Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Life-changing opportunities await you!!

We were warned about culture shock. 

What a drastic difference between my own "good Christian home" growing up, and the daily life experience of the boys we were blessed to spend time with this morning!  About 45 guys ranging from 12 to 18 years old are living in a concrete and steel-barred compound because they have nowhere else to go.  These boys are not prisoners - like the girls we visited yesterday.  They are here for a variety of reasons, that can best be summed up in one of the boys own words:  "I am here because no one loves me."

Imagine your life being in danger from your own family, or a gang.  Imagine being dropped off at the orphanage because your parent(s) did not want you, or perhaps being picked up off of the street because you have no known family at all.  No where to live except the sidewalk, or the gutter, or under some cardboard.  Now imagine that this is your life, and somehow you made it to age twelve.  In this new place, you share a concrete room with 12 - 20 other boys, most of them bigger and older than you.  The wind blows through the window openings all year round.  Even if the day is hot in the sunshine, the sparse concrete and steel room can stay cold.  Privacy for personal hygiene or any other purpose is an unknown luxury.  The guards or staff cannot be everywhere.  You are afraid.  You must adapt in order to survive. 

With this mindset, consider the events of today from this boy's perspective.
A van-load of people came to visit today.  There were people from the Estados Unidos along with Salvadorians also.  They smile and laugh, and talk to the staff people.  They set up sound equipment and wave at us.  Some of them are talking to some of the other boys here.  These are the people one of my roommates met yesterday.  He said they were nice.  I can understand the language of some of them but not all of them can speak my language.  We are told they are going to have music and a drama for us.  Meanwhile some of the visitors join a game of futbol, and others of them begin to come over to talk to me.

I recognize one or two of the ladies.  They are nice and have been here before!  The men seem to be nice too.  They are laughing and joking with us.  The concert meeting is starting now and we have to go inside and sit together across the room from their musical equipment.  There is a man playing guitar and a woman playing an electric piano.  There is a man using a big container like a conga drum!  The songs talk about God being powerful and loving too.  We have fun singing with these nice people.  They translate the words or sing the songs in my language so I can sing also.  The drama is about a man with two sons.  One son takes his part of the father's money and joins a gang.  They throw him out after his money is gone.  He is feeding pigs and is so hungry is wants to eat the pig's food.  Three of the people are pretending to be the pigs!  They are funny!  At the end of the drama a Salvadorian lady tells us to think about the story and how the father who should have been angry with his son, loved him, forgave him, and had a fiesta when he came home.  She said God is a father like the father in the story, and that if we will come to him, he will love us like the son in the story.  I want a real father like that.  I've never had one.  I am crying and I cannot stop.  The conga-drumming man is hugging me and crying too.  Another man and woman are speaking to many of us now, and saying we can know this God who loves us right now, and be his children.  I ask this God to love me and help me.  The man hugging me is talking to God about me.  I know this because someone is translating what he is saying so I can understand.  I hug him tighter and he hugs me tighter too!  We cry for a long time.  The people give me a booklet and a book.  I begin to read some of the pages with the man, and understand he is saying I should keep the book and read it.  Another man tells us we can talk to God about things and this Father-God will help me.  We get lots of hugs from the people and most of us are smiling.  The motor-scooter delivery people from Pizza Hut are here!  They are bringing us food!  I am glad the people came to visit us today!

This is only one of many many stories from today.  About 20 of the 45 boys living in this Boys Home asked Jesus to forgive them and for God to be their Father.  Our team was so humble and so loving!  We are a team of doctors, nurses, and business people; moms, dads, sons, and daughters; we had translators who are ministers themselves, and translators that are just here to help us.  What we did today did not require years of training or special skills.  We simply made ourselves available to show love to those who need it.

Thank you for supporting us with your prayers!  God is working here, and the need is unfathomably huge.  Child abuse is common.  Poverty is rampant.  The government and local churches here have limited resources.  Please pray that our loving God will touch more people's hearts to take time to work in His harvest field (read Matthew 9: 35 - 38).  Consider and pray about joining Lorraine here in El Salvador on a short-term mission trip (see  Our team can tell you, come once and you will never be the same!

Curtis S.

1 comment:

  1. Curtis, you are an amazing writer! Your story puts in perspective how different one's life experiences can be, yet the grace and love of God is available to all of us. Thanks to all of you for sharing the love of Christ in El Salvador. I can tell by your blog entries that each of you is being blessed!