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WHEN DEATH WORKS BACKWARDS

“When a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”        -C.S Lewis in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe We are about to begin Holy Week in El Salvador. The week is observed around the country in various ways, but this year I hope to have some quiet moments to reflect on what it means to go from death to life, and to see death itself overcome. The quote is from a children’s book beloved by many. The hero of the story is Aslan and he is ultimately resurrected. The words above come from his mouth as he shares the greatest secret of all…when a perfect sacrifice dies for a […]

ONE YEAR IN

Who else is stepping into March wearily? It is one year into the pandemic and we are all tired.   In El Salvador, children can be seen everywhere all the time because schools have yet to open for in-person classes. There are still people on the side of the highway waving white flags, but thankfully far less than there used to be. Lots of people are looking for work, or for extra work to make up for income lost over the strictest phase of the lockdown. Others are still searching for ways to pay for damages to their homes and property suffered from the tropical storms that slammed El Salvador last year.   Our clients are facing some new challenges too, and many people have joined our daily lunch line […]

Four Simple Ways to Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a tragedy. Over 40 million people around the world today are being exploited for the financial gain of their traffickers. Men, women, and children are living in modern day slavery, an industry that generates billions each year. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and so we hope you will pause for a moment to consider the issue. It’s a problem right here in El Salvador too. We are working to prevent this evil among those who are vulnerable, and to help those who have survived to find healing. Factors like poverty, violence, gang involvement, and family disintegration put people at risk of being trafficked. It feels big and heavy. What can we even do when we are faced with such a huge and global evil? Today we […]

Survival Kits for the Holidays

Perhaps the most amazing miracle we have seen in 2020 is unexpected sobriety for our clients. It began in the quarantine shelter that we opened during the strictest phase of El Salvador’s lockdown, and since that time 9 of our clients have had tremendous success in their recovery. Many of them are now facing their biggest challenge yet…the Christmas break. Our regular programs are on hold for the holidays, so our team has worked hard to develop a strategy to provide the best possible plan of success for our clients. Through a series of therapy sessions, we have rolled out “kits” for vacation providing all kinds of tools to help our clients manage the free time, triggers, and other stress that the holidays bring. The kits include an exercise guide, […]

Together We Give

One of the things that has continued to strike me about 2020 is the depth of global suffering. The world has been united in grief, in sickness, in sorrow, and in disappointment. The loss of family members, the closing of businesses, and the cancelling of graduations have been felt in every corner of the world. Of course, in some countries the losses have been greater, and the recovery will be harder. But there is a sense of global solidarity in suffering. There is a sense that none of us are alone in this, despite our isolation…it still all seems so heavy, doesn’t it? But what if we decided to turn the tables and instead rally together in global generosity? In global kindness? And in global hope? Every year, Giving Tuesday […]

What Are Their Names?

This week as I sat in San Salvador traffic with my kids, we noticed a woman across the other side of the street. We know her as a regular client at the Lighthouse Resource Center. I hadn’t seen her in awhile and I mentioned her name. My 13 year old jumped in to correct me. My heart sank in conviction. “You say you care about the poor…then tell me, what are their names.” This quote by Latin American theologian Gustavo Gutierrez came instantly to mind and cut me to the core. Funny how just words can be used by God’s Spirit to twist something inside of us, and funny how easy it is for our mental focus to move away from people and onto projects and programs. In a few […]

Keep Dreaming!

This year has brought hardship, but it hasn’t kept our clients from dreaming. There are still goals, and aspirations…there is still hope! It truly is the Salvadoran way, and we are privileged to be “dream facilitators” here at Mission To El Salvador! As we begin this process of reopening, we are working to help our clients reflect on what was lost, and take a moment to regroup and begin to dream and plan for the future once again. We invite you to join us in “listening in” on some of our clients’ own stories of surviving so far this year with dreams intact. When COVID struck, New Dawn had to close down and shift to a virtual model. The boys didn’t want to leave and their families weren’t quite prepared […]

Working to Stop the Bleeding

As an organization our focus is primarily on development, utilizing a faith-based model with a focus on relationships, discipleship, and long-term commitment to our community. In January we were all excited about another year of working to help our clients continue to develop and grow. But then the whole world started bleeding. In El Salvador, we pivoted to staunch the flow. Our first move was to open an emergency shelter to provide a space for the homeless community to “shelter in place” when El Salvador went into martial law lockdown. We simultaneously pivoted to move the New Dawn Residential Program to a virtual model and suspended all of our regular programs. The order came to close emergency shelters and we pivoted once again to provide assisted housing and family reunification […]

Keeping Dreams Alive in El Salvador

This past year has been unprecedented, at least in our lifetimes. When we look back at January and see all that we planned and all that we hoped it’s almost ridiculous…we made plans and we had dreams with no idea what was in store. Perhaps it’s been more serious for you or your family…you lost a loved one or got sick yourself. Maybe you counted on a project or an account that never came through, or on making that sale, or keeping that job..and here you are in October and it feels like everything is gone. So many of our clients are in that exact position. For many of them they were just starting to get ahead for the very first time in their lives. They had begun building a […]

Sacred Celebrations

There are frivolous celebrations, and there are traditional ones. Other celebrations are because of routine, or obligation. Some are cultural or mandated by our families. And then there are celebrations that can’t be described as anything other than sacred. Sacred celebrations are the ones that hold an air of the miraculous, that send a shiver down the spine, and pushes tears to our eyes. These are the celebrations we thought we might never see, the ones that defy fear, and chaos, and the brokenness that’s unfolding in the backdrop. In our small corner of the world, we have had the true joy of experiencing two such sacred celebrations in recent days. Moments of healing and discovery…the honoring of new things, new beginnings, and new lives. The first was two weeks […]

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