Today’s blog is in Madalyn Chevalier’s words. She just finished a five month internship with us and she had some closing thoughts as she finished the last weeks of her internship.
So many wonderful things have happened that I barely know where to start! The more I think about it, the most ministry comes from friendships created with clients. Yes we provide therapy.Yes, we provide drug-dependency workshops. But that is not the whole story.
It is dangerous and decieving to just tell one story. Yes, El Salvador has issues but if you choose to only listen to one story, you will never hear of the continued rise in healing and revival. You will never hear of the miracles happening every day as people find hope in Jesus. Not because us “white people” came in and saved the day. No.
Jesus was already here working years before.
The beautiful people here know more about any Bible story and have a closer relationship with Jesus than I ever could. Of course there is nothing wrong with raising awareness about the issues of poverty, addiction, and trafficking…but how messed up is our system if we only want to “sponsor a child” who looks starving or has a skin color different than ours? But what is the next step? Money runs out and it doesn’t fix everything. What about the long run?
I have seen that Mission To El Salvador is an organization that focuses on dignifying, loving, and respecting our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We don’t want to shine a spotlight on ourselves. We want to illuminate the talents, goodness, and gifts that our clients bring to the table.
These questions must stir the true heart of the church…do we see people as projects? Or really as people? Are we really helping others, or are we trying to highlight the goodness we do? Are good intentions enough when we may hurt others in the process?
I have learned how to humble myself and lay down the pride that I know everyone has. This complex of “I’ve come to change people’s lives. I’m here to save the day. Never fear, the white savior is here!” is wrong. It’s been hard and I’m not going to say it hasn’t. It punched me in the throat when I realized this is what most Americans like me have thought when they go on short-term mission trips. I am filled with shame to say I was guilty of these thoughts on multiple levels.
But now I have created friendships with staff members and clients, and I know the way I tell their stories that I have experienced is very important. Would they feel dignified if they heard me? Would they feel loved if they were sitting next to me? Or am I glorifying myself?
I cannot express the love I feel for my friends here. I am truly going to miss the sweetness and love that each staff member brings, and the silly times with clients and the laughs that we share. I had the opportunity to share my first message at Bible study, and experience the love when they threw me a birthday party. The way they made me laugh when I didn’t feel like taking another Spanish lesson, and the encouragement from little notes for no other reason than just to make me smile.
God knew that I needed a family here. God truly provided me with some of the most amazing friends that I have had in my lifetime. I truly and seriously want everyone to have an experience like I did. The greatest things happen when you step out of your comfort zone and step into the place that God has set in your life to experience.