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WE ARE THE WORK OF THE MISSION

We just had a “first” in the Lighthouse Resource Center! We had our first ever graduation, and celebrated with 6 “lighthouses” that are now ready to shine! The process has had ups and down but our clients and our staff have persevered and it’s safe to say there weren’t many dry eyes at the graduation ceremony! Rosa, one of the graduates, shared her own story with everyone in attendance. She shared about her own struggle with addictions and poverty and the great hurdles she faced as a single mom fighting against years of chains in her life. But she also shared the great freedom that she found when she was seen as a person, when she was seen as someone with value. The way our staff delivered food to her […]

THOSE WHO SOW IN LOVE WILL HARVEST LOVE

  Today’s blog was written by Katia Peña, one of our case coordinators in the Lighthouse Resource Center.  Recently, I have seen how bountiful a harvest can be if we sow with love, and the blessings we can reap have been surprising. Sowing with love means keeping our commitment to God to share his love with others. I remember first finding a couple sleeping on the street a few years ago. They were without hope, lost in drugs and alcohol and without any reason to share love with anyone at all. But I also know our group of people surrounded them, offered them food, and invited them to the Lighthouse Resource Center to share a plate of food and a special time of connection. This couple expressed distrust, but then […]

RISK AND RESILIENCE IN EL SALVADOR

Every January people around the world talk about human trafficking…how to prevent it, the risks, how to identify it, and even how survivors work to overcome the traumas of being exploited. This year, as we mark Human Trafficking Awareness month, we once again turn to this issue here in our own context. In El Salvador, there are so many factors that make men, women, girls, and boys vulnerable to being trafficked. Poverty is a big one. If you are born into poverty, it’s nearly impossible to work your way out of it. Dreaming and planning for a different future just seems futile until someone comes into your town and promises you a chance in the city, or even in another country. Poverty makes people vulnerable to lies and manipulations of […]

GOD IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

“The Word became flesh and blood , and moved into the neighborhood.”  -John 1:14, the Message At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that Jesus moved into our neighborhood on a quiet night, in a humble and unassuming way. He stepped from the glory of heaven and down into the dirt and sorrow of life on earth. Our neighborhood is not always a pleasant place to be. There is grief here, and people get sick. Miscarriages happen, and marriages fall apart. Friendships end and tragedies take place and we are disappointed. But Jesus wanted to live here anyway because we were here…humans. He wanted to come to where we are, to show us love and glory and the only way to the Father. And that’s exactly what he did in the […]

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, […]

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