El Salvador Awaken Tour Part 2

Hey everyone!

The week is winding down here in El Salvador but it’s been a very fruitful time. We began this week clearing an area to install a retaining wall at the lower part of  one of the neighborhoods in New Hope Community. We hauled bags of sand weighing about 70 pounds and then carried blocks to their locations. Mixing the mortar by hand reminded me much of my Nigeria times.

2016-06-06 17.06.16 The area we are in is the same as the NC WAVE Team worked in last year. We are happy to be back building a relationship with the community and assessing their needs.

The work has continued all week with us progressing up the hill to an area outside of Mirrim’s house. The community agreed that they needed a retaining wall built in this section. The work has been tiring but rewarding. Each day we are carrying blocks, bags of sand or cement and doing a lot of digging and clearing.2016-06-09 16.00.37 The project should be complete tomorrow and we will have a small celebration at the end of the day for those in that section.

We got to spend some time with the kids in the houses around where we are building. We played several games and hung out with them for a couple hours.

We also got to celebrate Myra’s birthday and see Papi, which is Jorge’s Campos’ grandfather. Through the years, several have stayed with Papi and enjoyed his hospitality.

One other great thing for this week has been sharing with the deaf WAVE team. They came over for a couple hours and we caught up with each other. They were very excited when we presented them with 8 Amazon Fires donated by various people from Vision 2 Hear. After they got them all set up, we took some time to run through several songs, which they remembered well!

I’ll post again once I get back to the USA about the last few events. Thanks for your prayers and support of V2H and the effort in El Salvador! God is moving and blessing in awesome ways.

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George

Vision 2 Hear Update January 11,2016

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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 2016-01-04 10.01.15sign 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.

2016-01-04 16.13.41-1We 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!

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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.

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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!

George

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El Salvador: Final Update

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Last Friday was Halloween and it was a busy day to say the least. We woke and drove over to the church and unloaded supplies for the Glow Night. Then I went to meet with the GAP students (15 students who are serving in El Salvador for a year). I had the privilege to share with on two occasions: once about mission work and the second concerning spiritual leadership. I was honored to be able to speak into their lives.

After the session, I was back over at the church for a practice for the evening to make sure all the songs for Glow were a go. Everyone did well and the decorations had come together well thanks to Trevor, La Iglesias interns, and the V2H ES WAVE team. We invested a couple hundred dollars into decorations and refreshments because we wanted this outreach event to go off well and really communicate the picture of glowing in the darkness as the Light of God.

We had several guests who came for Glow Night and the performance and message went very well. All those who attended not only enjoyed it but walked away very encouraged and challenged by the message. Here are a few pictures from the evening.

 

On Saturday I had the pleasure to lead the youth group meeting. This was really cool because many of the GAP students’ parents were in the country for a week long visit.

Sunday morning was somewhat hectic. We arrived with about 20 minutes until service and had much to prepare like the drawings for the Jesus Paid It All paintings, setting up the keynote with TV and sound. Even though it was crazy, it all came together. We performed a few songs with the WAVE team and even the GAP team had learned some parts for the songs to assist in leading worship with us. I shared about developing and growing our faith. The Lord seemed to bless the service even with all of my usual technical problems that travel with me regardless of all the preparations.

We left church and went to the cemetery where Jorge’s grandmother was buried. I had no idea this day was the DAY OF THE DEAD. This occasion was a very unique experience. People were everywhere, literally backing up traffic and lining the streets and grave sites. There were vendors selling flowers, food and other items to those who were present to celebrate the life of those who had passed away. This was certainly unlike anything I’ve seen in the USA. People not only set up chairs and blankets to stay a while but it was a very festive event. Music was played, kites were flown and people spent a considerable amount of time decorating the headstones of their lost loved ones. We spent about an hour with Jorge’s family laughing and taking pictures.

We went to a great dinner afterward and are our full of steaks and cheese. It was really great food and an awesome atmosphere hearing the marimba being played in the background.

After lunch we visited Gloria and Mario’s new home. They will be married next summer and they wanted to show us the home they will be moving into. Wow! What a great place. I am so happy for them and look forward to being part of their wedding celebration next year.

2014-11-02 20.46.43 HDRThat evening we went to another restaurant called La Pampa with our friends The Lopezs. Trevor stayed the week at their home and they wanted to have dinner together. I was surprised by how excellent this meal was also! Simply great. It was a wonderful night with them and I really appreciate their generosity for the meal and for housing Trevor all week.

Monday didn’t slow much at all. We awakened and made our way to Cojutepeque, where there is a Christian deaf school we have visited before in the past. To follow up and keep the relationship fresh we drove an hour bringing with us some refreshments for the kids.

Upon arrival we were warmly greeted, as kids signed excitedly wondering who we were and why we were there. We set things up, only having a set of computer speakers for sound. ( This only mattered because of us needing to be able to hear the music).

We shared a few songs and then the refreshments. They all enjoyed everything very much. Kids and adults were appreciative of us making the journey to visit them and remember them. We snapped more than a few pics. I chose some here:

2014-11-03 15.41.31 HDRWe went back to the city where I had lunch with a long time friend Chepe who was back in ES after serving in Iraq as a missionary for a couple years. It was great to catch up with him and hear what God is doing in his life. Not only that but to also share with him some of the plans we have for serving in ES and to get some feedback from him. It was a fruitful time all the way around and it was a good excuse to eat the Papa John’s buffet, which we don’t have in the USA.

After the meal and great time of sharing, I went back to the dentist to have my stitches removed from my tooth extraction. We stopped and got some souvenirs before going to look at a building for possible deaf ministry.

The building is located downtown and would be more than sufficient to provide workshops and training for deaf people. The building would be used to teach them different skills and help them with job training. It would also provide a place for them to have worship. The WAVE team could also use the building for training and practices. Please join us in prayer as we look further into this opportunity. The cost would be $600 a month, which includes rent, water and electricity. Another really cool thing is that it is right above skate park. This skate park is the only covered skate park in this area. V2H would be able to use this space and work with owner for more outreach.

My final meal was dinner with the Campos and Pineda families. While eating, we discussed some option for the future. It was a good but hard discussion as we talked about many things and the direction of V2H ES. In the end, we had a good sense of the direction we would move, which essentially means Jorge will train and mentor some people to run ministries in his absence. With the likelihood being very high for Jorge getting a job in the USA with a church in January, this decision had to be made. If the event doesn’t go down that way, Jorge will continue to run V2H ES but he will have much more help, which is a win/win situation.

All in all, the ministry and trips to both El Salvador and Nicaragua were very good in many different ways. I’ll update some of the lessons and direction for the future soon. Thank you so much for your prayers and support of this trip. Much was done for the Kingdom!

Sincerely,

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George