This Year Is Going To Be Different

This year is going to be different.  I repeated that mantra to myself over and over again as I pulled out the Christmas decorations and looked over the December page on my calendar. I set up the Advent wreath with the hopes of remembering what Christmas is all about. The doing is not going to consume me…it’s going to be different.  Here I sit on the other side feeling like a total failure. Oh, we did the Advent wreath for two weeks focusing on the hope and the love. But joy and peace got lost somewhere along the way and my wreath literally fell apart. Buried. Sad and bent under a pile of gifts. They weren’t gifts for my family, but gifts that were donated for our ministry, and they […]

Free The Girls Christmas in El Salvador

This past year was one of new opportunities, and personal growth for women involved in the Free The Girls program here at MTES. We continue to be grateful to FTG for partnering with us and enabling us to serve these women that we love and respect. Our girls worked hard in El Salvador this year. For some it has been a year of personal struggle, for others a year of victory. We took some time the week before Christmas to celebrate all of these amazing survivors and to dream together about 2015. We had a guest speaker from Pittsburgh share with us about her own painful past, and the beauty that God has brought from it. Many of the women had tears streaming down their faces as they listened to […]


Several thousand years ago, Jesus arrived on a chaotic scene. He was born into a land with political strife, and He was born into an oppressed people. They lived in a state of longing, waiting, and hoping for more.  God’s people couldn’t understand why God wasn’t speaking, or where He was. He had been silent and here they were beaten down, struggling, and confused. Into the chaos, Jesus silently arrived. Humbly, quietly, where He was least expected and where He was least hoped for. Into the space of a dark night in a dirty corner came the great Deliverer. I can find myself in that chaotic place. There is crisis around me. Dear friends are hurting, crime rates are rising, and the stories I hear break me down. There is oppression and […]

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Since September, El Salvador has been getting ready for Christmas. In a country with no Halloween and no Thanksgiving to celebrate, Christmas is a really big deal and people start decorating months in advance. Like everyone else, we are getting ready for Christmas too! At MTES, Christmas is a huge opportunity for us to serve others because most of the men, women, and children involved in our ministries have no family to celebrate with this Christmas. We believe that God has called us to step in and share some joy with our friends this season. This year we are going to be celebrating Christmas with children who have no family or cannot safely be with their family, women and girls who have survived human trafficking, the community served by the […]


It feels like we’ve been “up” a lot lately.  I’ve learned in my life that if I stay up for too long, I eventually fall down. That’s why we decided to make an intentional effort to be “down” during the kids’ Christmas break from school. It gave us a chance to catch up on sleep, to take it slow, and to spend some time connecting as a family. A bonus is that we got to do lots of fun stuff that we have to put off doing when we are “up.” This is what “downtime” looks like around our house… spending time with the kiddos celebrating a traditional Latin American Christmas watching Christmas Eve fall over San Salvador lighting fireworks in the streets with our friends like crazy people looking up […]

Christmas Wrap-Up

Ok, I know it’s bad but couldn’t resist the pun…yes we are “wrapping-up” Christmas with this final update on our Christmas events. We have recently become more involved working in a community just outside of Santa Ana. We are working with one of our partners, Latin American Children’s Fund, to support a health clinic and the surrounding communities. For Christmas, we facilitated a “Christmas Fair” in the Canton Ayutuxtepeque community. The local leaders ran the whole thing, and we were just there to offer staff and support. It was the weekend before Christmas and toys and clothes were offered to the community at a discounted rate. This gave local parents the opportunity to shop for their own children (instead of the gringos just handing out stuff!) , and invest back […]

Christmas Shopping and Fireworks

El Salvador is a nation with many fatherless children. Because of crime, violence, immigration, and poverty many kids are growing up without the love and support that a family provides. These children spend much of their childhood being moved from one protection center to another which offers housing, but little else in terms of support and nurturing. There are also other types of centers, shelters, and private homes around the country and some children find themselves here because they were abused, have special needs, or are victims of horrible crimes such as human trafficking. This Christmas we were able to bring some love to some kids in El Salvador who have no family to love them, to nurture them, or to guide them. We realize that our efforts do not […]

Christmas at the Lighthouse

This Christmas we had many opportunities to share the love and hope of the season with those in need in El Salvador. The response and generosity of so many donors was amazing and very much appreciated. I know it’s a little late, but I will be posting some pictures from our various Christmas events this week. We want to start off by thanking all of our donors and volunteers who came together to make Christmas Eve special for our friends on the street. We were able to provide a turkey dinner, and a gift for 40 homeless men, women, and teenagers. We had a special program where we did games, shared a Christmas message, showed a video featuring highlights, and gave prizes to the men and women who have taken […]

The Work of Christmas Begins

I know that I have posted this in the past, but it’s still just as good. Let us begin the work that we are called to. The Work of Christmas by Howard Thurman When the song of angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flock, The work of Christmas begins; To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among brothers, To make music in the heart.

Advent Light

Something deep in our souls longs for a light in the dark. At Christmas it spills out on Christmas trees, and advent wreaths. We  desperately want to believe the words that angels proclaim in the night. This Christmas I feel like the night is dark. I am carrying burdens. My heart aches for the girl with no safe home, and for the man who has fallen again into the addiction he hates.  My stomach turns at the poverty and desperation. The world groans under the weight of the darkness. Is this the groan that God heard from heaven on high? The cries of humanity thrown out into the night? He would not stand by. Divinity would step down, down into the groaning darkness and be born as a mortal child. God born like us. […]

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