulders, and the dark blocks our sight. Into such a world was born our Christ. […]

Numbers – Cifras

I opened the newspaper, and the numbers screamed out at me. A lot of talk about El Salvador is reduced to its numbers. Number one murder rate in the world…Leading the world in the number of child homicides every day…Number one rate of femicide…Record numbers of undocumented child refugees fleeing El Salvador for the U.S…High numbers of daily deportations. Headline after headline points to the number of the dead, the number of criminals, the number of students dropping out of school because of the violence, the number of new shelters being set up around the country as families are forced out of their homes by the killings on their doorsteps. The numbers climb until they swirl around like some vast, dark cloud of despair. The numbers can crush us. When […]

Connections

Relationships not only connect us, they change us. When I look back at my life, everything significant is connected to a relationship. The death of a friend that pushed me on a different track, the ending of a relationship, the beginning of a new one. Parents, grandparents, classmates, teachers, mentors. My marriage, my children. Bosses and pastors. All of these relationships have changed who I am to varying degrees. Some hold more significant spaces in my life, but all have made an impact. It should come as no surprise that God chose to reach out to humanity in relationships. Knowing Him as a personal God has drastically altered my life. It is the most defining relationship us humans can have. If we are so designed and defined…through relationship with Him, then […]

Two Years

Two years. That is the amount of time that Rodrigo* has been living on the streets. As a 13 year old, he  was forced to leave everything familiar. His family, his school, his friends, and his neighborhood. He had to leave because staying meant death. The truth is, El Salvador has the highest child homicide rate in the world. Teenage boys are most at risk. Rodrigo’s life was threatened. Join us or die.  That is the message falling on too many young ears around El Salvador today. Be a criminal, or die at the hands of one. Kill, rob, extort or be a victim yourself. Rodrigo fled and found a new home. A 13 year old sleeping on a bed of gritty pavement, eating out of the garbage, looking for something […]

It’s Complicated

Está yuca. That’s a Salvadoran slang phrase that basically means that it’s complicated. It’s messed up,  and it’s tough to sort out. We use that phrase a lot around our office, and that’s because almost every one of our clients comes to us with layers of complication. Poverty, violence, systems that are practically rigged against them. Here is a glimpse… There is the boy coming to New Dawn because gangs threatened his life back in his hometown. He had to flee and he fled to the streets of San Salvador. Life on the streets is hard…abuse and addiction soon become the cycle that he can’t escape. There is the man who was traumatized as a child, and eventually turned to alcohol. Over time, he lost his wife, his job, his […]

Walking Together to Freedom

This morning was my first day back in the office after 6 months on sabbatical. As I pulled up to the center early this morning, the first thing I noticed were the children sleeping on the streets. They were there waiting for the doors to open at New Dawn. For these kids, New Dawn is the only safe place in a sea of addiction, violence, and abuse. Some of these kids have been raped, beat up, prostituted, and made to feel like nothing. They have been rejected and abused. On the streets they have found loneliness and fear. It is no easy task to introduce them to something new. New ways, new patterns, and new life are hard to come by on the streets. Our hope is that stepping into New […]

Angela’s Story

“When I am at the center, I have the urge to sniff glue but if I give in to it, they won’t let me come in. When I visit the center, I can eat and shower before I go back out to the street; I couldn’t do that before. That is why I like to come. We do activities and they treat me really well.”  Angela*, age 15 Angela is 15 years old and living on the streets of San Salvador. Her story is like the story of many of El Salvador’s street kids. Her father died when she was less than a year old and she has no memories of him. She struggled with her mother to survive, sleeping in public bathrooms, doorways, and anywhere they could find shelter until […]

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