First-Timer in El Salvador
by Jane Ann Harper
When I first signed up to go on a mission trip with Santa Cruz al Salvador, I basically knew little about ESalvador other than it had had a horrible civil war in the 1980s, was poor and had major gang violence. I was expecting to find malnourished, dirty, sad, withdrawn children.
Was I ever surprised with reality! Yes, El Salvador IS a poor country economically, but it is SO RICH in its people. I spent quality time with people in four different communities and found the people to be strong, kind, loving, hospitable, generous, positive, resilient, and hardworking. They have their priorities straight: family, community, education. They realize the importance that education plays in making changes.
In spite of the atrocities they suffered during their civil war, they can still smile. The testimony we heard from a lady who was 13 when the war began was UNBELIEVABLE! But instead of sitting around feeling sorry for themselves and having a pity-party, they are even MORE MOTIVATED to make positive changes. They don’t just DREAM of a better future, they are ACTING in order to achieve those dreams. They don’t have a hand-out mentality; they are willing to work hard for a better life.
We were all blessed to have a meal at each Prayer Child’s modest home where we were welcomed with opened arms and delicious food. The children that we support are clean, nicely dressed, respectful, kind, loving and fun. They are so appreciative of the gift bags and scholarships we provide.
I was overwhelmed by the smiles and hugs I received. I actually OVERDOSED on LOVE!
The main lesson that I came home with from the trip is that we don’t need so much STUFF in order to be happy.
(I also learned to never take for granted flushing toilets, running water and hot water!