Third Culture Kids

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas in El Salvador is always so much fun, and this year was no exception! There is a lot of joy to be found in bringing laughter, joy, and hope to those who feel disconnected from family and community during the holidays. We are grateful that we had the opportunity to step in and minister to our clients who may otherwise feel alone during the Christmas season. We want to say a big thanks to our donors for helping to make our Christmas celebrations happen this year! We gave gifts and threw parties for all the survivors that we work with, we had a huge party in the CISNA boys’ center, and we had our annual Christmas Eve party where we invited all of our clients off the streets and […]

Christmas at the Lighthouse Project

This year on Christmas Eve we had two parties to celebrate Christmas and enjoy a Christmas meal with our friends at the Lighthouse Project. It has become our tradition to stay open on December 24th which is the day that Christmas is celebrated in El Salvador. For many of those we serve, we are the only family that they have, and our center is the only place they go for a Christmas celebration. We had a great time giving special recognition to those members of our programs that have stepped up to serve this year, Jon shared a Christmas message, we handed out Christmas gifts, and enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner. Our two seatings were a success, and our whole family had a great time serving together. Thank you so […]

An Afternoon in Ataco

Well, this is not a travel blog, but I still like to share bits and pieces of what El Salvador is like. There is a colonial legacy here that adds to the color and history of the country. Learning about culture and history are important elements to take into account when living and serving outside of our own contexts. There is value in seeking to understand the story that someone else has behind their life. A month or so ago the kids and I spent the afternoon with some friends in the colonial town of Ataco. We really enjoyed just walking the cobblestone streets, and exploring some local shops. I always enjoy when I get to be out of the city and be a tourist in El Salvador. The day was […]


We just got back from a week long family vacation in Roatan, Honduras. It was the first time in five years of living here that we have gotten away with just our kids. We were able to connect with them after a busy few months, clear our heads of burnout and ministry worries, and spend a whole week not even talking about work stuff. The kids loved having us to themselves, and they declared it their “best trip ever.” I think that we all needed it, and the fact that we are so close to the Caribbean gave us a beautiful place to rest and recharge. We had the island nearly to ourselves since we slipped in at the end of the low season before cruise ships and crowds take […]

Independence Day Weekend

I hate when the blog starts to fall behind, but it’s inevitable with crazy weeks like this past week’s party madness. So, I am finally getting around to an update about Independence Day weekend. Independence Day in El Salvador is on September 15th. On that day in 1821 El Salvador declared independence from Spain. Today it is celebrated through special events in schools, towns, and all kinds of public places. This year we had the added bonus of a three day weekend because the holiday fell on a Monday. Some Salvadoran friends invited us to their “rancho” on the beach in the eastern party of the country where we have never been before. El Salvador never falls to surprise and delight me and this weekend was no exception. The beaches are […]

Just Barely

This month marks 5 years (5 years!!!) since we moved out of the quiet suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and into the new reality of cross-cultural ministry. I remember starting out on our journey and feeling like I was taking my first steps onto a big, tall mountain. The adventure was thrilling and the climb surely seemed possible. God felt so close, like He was breathing there right beside me. So many days He still does, and the adventure is still thrilling. But sometimes the climbing gets rough, and we reach places that we just can’t pass. Things like the death of a parent, a cancer diagnosis, or a tragic accident. These impassable places knock the breath right out of us and bring us to our knees. Or maybe the slow […]

Names on a Wall – Our Visit to a Civil War Memorial

The summer has flown by so fast! Today our last intern is finishing her last day of work. Every year we hope that our interns can learn a little something about El Salvador while they are here, so we try to start the summer off with a short history lesson. Back in June on a rainy morning we took our kids and our interns to visit the memorial wall in Parque Cuscatlan before heading to the National Cathedral downtown. Our friend Cruz shared some history about the war with our interns. The wall was built to honor the more than 75,000 Salvadorans who were killed during the Salvadoran Civil War in the 80s and early 90s. The memorial is called “Monumento a la Memoria y la Verdad” which means the […]

Spring Break

We just arrived back in the city after two days at the beach. We are in the middle of Semana Santa, which means “Holy Week” and everyone has off of school and work. My mother-in-law is here so we are doing some fun touristy things and getting a moment to catch our breath. My favorite part of spring break is not the beach, or the special events, or even the change in the routine. My favorite part is that my kids are in the house all week. I love hanging out with them and I know that all too soon spring break will be time that they want to spend with their friends, or it will be a vacation that they get from the far away college where they attend. So […]


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 […]

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