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CHANGE AT THE INTERSECTION OF PAIN AND BEAUTY

Salvadoran-American author Roberto Lovato describes El Salvador as “A tiny country of titanic sorrows.” Years of war, oppressive political regimes, crime, machismo, and gang violence have led to many sorrows. Despite these cultural and societal traumas, Salvadorans remain highly resilient, warm, caring, and kind. Pain and beauty exist side by side. In fact, the place where pain and beauty intersect is a place of opportunity.  Throughout this past year, our team has been moved more and more toward that intersection as we look for unique approaches to address these deep and historical wounds, along with the newer mental health crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. For years, El Salvador has witnessed generational family brokenness contributing to addictions, ongoing issues with violence, human trafficking, problems with youth, gangs, poverty, domestic abuse, […]

OUR STREET

The picture above is our street in our neighborhood. It’s the center of our work in our community. It’s a place where we can be present with those who have questions, who have needs, and who have dreams. This is where we have the chance to look our neighbors in the eye, engage them with our words, and wrap arms around them. It’s also a place where suffering is dragged across the threshold and we must welcome it in. There is pain on this street, there is hurt. There is violence and death. There are tears in the eyes we meet, and we embrace shoulders that shake and sway under grief. Sometimes this street is a hard place to be. But we don’t set foot here without hope in our […]

REBORN

Today’s guest blogger is MTES staff member, Cecilia Leiva de Benavides. Thank you Cecy for sharing! When we were little and talked to our siblings about what “super power” we wanted to have, there was one power that was the most desired, and that was to go back and travel through time. I think that more than once, even as adults, we have had the desire to go back in time and think of all that we could do if that was possible. That way we could correct actions that brought us unpleasant consequences, actions that have destroyed moments that could have been lovely memories, or actions that have wounded people that we really love. That was the wish of one of our clients whose son is still a baby, […]

REBUILDING FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Today’s guest blogger is MTES staff member David Aguiluz, and he shares a unique perspective as both a recovering addict and an addiction therapist.  Speaking about addictions is a complex topic. It’s not a topic that focuses solely on drug use. Instead, it focuses on “the compulsive use, abuse, or obsession with an activity, relationship, or substance in which biological, genetic, psychological, and social factors converge.” This is the way the World Health Organization (WHO) defines addiction.  I want to take a moment to focus on two of these factors…not because they are the most important but because they are the ones on which I focus my professional work everyday: the psychological and social factors of addictions.  These are where we focus our interventions in order to provide rehabilitation from […]

IN THE CITY

There is a movement that is happening, and has been happening, all across the globe. It’s a movement into the city. People move in for jobs, for a fresh start, to connect with family, or to step out on their own. Urban environments are strategic environments for God…and for his followers.  The heartbeat of our ministry is in the city of San Salvador, and that’s because it is the heartbeat of the whole country. There is need and opportunity and culture and growth and beauty and heartache all crowded together. The city is a living, breathing movement that we can be a part of.  That’s not unique to San Salvador, but it does feel unique to cities.  I love visiting cities because they are such wonderful pictures of culture and […]

OPEN THOSE ROOFTOPS

The Gospels mention a dedicated group of friends in a few passing verses…a group crazy enough to look for any way they could to get their paralyzed friend to the feet of Jesus, who was famous by the time he came to their town. They had heard he could heal, change lives, start things new for people…and they had a friend who couldn’t walk. They knew if they could only pick him up and get him to Jesus’ feet, maybe that friend’s story would be rewritten. When Jesus came, they grabbed him and ran like crazy…probably groaning and sweating under the dead weight until they finally arrived and found the front door blocked. So they looked for another way. They craned their necks to see around the crowd, and switched tactics, […]

CLOSING THOUGHTS…

Today’s blog is in Madalyn Chevalier’s words. She just finished a five month internship with us and she had some closing thoughts as she finished the last weeks of her internship.  So many wonderful things have happened that I barely know where to start! The more I think about it, the most ministry comes from friendships created with clients. Yes we provide therapy.Yes, we provide drug-dependency workshops. But that is not the whole story. It is dangerous and decieving to just tell one story. Yes, El Salvador has issues but if you choose to only listen to one story, you will never hear of the continued rise in healing and revival. You will never hear of the miracles happening every day as people find hope in Jesus. Not because us […]

BBQ WITH A CAUSE

There are many things that we hope for our clients, but I think one of our biggest hopes is that they will dream big dreams. Maybe they will dream for the first time, or maybe they will start dreaming once again. About 6 months ago, I sat down to eat lunch with Oscar. He has been in and out of our programs for a few years. During COVID, he came to our shelter where he was able to jump start his sobriety. Now he is one of our “clients in transition” meaning that he is taking great steps forward in recovery, and working on transitioning back into full reintegration into society. He is committed to spiritual growth through our Bible studies, he is being coached and mentored by our case […]

NO DAYS OFF

“Recovery is something that you have to work on every single day, and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off.”  -Demi Lovato In my own life, I have been privileged and blessed to have some of my hardest battles reserved for adulthood. In many ways my growing-up years were free from some of the big hurts and traumas that so many others face. As an adult, I came to understand that wasn’t true for many, many people in the world.   It certainly isn’t true for many people in El Salvador, and many children and teens are facing truly life-defining battles. Among them are the residents in our New Dawn Residential Program. This is our program for children and teens between the ages of 10 and 17 that struggle […]

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 […]

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