Lighthouse Resource Center

REBORN

Today’s guest blogger is MTES staff member, Cecilia Leiva de Benavides. Thank you Cecy for sharing! When we were little and talked to our siblings about what “super power” we wanted to have, there was one power that was the most desired, and that was to go back and travel through time. I think that more than once, even as adults, we have had the desire to go back in time and think of all that we could do if that was possible. That way we could correct actions that brought us unpleasant consequences, actions that have destroyed moments that could have been lovely memories, or actions that have wounded people that we really love. That was the wish of one of our clients whose son is still a baby, […]

REBUILDING FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Today’s guest blogger is MTES staff member David Aguiluz, and he shares a unique perspective as both a recovering addict and an addiction therapist.  Speaking about addictions is a complex topic. It’s not a topic that focuses solely on drug use. Instead, it focuses on “the compulsive use, abuse, or obsession with an activity, relationship, or substance in which biological, genetic, psychological, and social factors converge.” This is the way the World Health Organization (WHO) defines addiction.  I want to take a moment to focus on two of these factors…not because they are the most important but because they are the ones on which I focus my professional work everyday: the psychological and social factors of addictions.  These are where we focus our interventions in order to provide rehabilitation from […]

BBQ WITH A CAUSE

There are many things that we hope for our clients, but I think one of our biggest hopes is that they will dream big dreams. Maybe they will dream for the first time, or maybe they will start dreaming once again. About 6 months ago, I sat down to eat lunch with Oscar. He has been in and out of our programs for a few years. During COVID, he came to our shelter where he was able to jump start his sobriety. Now he is one of our “clients in transition” meaning that he is taking great steps forward in recovery, and working on transitioning back into full reintegration into society. He is committed to spiritual growth through our Bible studies, he is being coached and mentored by our case […]

WHEN DEATH WORKS BACKWARDS

“When a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”        -C.S Lewis in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe We are about to begin Holy Week in El Salvador. The week is observed around the country in various ways, but this year I hope to have some quiet moments to reflect on what it means to go from death to life, and to see death itself overcome. The quote is from a children’s book beloved by many. The hero of the story is Aslan and he is ultimately resurrected. The words above come from his mouth as he shares the greatest secret of all…when a perfect sacrifice dies for a […]

ONE YEAR IN

Who else is stepping into March wearily? It is one year into the pandemic and we are all tired.   In El Salvador, children can be seen everywhere all the time because schools have yet to open for in-person classes. There are still people on the side of the highway waving white flags, but thankfully far less than there used to be. Lots of people are looking for work, or for extra work to make up for income lost over the strictest phase of the lockdown. Others are still searching for ways to pay for damages to their homes and property suffered from the tropical storms that slammed El Salvador last year.   Our clients are facing some new challenges too, and many people have joined our daily lunch line […]

Survival Kits for the Holidays

Perhaps the most amazing miracle we have seen in 2020 is unexpected sobriety for our clients. It began in the quarantine shelter that we opened during the strictest phase of El Salvador’s lockdown, and since that time 9 of our clients have had tremendous success in their recovery. Many of them are now facing their biggest challenge yet…the Christmas break. Our regular programs are on hold for the holidays, so our team has worked hard to develop a strategy to provide the best possible plan of success for our clients. Through a series of therapy sessions, we have rolled out “kits” for vacation providing all kinds of tools to help our clients manage the free time, triggers, and other stress that the holidays bring. The kits include an exercise guide, […]

Keep Dreaming!

This year has brought hardship, but it hasn’t kept our clients from dreaming. There are still goals, and aspirations…there is still hope! It truly is the Salvadoran way, and we are privileged to be “dream facilitators” here at Mission To El Salvador! As we begin this process of reopening, we are working to help our clients reflect on what was lost, and take a moment to regroup and begin to dream and plan for the future once again. We invite you to join us in “listening in” on some of our clients’ own stories of surviving so far this year with dreams intact. When COVID struck, New Dawn had to close down and shift to a virtual model. The boys didn’t want to leave and their families weren’t quite prepared […]

Sacred Celebrations

There are frivolous celebrations, and there are traditional ones. Other celebrations are because of routine, or obligation. Some are cultural or mandated by our families. And then there are celebrations that can’t be described as anything other than sacred. Sacred celebrations are the ones that hold an air of the miraculous, that send a shiver down the spine, and pushes tears to our eyes. These are the celebrations we thought we might never see, the ones that defy fear, and chaos, and the brokenness that’s unfolding in the backdrop. In our small corner of the world, we have had the true joy of experiencing two such sacred celebrations in recent days. Moments of healing and discovery…the honoring of new things, new beginnings, and new lives. The first was two weeks […]

Human Touch

Thank you to Alexia, one of our coordinators at the Lighthouse Resource Center, for blogging today about her own thoughts and struggles working with our clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. She provides great insight into unique challenges faced by Salvadorans during this time.  COVID-19 has been devastating to the world on so many levels that it’s impossible to focus on just one, but clearly one of the main ones is the way in which we relate to people. The famous “social distancing” has minimized physical contact. The use of masks, face shields, disposable gowns, and gloves have clearly marked how much people prefer (or should) distance themselves from others. The World Health Organization has created a campaign with short, but very significant phrases in order to make the world of […]

When It Rains, It Pours

El Salvador is still reeling from a tragedy on top of a tragedy. Last week in the middle of the ongoing health, economic, and democratic crisis brought on by COVID-19, Tropical Storm Amanda slammed into El Salvador’s coast and then leveled a direct hit on San Salvador causing major destruction. The storm arrived on Sunday night, and by the end of the week rain from another storm, Tropical Storm Cristobal, was also lashing the country. The rising waters left 27 dead from floods and landslides and thousands more homeless. Large chunks of highways collapsed, major roads were underwater, and just mud remains where houses once stood. The destruction was swift and complete in many communities. Many who didn’t lose everything still suffered damage from the winds and heavy rains. The […]

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