Jon in Panama

Jon recently returned from a week-long gathering in Panama of all the YWAM leaders from North, Central, and South America. He had the chance to connect with other leaders in YWAM, hear some updates on things YWAM is doing around the world, and to take time to rest and reflect on our work here in El Salvador. While he was gone, the kids and I dealt with a few bumps in the road including an iguana hiding out in Tori’s dollhouse and a stolen purse (more on that some other day)! We were glad to be together again just in time for the kids to compete in a karate tournament in Guatemala last weekend. They did great, and we enjoyed the time as a family. Here are some pictures that Jon […]

Tolkien and Tragedy

Sitting at my desk in El Salvador, the news reports are pouring in…bombings, death in Boston. I scroll down the other news stories and I read about death in the Middle East, hatred in Asia. I take in the local news stories. Gangs at war, youth lost again. “So much death. What can man do against such reckless hate?” These epic words were spoken by King Theoden in the second film installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Those of you who know me, know that I am a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan. I’ve read the books, and a weekend spent in a LOTR movie marathon is a great weekend as far as I’m concerned. I think Tolkien resonates with so many people because his themes of tyranny, tragedy, […]

El Salvador Coffee and Dessert

There haven’t been too many updates from El Salvador lately because the kids and I are in the States! We have been blessed with a great opportunity to visit friends and family and touch base with supporting churches and donors. We’ve been to Philadelphia and spent some time in Baltimore, and now we are in Pittsburgh! This Sunday, July 8th we will be at our sending church Discovery Christian Church in Cranberry Township. Stop by and see us! Next week we will return to Baltimore before heading back home to El Salvador. On Thursday, July 12th at 7:30pm , my parents are opening up their home so that we have the opportunity to touch base with friends and supporters in the area and anyone who wants to hear more about […]


    This is a picture of a recent assignment that Tori completed for her first grade class. Each student needed to explain and illustrate basic rights of all children. They chose five that they thought were important to include in their project. Under the title, “Children’s Rights” Tori chose to include: the right to eat, the right to clean water, the right to have a name, the right to health, and the right to learn. These were the rights that she felt were most important for all children everywhere. As a first grader, I don’t think I ever thought about children’s rights around the world. I took it for granted that I had a name, food and water, a doctor’s office to visit,and a school to attend. During the 80s, while […]


I’m not good at going to the broken places, and spending time with the broken people. I still squirm sometimes, and feel uncomfortable. I still struggle to connect, to find common ground. I wonder why I’m going in the first place. I’m going because I’m broken too. But I forget it, I ignore it, I feel like it can’t possibly be true. I forget that my own soul is messed up, and twisted, and in need to grace. I lose sight of that far too easily. Last night some of our staff spent time talking to a few young men and women who trade sex for money and drugs. Around the world, millions of women, men, and children are trapped in the sex trade whether because they feel they have no options, or because they […]

More Than Fishing Lessons

“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.” We have all heard this proverb. The concepts are simple. If you do for someone what they can do for themselves, you are ultimately hurting them. If you take the time to walk through the process with them, you can change their  life. Us Americans are guilty of handing out a lot of fish around the world. It’s done some damage. Americans enter a situation with money, and power, and influence. We see people who are poor and we respond by giving them stuff. This isn’t always bad, and Americans have helped many people around the world. When it becomes bad is when we don’t […]

We’re Back!

We didn’t fall of the face of the earth…we were just visiting a different part of it, and now we’re back! We had a great trip to the U.S.A. to visit our families in Maryland and in Pennsylvania. The kids had a blast, and it was a much needed break from our life in El Salvador.  It was so nice to catch up with friends and family, and we met with a few of our sponsoring churches. It was so encouraging to hear the excitement of those who support our work! It was difficult to say good-bye, and that won’t change no matter how many times we do it. The time with friends and family was exactly what we needed, and especially what I needed personally. The kids loved getting […]

Christmas in the Slum

  “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,  Prince of Peace.”     ISAIAH 9:2, 6 Imagine if you lived in poverty. Imagine that you lost your home in an earthquake, or a mudslide, or because you couldn’t pay the rent. Imagine that gangs were trying to recruit your ten year old son to join their ranks. Imagine that your home was made of carboard and scap metal that made it horribly hot, or let cool wind blow right through. Imagine that you went […]

My Top Ten Biggest Things I’ve Learned in the Last Two Years

Today I was chatting with another mom while we were waiting for Ian’s Kinder class to be dismissed. She asked me how long we had been in El Salvador. I thought for a minute and realized it’s been two years today! November 16, 2009 was the fateful day where we arrived in El Salvador with a lot of ideas, a little bit of  Spanish, and a whole bunch of unknowns. But two years changes a lot. So I decided to list “My Top Ten Biggest Things I’ve Learned In the Last Two Years”. Okay, that was a long title, but I promise the list only has ten things.  By the way,  if you’d like to read another really lame top ten list I made, you can visit this link. Okay, here we go: […]

Spider Slaying and Other Adventures

I have a new name…just call me “Spider Slayer!” I’ve killed two ugly, hairy tarantulas during the last week. I’m not the type who is afraid of bugs or insects but I don’t like anything that SQUISHES when you kill it. Let me assure you that these things definitely squish. Of course, the first lovely spider arrived in my dining room while Jon was in the States. He took a quick trip last week to grieve the loss of his grandfather and support his family during this difficult time. Thankfully, he found a discounted plane fare at the last minute and was able to make this trip. His grandfather Hetzel Snyder will definitely be missed! Meanwhile, the kids and I held down the fort, defending our own against invading spiders. […]

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