Thinking About God

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 […]

When Success Means Faithfulness

  “God has not called me to be successful, He has called me to be faithful.”  – Mother Teresa How do you measure success in a pandemic? How can you even tell if you are carrying out your mission? Completing your work well? Completing your work at all? Somedays over the last five months have felt like a free fall. Then a stop. Adjust course. Fall again. Repeat. Changing circumstances, new normals, and complete upheaval have been standard operating procedure. First the shelter, then emergency relief, now finally…finally a reopening plan is in the works for us at Mission To El Salvador. But we still don’t know what things will look like in a month. All of our plans and projections for 2020 have been stripped away. The missions we […]

Stay at Home

More words from Alexia, a case manager at the Lighthouse Resource Center… A few days ago, I was talking to someone about the current COVID-19 crisis and all of its implications. He mentioned his bosses were concerned because “if their clients lose their clients, than the business would lose theirs too” since they would no longer have a need for the company’s services. The economy is being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, the quarantines, and other necessary, but extreme, security measures that have been taken everywhere. The questions of “how?”, “why?”, and “when?” exacerbate the uncertainty that we are all feeling. Many times in these days, the lack of answers to these questions have left us feeling overwhelmed, tired, and even hopeless. That phrase, “if their clients lose their […]

Prayers for Holy Week

Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions that Jesus’ disciples faced on that very first Holy Week? It seemed that all they dreamed would happen was coming true as the week began, but by Friday they were crushed, scared, and running for their lives. They had no idea that after that darkest of hours they would see resurrection firsthand. But how they must have struggled, and questioned, and weeped together. This year across the world we are forced to be still as we enter into Holy Week. There are no spring vacations, or family Easter dinners, or large and elaborate church services to plan. All of us have a moment to contemplate, to breath it in, to consider what it means to face death and to hope against hope […]

Reflections in a Crisis

  The world has always been broken. But today the cracks aren’t so well hidden, the frayed edges aren’t so neatly tucked away. Our weakness rises to the surface, is laid bare. Our real souls are showing without our idols taking up space. Safety, financial security, health, sports, relationships, fitness, education, our church…all of the things that prop us up have fallen away. The world is turned upside down. Uncertainty and fear slips across borders, isn’t reserved for only the most desperate, and wraps around us all. Economies grind down, the frailty of our health care system glares out at us, the vulnerability of our bodies and souls to unseen and unknown forces can’t be denied any longer. This morning in El Salvador, hungry people spilled out of  barred up […]

Faithful

Faithful. I can’t really think of another word to describe how I felt after reviewing and evaluating how things went around here in 2019. We just published our 2019 Annual Report so feel free to take a look. In the meantime, here are a few highlights: Last year we inaugurated the Lighthouse Resource Center. Since opening our doors, 350 clients have walked through those open doors, and 11.14% of them have entered into our “level system” where they have the opportunity to invest more of themselves and receive more of an investment from us. We’ve learned the issues facing these clients are complex, but we are reaching them. For our first year, we are pretty excited to see that members of our community are making decisions for change, finding healing, […]

Default – En Modo

Full disclosure? Sometimes my default setting becomes hopeless. Or frustrated. Maybe discouraged. Or even ashamed. Yes, I’m ashamed to admit that there are days that I want to give up. We’ve faced enough hard things as a staff that I know it’s not just me. The thing is there are some days when the broken systems around me feel like mountains that are just too big to climb. It’s like I’m spinning my wheels trying to wind up a muddy slope. It’s messy, and I end up feeling tired and dirty by the end of the day. But some days are different. This past Monday was one of those days. If you follow our work, you know that we launched the Lighthouse Resource Center back in January. We have celebrated […]

The Work of Christmas – La Obra de Navidad

It’s the day after Christmas. The house is a mess, the presents are unwrapped. The shopping and rushing and gathering has stopped. The anticipation and magic and waiting is over. This is when the real work begins. The coming of Jesus, God Incarnate, was just the beginning. After his life and death and return to heaven, our calling, our work began. So today we consider…what is our task? The following poem was written by Howard Thurman, an African-American theologian and civil rights leader. He was one who understood that because of God with us, there is much work for those who follow him. Let us begin. “The Work of Christmas” by Howard Thurman When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when […]

To the Volunteer Coming from Outside – A Los Voluntarios que Vienen de Afuera

Today one of our summer interns, Savanna Groft, is sharing some of her thoughts about her volunteer experience, as well as some words of wisdom for anyone thinking of volunteering with a non-profit organization.  Most credible texts, whether the Bible, a journal article, or some other scholarly work, emphasize that real change happens from the inside out. Jesus made it very clear that what makes us clean or unclean is what comes from within our hearts, not external things, like food, that we put into our bodies (Matthew 15:11, 17-20). Scientists, even those who think nurture plays a big role in our lives, will tell you that nature, or what exists within us, is integral to our development. The same concept applies to cultures and social systems. I came to El […]

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