This past summer we had the joy of hosting Aimee as our summer intern! She made the tough decision to give up a summer of earning money in Canada to raise support and give her time to serve at Mission To El Salvador. Before she left, she shared some of her reflections on her time with us. Check out her words below as she shares the part of her volunteer ministry that impacted her most during her summer of service in El Salvador.
One recurring event that had the biggest impact on me was feeding the homeless Thursday nights. Growing up as a Christian I have always understood the importance of prayer, and I have never struggled to pray- until I came here. Driving around the downtown streets of San Salvador and seeing the living conditions of the people on the streets broke my heart. It was so hard to see people sleeping in literal piles of garbage, some using cardboard or trash bags to cover themselves.
I distinctly remember the first night I went with the staff. I had only been in El Salvador a couple days at this point, and I was riding up front in the cab of the truck as there was a big team that week. I thought I would spend that ride as prayer support, since I wasn’t in the back helping pass out meals. As we set out I readied my heart and mind to pray for the people we were going out to serve. I didn’t utter a single prayer that night. I have never experienced being at such a loss for words. As we drove around the city and I saw the stark reality of the poverty so many were living in, I couldn’t think of where to even begin my prayers.
One person I’ll never forget was a little girl, who didn’t look much older than seven or eight years old. She wandered up to the truck alone to get her bag of food. I tried to form words to pray. I could pray for her safety. I could pray that she has somewhere warm and dry to sleep tonight. I could pray that she would be safe from anyone who might take advantage of her. I could pray for her future opportunities, for education and a life beyond the streets. There are so many countless things I could pray for this child in particular, but I was so overwhelmed by all the needs of this one child I didn’t know where to start.
As I looked into the faces of the hundreds of people that we passed that night I couldn’t utter a single coherent prayer. This was such a humbling experience. Here I am, here to serve, and I can’t even pray quietly by myself. I was reminded that God knows. God knows the prayers I couldn’t form. He sees these people. He knows them all by name, He knows their stories and He knows their struggles. He knows what they need, and He knew I needed to be reminded of how He is here and He is all knowing.
This was another reminder to surrender everything I do, and everything I would do in my time with MTES up to Him. Without Him, I can do nothing. Helplessness is the worst feeling, but praise God that He is a God who gives hope and restores broken things. I still struggle to find the words to pray sometimes, but I have developed a habit of wordless prayers. Keeping my heart and mind open to the Holy Spirit, just giving everything up to God because only He truly knows.
These words are just a snapshot into the many ways that Aimee grew in her compassion for El Salvador and her trust in God while she served. Her Spanish skills and cross-cultural understanding grew as she learned about El Salvador and partnered with our staff. She demonstrated again and again how God can work in our lives when we just live open-handed in service to Him.
Thank you Aimee for serving with us and for being so willing to give your heart, time, and compassion!