More words from Alexia, a case manager at the Lighthouse Resource Center…
A few days ago, I was talking to someone about the current COVID-19 crisis and all of its implications. He mentioned his bosses were concerned because “if their clients lose their clients, than the business would lose theirs too” since they would no longer have a need for the company’s services. The economy is being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, the quarantines, and other necessary, but extreme, security measures that have been taken everywhere. The questions of “how?”, “why?”, and “when?” exacerbate the uncertainty that we are all feeling. Many times in these days, the lack of answers to these questions have left us feeling overwhelmed, tired, and even hopeless.
That phrase, “if their clients lose their clients…” has echoed in my head. When the news and rumors of COVID-19 began in El Salvador at the beginning of March, at MTES we were thinking the moment would come when we would have to close the resource center, but in just a matter of days everything changed. Instead of closing, our building has become a temporary shelter for the homeless members of our community thanks to coordination between us and the government. When the national and international picture of the pandemic grew darker, our path at MTES grew clearer…to respond to our clients in this crisis who needed us now more than ever. When “stay at home” became an order, what would happen to those who have no home?
We have not been left without clients at all! On the contrary, now we have new clients that we didn’t even have before! People who don’t have a home where they can stay, but now they have a place to find refuge. Before we spent so much time making plans, creating and testing strategies to reach out to our community and now the crisis has brought them to us. Four days after we opened our doors, we had a full house.
They say that a crisis has the ability to bring out the best or worst in people. A crisis is like applying extreme pressure. When we are under enough pressure, what we are “full of” will overflow…good or bad, pretty or ugly, blessing or curse. At MTES, I believe that the crisis has brought out something good…both from us as a team, and also from our clients. Why do I say that? Well…our doors are open and God has orchestrated everything in such a way that we have been able to develop relationships with people, organizations, and companies that perhaps couldn’t have been established any other way. Together we are striving to meet the needs of the people whom we serve, and they are grateful that we are here for them, by them, and with them through this. All of these things coming together have built a more solid foundation on which to develop and maintain better relationships with our clients, who are ultimately the reason for our existence at Mission To El Salvador.
As weeks pass, and we see all of this play out, we are coming to appreciate the “silver lining” in this crisis. It has generated growth opportunities at all different levels both in our clients and in us as MTES staff. It we list all that has happened since we started this adventure, we can make a list of “pros and cons”, but perhaps the the biggest pro is that all of you as family, friends, and donors, have made an impact on us and our clients. Having you accompany us on this journey is priceless. Your displays of love, faithful prayers, and contributions of all kinds have exceeded all of our expectations. God has allowed us to be humble witnesses of this to once again show to us His grace and His favor are here with us because this was born in His heart before it was in ours.
During Holy Week we had dedicated time to pray, to give thanks, and to intercede for all of you. It was a beautiful time of prayer for those of you who have blessed us with your donations, hugged one of our clients, partnered with us as a church, and lifted us up in prayer. This time it was our turn to bless all of you and what better way to do it than with our clients, who prayed for all of you, for the first time, from their home. Thank you for being faithful and walking with us daily on this adventure!
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 1:3-6