It’s that time of year when many people set aside time to volunteer outside of their normal context…whether in a different city or around the world, they are often anticipating an experience that will change them. We hope that everyone who visits our site has the chance to learn and serve, to change others and to be changed…mutual transformation is one of our goals!
Please join us as we prepare to welcome our summer intern and our summer Service and Learning teams! You can take a moment to read one of the testimonies from one of our 2022 team members…
“When my family signed up for a mission trip to El Salvador, I was excited but nervous. Nervous because I didn’t speak Spanish, didn’t see how my skills would help the people of El Salvador, didn’t know if El Salvador was safe, and didn’t know how my teenage sons would fit into the group. You might have noticed a pattern. I….I….I. I was making the trip about my family and me, but, as he always does, God met me in my uncertainty and showed me mission trips are all about His glory and that I didn’t need to worry.
God erased my fear and blessed me with relationships with our incredible translators and the clients of Mission to El Salvador. The fact that I didn’t speak Spanish wasn’t an issue because Mission to El Salvador hired translators to help our team communicate with the Salvadorans. The translators were extraordinary young ladies who put their whole hearts into serving the clients and us at Mission to El Salvador.
Since I am not handy, terrible at crafts, and not particularly good at sports, I wasn’t sure what my value to the team would be. The first day, I hung back, unsure of what to do. On the second day, we were encouraged to talk with the clients at Lighthouse. There is nothing I like better than authentically engaging with new people, so I dove in and had some great God-honoring conversations. The next day, I was assigned kitchen duty. I helped cook a meal, which I do daily for my family. I also cleaned the kitchen, another task I perform at home. God even stretched me a bit by allowing me to lead a bible study with my husband. I learned that God always makes a way for us when we step out in faith.
In all my time in El Salvador, I never felt unsafe. From the moment we arrived, God gave me a sense of peace throughout the trip. It also helped that Jon and Danielle were so thoughtful about our arrangements. We stayed in a gated community and had drivers that kept us safe on the roads. Mission to El Salvador’s reputation in the community meant we were protected. Our whole team was freed from safety concerns so we could focus on the work that God had set aside for us.
God showed up in a considerable way regarding my sons’ roles on the team. From the first day we arrived, my kids jumped in, ready to build relationships with the boys at New Dawn. Without any direction from us, they played board games and soccer; they joked around and talked and created genuine friendships. God was so clearly present in the speed at which the bonding occurred. As a parent, it was a joy to witness my kids wholeheartedly build relationships with teenagers who did not look like them or speak the same language, yet God met them in the middle. My kids came home different people, ready to serve, even in uncomfortable situations.
If you are considering a mission trip, don’t let your fears and insecurities stop you from doing the work Jesus asks you to do. While the trip wasn’t always perfect (I hardly slept the first night we were in San Salvador, thanks to a rooster that seemed to be right outside my window), God met the team and me repeatedly throughout the week. Amazing things will happen when we open up room for Jesus to do his work.’