Thinking About God

Saliendo a la Superficie – Breaking through the Ground

Por Alexia Rodríguez  Sembrar y cuidar plantas es quizás uno de mis pasatiempos favoritos. En El Salvador tenemos una planta a la que comúnmente se le llama: Ginger. Es una especie de mata que puede crecer y crecer, con hojas verdes largas y una flor muy particular y muy linda. Hay Gingers rojos y Gingers rosados. Me encanta ponerlos en floreros de vidrio…¡Se ven espectaculares! Y pueden durar en buen estado entre 10 y 15 días. Siempre los admiraba en la casa de mi tía –y los cortaba para hacer arreglos…!-, hasta que un día ella me regaló algunos para sembrarlos en mi jardín, y así lo hice. ¡Me emocionó la idea de por fin tener mis propios Ginger en casa! El “pequeño” detalle que no sabía es que sembrarlos […]

Soul-Tending – Cuidando el Alma

I remember in my childhood, my mother always had a garden. We always joked about her “green children” because of the time she spent bent over that garden. She would kneel down and gently tend the young plants, work to create an environment for growth, and do everything she could to protect those tender greens from outside predators who would seek to consume them. Tending a soul is not so different. There is kneeling, and toiling. There is a gentle pushing away of dirt, and fierce war against outside forces that would move in to destroy. There are fledging greens that push up through the soil, and we celebrate them and work to make their environment all that it possibly can be so that those sprouts can one day be […]

Father’s Day in El Salvador – El Día del Padre en El Salvador

A special thanks to guest blogger, Alexia Rodriguez, one of our staff members, for sharing her thoughts… “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” Psalm 27:10 There are obvious differences between the way that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are celebrated, at least in El Salvador. Here Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10, and this year is was a Wednesday.  Department stores and malls had discounts, sales, and gifts starting the Friday before so everyone could spoil their moms. On the actual day, these places were full of lines of last minute-shoppers, restaurants had no space left for those who didn’t make reservations, parking lots were full of cars, and flowers were being sold for marked-up prices on every street corner. And […]

Rest – Descanso

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”   These words from Jesus are recorded in Matthew 11:28-30 and they invite us to walk leaning on Him, sharing our burdens, and letting Him do the heavy lifting in our lives. Sometimes we think it’s so much easier to lift the heavy stuff on our own. But then we end up burned out, spent, frustrated, and lonely. The temptation to work it all out on our own is hard to shake because it’s easier to hold my family and […]

Bandera

This past January 16th, El Salvador celebrated 25 years since Peace Accords were signed to end a brutal civil war. That same week a piece of art went on display in MARTE, El Salvador’s art museum, to celebrate the anniversary. The piece of art quite literally laid out the still fought for peace that so many long for. That artist’s name is Carmen Elena Trigueros and her piece is called simply Bandera, meaning “flag.” I recently chaperoned a field trip with my daughter’s class and Bandera was one of the pieces featured by the guide. When I saw Bandera I stood there small, struck by the beauty of the piece and the enormity of the task spilling out across the floor. The flag was white and long and stretched up […]

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 […]

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 […]

Unseen

“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters,  though your footprints were not seen.”  Psalm 77:19 My father told me to follow the rocky steps across the river where it swirled and raced below the waterfall. He told me to step from rock to rock and I could safely cross. I could see the first few rocks mossy and green beneath my feet but as the river swarmed and the path grew deeper I could no longer see the steps. I could simply feel them out with my toes, sense where they were. Behind me my father called to keep going straight through, until I reached the glistening bank across the water. The river wasn’t so deep after all, it just seemed that way because it […]

A Gateway of Hope

I have been reading some truly horrific things in the news here in El Salvador this week. A six year old girl was barbarically raped and murdered as part of a gang initiation rite. A police agent was brutally killed in front of his children. Meanwhile, the daily grind of violence pushes school attendance down and pulls the homicide rate up. I try to hide the paper from my children and swallow the physically ill feelings that this news brings. It seems like there is nothing left to do in the face of such reckless evil than to simply despair, give up, and wave the white flag. We deeply love this country, and it feels like it’s falling down before my eyes. How can I tell people that they can get […]

Gone Fishin’

One of the things that our clients truly look forward to is the chance to get off the streets and out of the city for the day. A few weeks ago, we took a group of guys down to La Libertad to fish off the pier. They watched the fishermen come in and out with their catch, they ate some seafood, and they tried fishing themselves. They loved it! Fishing is not for the impatient. It takes time, and there are no guarantees. If the fish aren’t biting, a fisherman could stand on that pier all day long gazing into the blue water and waiting for something to grab hold of the bait. The truth is, that our work sometimes feels like a long day of fishing. There are no guarantees and […]

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