Last week was an exhausting, but really encouraging week. We spent a week doing a kids camp in the Gerardo Barrios slum community. In El Salvador, the public schools take their summer vacation from the end of November until mid-January, so this was our opportunity to do a camp with these kids while they are out of school. We had around 50 kids ages 5-12 come each day last week to participate.
I’ve done kids events like these back in the States, but this was a little different. For starters, it was right in the kids’ backyards so there were a lot of adults around observing what was going on. It also was right in the middle of a slum, alongside a major highway in San Salvador. The houses around us were pieces of wood or bamboo fitted with trash bags, old pieces of canvas, sheet metal, and cardboard to form homes. There were gang slogans spray painted on crumbled down concrete walls, and on the sheet metal sides of buildings. Stray dogs ran around everywhere.
The thing I always struggle with going into this community is the future that these kids face. It’s hard for me not to think of that…will these boys be gang members in just a few years? Will the girls be pregnant or become prostitutes before they can get an education? Is there hope?
There is always hope. When God is in the picture, there is always, always hope. So last week, we brought hope into this community. We did games, crafts, snacks, and shared a Bible story with the kids each day. We also had a lot of fun singing songs and learning Bible verses with the kids.
On the last day we had a big party with animal piñatas, games, animal face cupcakes, and some bikes for the kids to ride on. We finished the week out by giving each child a gift of new clothing.
It was a great week, and we want to say a special thank you to all of our donors who made it possible to do this week. We could not have done it without those of you who donate to our ministry! When you donate, you are impacting the lives of people in El Salvador, and we thank you for that. We were blessed by volunteers from here in El Salvador and from the States who came to help out as well…thank you! We also want to say thanks to Discovery Christian Church for sharing ideas from their children’s ministry, and we want to give a special thanks to those of you who specifically prayed for us last week. The week was a great success and we are already looking forward to next year!
Here are some pictures from the week:
The kids dancing along with the opening songs.
Some of the boys show off their creations.
Walking from station to station. The kids were divided into four groups and rotated between two shelters for the activities.
Listening to the story.
These kids don’t have their own bikes, so getting to spend time riding these was a real surprise and treat for them.
Yummy animal cupcakes baked by Florence bakery in San Salvador to go with the animal theme of the week.
A party is not a party without diving for the candy from the piñata!
Kids lining up to receive their new clothes.