El Salvador Journal: Day 3

Friday, July 16th 2010

Our first day of ministry began as our training day did. We were up and at breakfast at 6:30. We probably had “salsa eggs” with beans. This was something we had several times, with the occasional DSC06051cereal mixed in. Again, breakfast was delicious.

Before we headed out, we were introduced to the final member of our ministry team. His name was Oscar. He was a Master’s Commission student from Nicaragua.

Each day, as we headed out for ministry, we stopped at a Texaco on the highway to stock up on water and whatever other little items we felt like we might want to nibble on. I got a bottle of water and a honey bun of some kind.

DSC06058Driving into the city in the daylight was a bit different from what we saw when we arrived during the night. The houses were small, concrete structures. We wound our way though San Salvador until we were good and lost. We finally stopped in what we were informed was a particularly dangerous neighborhood.

We walked down steps and past small, concrete houses to a playground, where the team quickly sat up a PA system and began drawing kids out of their homes. Two members of our team were dressed as clowns and 37901_1358440843465_6636112_nstarted making balloon animals. I quickly learned how to make a sword and handed them out to a couple of the boys. It was especially frustrating to not be able to communicate with them through the language barrier.

Since Castle adheres to a strict standard of dress, as requested by the leading missionary for El Salvador, our guys wore long pants, while our ladies wore skirts. We were also issued a couple of “Castle” t-shirts, so locals would identify us as members of the ministry. We were told this was key to our safety while ministering in the city.

Friday was probably our hottest ministry day. Some of our guys started playing basketball with some of the kids. It wasn’t long before there were a good many people hanging around, and we started our program.

However ill-prepared we might have felt for ministry after our whirlwind day of training, our host team did a miraculous job of pulling us through our first couple of songs. Even through the last day of ministry, I was reliant on positioning myself behind other team members, so I could watch and follow their lead.  I was impressed by how quickly Courtney and some of the others caught on, and how much they retained from our day of training.

For the days of ministry, our team was divided into two parts. When it came time for the more serious portion of the program, one team would go to pray while the other would stay and perform. We would alternate these roles throughout the week.

DSC06068As Herbert gave the request for kids to come and receive salvation, it was obvious that he had a gift for communicating to children. Each time we prayed, at the end of the program, we would go through a routine of praying for salvation, illnesses and problems in the home.

When the program was done, we packed up and headed out for our next destination. It was in these early moments of the trip that we began to realize the tight bond that was forming between us, our host team and our intern.

Our next stop was at the office of the “zone-one” churchDSC06082, where we met Pastor David. While there, we ate lunch and had another opportunity to upload some pictures and communicate via facebook, since we had a couple of hours before our next ministry opportunity.

Our next stop was similar to the first. Again, there was little hope of keeping our bearings, as we twisted through the city. We stopped at another small basketball/soccer court. This time we organized a game with some of the kids in the neighborhood. It was my team’s turn to pray. After the first couple of songs, we headed back to the bus. As was the plan, they called us back to the court when it was time to pray with the kids.

DSC06124Each ministry site, for me, was made memorable by the faces of those who lived in that neighborhood. Here, one of those individuals was an older lady in a green dress, who strolled by several times as my team was praying. She seemed to have been made curious by the spectacle.

Our last stop for the day was a darker site. The walk from the bus to the court was a bit longer this time, giving more opportunity to take in the smells of raw sewage, signs of gang activity and the hopeless expressions on the faces of most residents. There was a foreboding presence about this place.

Again, we picked up a game of soccer with the kids. Even the youngest of them were impressively skilled with the ball. There was a small market at the corner of the court and a place where Pastor David said the gang members would hang out. The perimeter of the court was surrounded by more concrete brick houses and a couple of swing sets.

DSC06165

Our ministry time was typical. Although some of the kids were distracted by various conversations, our host team pushed forward as if all eyes were fixed on them.

This evening was highlighted by Pastor NickDSC06181 and Pastor David praying for a young gang member who accepted Jesus as his Savior.

Towards the end of our first day of ministry, we settled into a routine of wrestling away from Sarah, Meilssa and Karen (our intern and host-team members) whatever props, equipment or supplies they might try to carry back to the bus. The basic instruction was, “If they wont give you what they’re carrying, you carry them.”

DSC06187When we returned to the bus, Sarah, congratulated us on a successful first day of ministry. Pastor David also commented that our team was “one-hundred-percenters”, remarking that we would go and do whatever we were asked. This made us very proud of the guys and girls we took to El Salvador. The praise was well-deserved.

Each night, dinner was served at 6:30. I don’t know that we ever made it back on time. Like breakfast, diner was always good. Dinner after our first night of ministry was baked chicken breast. Honestly, it tasted just like home.

Everyone was more than ready to get to bed after an exhausting day. We had a great group of men and women on this trip.

We compiled a recap video from each day of ministry. This is the video from day one.

We also captured some of our student’s thoughts each day.

If you were there and remember details or any interesting stories I missed, please add your memories of our third day in the comments below. Thanks for reading and look for another post from my journal, tomorrow.

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Posted on July 16, 2014, in Chris Jones, Christianity and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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