Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seeing God's Plan at Last!

The greatest part of a mission trip is the moment you feel like you totally see God's plan for the trip. While you're planning the trip and setting your goals, you pray and seek God's will for the trip, but you realize that once you arrive flexibility is key. Things never go as planned. God only requires our willingness to go, and our willingness to go with the flow. If we are flexible, then He can use us to accomplish any purpose in any place.

Our recent trip to El Salvador was just like that. Last year on this trip we experienced such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in so many places, and saw so many people truly turn to God and give their lives to Christ. This year, however, was a little different.

Other than one day at the girl's prison, most of our ministry time was spent with young children in elementary schools and orphanages. We had a lot of fun with each class teaching about the importance of good nutrition, exercise, brushing teeth, washing hands, and especially, washing hearts. With each class, Charles would get the students laughing by pretending sweets were part of the vegetable or fruit group, and surreptitiously sneak something off of a student's desk. Then he would pretend to have a question at the end of the hand washing segment, and would ask how one could clean one's heart. He would explain how his own heart gets dirty when he hits his friends (pantomiming hitting one of us), tells a fib ("I'm President Obama!"), or steals things (holding up the item he swiped from a student). Then he would ask if swallowing soap could clean his heart. The kids loved it and in most places the kids would answer that "Dios!" (God!) could wash his heart. We prayed with each group to receive Christ, but sometimes wondered if these kids really needed us.

We learned that often within the culture there, people are taught about God, but not that they need a personal relationship with Him. But we were reminded us of Isaiah 55:11, “The words I speak…will not return to me without producing results. They will accomplish what I want them to. They will do exactly what I sent them to do.” What words did we speak to these children, from God, that will come back to them as they grow up and have to make difficult decisions about their lives? When confronted with a choice, will they choose the right way, God’s way, because we came and told them how God wants to clean their heart? I pray that they will, because God says that His word produces results.

As important as our ministry was, we really felt after a couple of days that God had placed us there at that time to support His missionaries. Our missionary hostess, is fostering a 2 year old girl, whose parentage is unclear, and there is reason to believe she may be Guatemalan.There is concern that the government might try to send her to an orphanage in Guatemala or back to the mother who tried to sell her on the black market.

We also spent some time counseling another young missionary there having some difficulties with her local church who will soon be starting an orphanage. Finally, we were able to meet with the national Foursquare missionary and were blessed to break bread with him and leave a small blessing as well.

Everyone needs to be ministered to at times, and we felt God truly took us to El Salvador not only to minister to the orphans, prisoners, and children, but to strengthen His workers there in the field. That was made possible by our wonderful supporters and prayer-partners. Thanks to them and to the Lord! It is always a fantastic experience to see God at work!

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