I’ve been in El Salvador for several days now. It’s been a great trip thus far. From spending time with old friends to making new ones, Vision 2 Hear is off to a great start for 2016. Here’s some of what’s been happening.
Before we even left from the USA, we were already excited about being able to offer this trip for Angela Lowe, a college student from Messiah College in PA. She found Vision 2 Hear online, actually looking at sign videos from YouTube. Needing to have a cultural “deaf experience”, she contacted me to see if there was any way we could help. With El Salvador being the primary place we have ministry with deaf people, we were able to work things for her to be part of this trip and spend the required days she needs in order to graduate on time. If this didn’t work for her, there was a very good chance she would have to postpone her graduation until December…So we praise God for His mighty power and the use of the internet to connect us so that she could benefit and help us in ES. The first time we met was at the airport in Atlanta.
Even though the plane was delayed several times, the overall trip wasn’t too bad. But we were basically awake with travel for about 24 hours. We were met at the airport and made our way to San Salvador, discussing possibilities for the week. Angela is here to learn about deaf culture and interact with the deaf primarily and I am here to assist with teaching music for the WAVE Team, which is primarily made of deaf students, preach at a church, host a couple of meetings and plan for the summer.
We plan to disburse the school supplies to several groups of people since the primary school we were going to give them out at has closed down. These school supplies were collected from Christ Fellowship in Palmetto Bay last October while I was there for Spiritual Emphasis Week. We brought down three suitcases of glue, pens, pencils, markers, etc. and still have more to bring back in June.
Because the school were going to go to has closed down, we thought we would have the students all deaf, along with their siblings come over and spend time with us at the mission house. So for three days last week they came over and we worked on music, signing songs, playing games and watching Netflix. They have loved it. Most of the don’t get to do things like this, so it’s a big deal for them to be able to come and have fun and build community as well.
As we met and talked about the things that happened with the closing of the deaf school we explored the idea of having the students meet at the mission house for some of their educational needs. It was a wonder to me why couldn’t we do this? So after talking a bit and finding out what the real problems might be, we decided to move forward with using the mission house as a temporary location for these students to gather, learn, continue their education and get tutoring on the weekends, until they find a different location sometime in the future. School technically is just starting back so the timing is perfect! God knows what He’s doing! Because we were here, I was able to use some of our ministry donations to help provide the chairs, tables and school supplies they will need to use this facility. We give God praise for what He’s doing!
Another thing that is really coming together is the work Daniel is doing with several children teaching them English and of course sharing the gospel. These kids all live in the area where Daniel grew up and are faced with gang-related violence everyday. If you didn’t know, El Salvador has about 40 people killed each day!!! We have been supporting Daniel with his college education and now he’s investing in the lives of others. We are very pleased to see and hear of all he is doing. He’s given me a budget and we are going to have the Love Feast Fundraising event on Valentine’s Day weekend, a 30-hour fast to generate some funds for his program.
I was able to get a filling for one cavity while here, which was a huge blessing as I had started to feel some pain and discomfort from it. Also one of the local church plants had me speak and share the message yesterday, which was very well-received.
Last night I met with some of the Vision 2 Hear El Salvador staff and a couple of missionaries from Oregon who support the work here. We had a great open and honest talk about the future work in Suchitoto, which is growing tremendously. Some of that work includes helping with water irrigation, discipling families by providing special meetings for men, women and children. Jorge and his whole family are deeply involved in this work there and they have seen God’s hand moving in people’s lives. So please keep that ministry in your prayers. They travel to Suchitoto twice a month for programs. Only twice because it’s a couple hours away in the mountains.
So that’s a quick update with what’s been happening here. Thanks for your prayers. Another update to come soon!