The newspapers in El Salvador often contain very bad news. Soaring murder rates, hundreds of youth dead, students afraid to go to school, gang violence on the rise, drugs, deliquency…and on and on. But today I have some good news about the youth in El Salvador.
Five Latin American students have committed to spend the next five months living and working with our Youth With A Mission staff. They’v made this committment because they want to seek God’s plan for their life, consider His call on their future, and be mentored along the way.
Our DTS this year consists of one student from Ecuador and five from El Salvador. I personally am super excited because I will be working closely with this school. I am looking forward to the chance to use some of my strengths and also to grow in my Spanish skills. It’s such a process but interacting with these students will help push me a little more.
Speaking of getting pushed, we pushed these guys pretty hard yesterday. We took them to some woods outside of the city where we set up an obstacle course. They had to complete the course with a little extra “baggage” to bring along. They were loaded down with rocks in their backpacks and they each had a little stone in their shoe.
What??? You may ask why we are torturing our students, but I promise we aren’t! We were using this exercise to illustrate a point. After the course we had some reflection time with them. The stones in their backpacks were labeled with words like “Relationships”, “Friends”, “Health”, “Family Problems”, and “Future.” The stone in their shoe demonstrated all the little tiny sins that can cause big problems as we run this race of life. We used the whole day to illustrate the theme for the next five months which is “Overcoming Obstacles.”
We ended the day with a time of reflection on Hebrews 12:1 which says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Our hope and prayer for each of these students is that at the end of five months they will throw off the things holding them back, and they will embrace fully the call, purpose, and vision that God has for each one of their lives.
Now that is some good news!
And they’re off!
Climbing the hill to get to the obstacle course…in the heat, with a backpack full of rocks.
Putting it together…
Javier helped lead the students through the course.
Scaling a very steep, wet hill.
Everyone made it up.
The last obstacle? Zip-lining!
Rina, one of our awesome summer volunteers, was a great help yesterday!
Time for some reflection and discussion.
The whole place was filled with incredible butterflies and flowers! (Photo Credit: Rina Marinzel)
Seriously, the colors and variety of these butterflies was amazing! (Photo Credit: Rina Marinzel)
Up on the hill where the zip-line started there was an awesome view of Lake Illopango, a volcanic crater lake.