Urban Ministry

Mother, We See You – Madre, Te Veo

Mother, we see you.  We know you have overcome so much. The poverty, the personal trauma, the trauma your children have faced. We know you want to heal.  Today, you are honored, and celebrated, and loved. You have dignity and you have purpose. Maybe no one has ever thanked you for the sacrifices you have made. Today we notice them, and we know how hard it has been.  Perhaps no one has said how much He loves you, how you were made in His image. Perhaps you don’t even know that as a mother you show so much of Him, His heart, to the world.  Mother, you are so loved. We see you today.  —————————————————————– Last week we had our annual Mother’s Day celebration with all of the beautiful mothers that […]

Something to Celebrate – Una Razón para Celebrar

Once a month we have a birthday party at the Lighthouse Project. We celebrate everyone who is having a birthday that month. We started doing this when we realized that our clients didn’t get birthday parties. They didn’t get to be the center of attention once a year, they didn’t have anyone honoring them. Knowing our clients as our friends gives us something to celebrate because they are worthy of celebrating. They have dignity in the sight of God, they are amazing men and women making courageous decisions each and every day to keep moving forward in spite of the lies and hate that swirl around them. Such heavy burdens are being carried by our friends. They bear the weight of years of addiction, of extreme and grinding poverty. They suffer […]

Seeing Through New Eyes – Viendo la Vida con Nuevos Ojos

There are so many days that our clients see themselves through eyes of self-doubt, or frustration. They may even see themselves through the eyes of an abuser, or through the lens of a traumatic circumstance. Our prayer is that over time that would begin to change. Our goal is to help them to see that they are loved, and that God truly loves them. Our dream is for them to see themselves as valuable, cared for, and worthy. We hope that when they arrive at our building, they see people that care for them. We hope that they see a future that can be theirs, and we hope that they see healing. Our goal is to provide an environment where they can see all of those things, and where they […]

Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 3 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 3

“Violence is an obstacle that prevents women from developing their own initiatives, and economic activities.”                       -Ana Elena Badilla, UN Women representative In El Salvador, violence is a significant risk factor for women and a very real obstacle to their personal and economic development. The gangs which control so much of the country, plus the deeply entrenched machismo, create an environment where women are not safe in their own neighborhoods. Gang control is so pervasive in neighborhoods around El Salvador, that many girls are forced into sexual slavery as girlfriends of local gang leaders. The girls have no choice in the matter…they must join the gang or be killed. The problem has become so grave that young girls are fleeing El Salvador, and […]

Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 2 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 2

Being a woman in El Salvador means being strong, courageous, and inventive. It means not giving up. It means working, raising children, and moving forward in your life. Too often, it means doing all of these things alone. In 2015 185,625 women in El Salvador were registered as the head of their households according to an official survey conducted by OISS (Organización Iberoamerica de Seguridad Social). Of that number 2,689 of those women registered were between the ages of 15 and 19. These women are supporting their homes economically and emotionally and most often without the help of a husband or partner. There are many single moms involved in our programs, and I admire each and every one of them. They earn money for their families, raise their kids, and […]

“I have two feet!” – “¡Tengo dos pies!”

Last month we had the joy and privilege of hosting a team of medical professionals from Mission to the World. They brought with them their expertise and their medications, but more than that they brought their hearts. They visited the cancer ward of a local children’s hospital in partnership with CCI, our church here in El Salvador and they spent four straight days seeing patients onsite at the Lighthouse Project, and also at the Latin American Children’s Fund Clinic. They didn’t complain about the heat and long days, they simply loved and cared for our clients. One of the members of the team works in the physical therapy world and on the second day at the Lighthouse Project he was seeing one of our clients. She had many aches and […]

New Dawn is Open! —-¡Un Nuevo Amanecer abre sus puertas!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity as we put the finishing touches on the New Dawn residential program! The new rooms are set up, and all of the new staff have been hired and are finishing up their orientation and training for the program this week. Now we all take a deep breath as we wait for the kids to move in. So much planning and dreaming has gone into making this program a reality that it’s hard to believe that we have finally come to this point! We already have one kid walking through the admissions process, and we are excited to share that *Rodrigo is that kid! After hearing his story, many of you began to pray for him, and many chose to partner […]

Christmas Update / Navidad en MTES

We had a joyful Christmas with all of our clients this year! So many of those we serve don’t have any family to celebrate the holidays with so it means so much to them to be part of our celebrations at MTES!                 We were able to throw two parties for the survivors that we serve! These girls and women have been through so much hurt and pain in their young lives, so we love to give them a chance to smile! This year we threw a party and gave gifts to 7 child trafficking survivors in addition to having a Christmas party for all the women in Free The Girls, and their children! There was such a beautiful moment at this party […]

Meditations on the Advent Season…Peace / Reflexiones sobre la Época Navideña..Paz

How can we find peace in a world that is so broken? How can we breathe deep and close our eyes and be at rest in a world where children are caught in war zones, and women are sold as slaves? How can we find respite for our souls when diseases wipe out whole villages, and addictions claim lives? Where is the peace that is promised us in the candlelight? How can a weary world lift its heads to hear the angels sing? So much is wrong, so much is battered and seems beyond repair. This tension between the two Advents of Christ is almost unbearable. The weight of the world pushes down on our shoulders, and the dark blocks our sight. Into such a world was born our Christ. […]

Numbers – Cifras

I opened the newspaper, and the numbers screamed out at me. A lot of talk about El Salvador is reduced to its numbers. Number one murder rate in the world…Leading the world in the number of child homicides every day…Number one rate of femicide…Record numbers of undocumented child refugees fleeing El Salvador for the U.S…High numbers of daily deportations. Headline after headline points to the number of the dead, the number of criminals, the number of students dropping out of school because of the violence, the number of new shelters being set up around the country as families are forced out of their homes by the killings on their doorsteps. The numbers climb until they swirl around like some vast, dark cloud of despair. The numbers can crush us. When […]

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