Fiesta de Postres (3/19/09)

Published by Bean under on 2:00 PM
Me, Paula, Brenna, Cecy, and Gabita with 'crazy corn,' a Salvadorian snack.

About a month ago we had a 'fiesta de postres' in the girls house to gather students involved in VE. We are still trying to start a weekly gathering time, but between student breaks, midterms, and coaching visits for our team, we are looking at April being the start of weekly meetings. The ten of us know a lot of students on campus who are following Jesus or interested in learning about God, which is totally great. BUT many of those students have never had the opportunity to know each other. We can only do so much work from the outside of a culture. And thats what was so cool about the party, students interacting with each other. We brought together all of our friends, threw in some good homemade dessert (including my fav. blackberry cobbler), music, dancing, and a piƱata. Before we knew it students from different campuses were talking, getting phone numbers, and even sharing what things God has done in their lives.

It is nights like these that get me excited for the future of college ministry in El Salvador. Here are students seeing each other, building community, and living life together. My team has built relatioships with them and seen how God is working in their lives. We tell them how God is calling students on their campus to Himself. Now they can see that for themselves. Now they can encourage and grow together. How much more can they do for their country with a common purpose than 10 wandering Americans? God has big plans. I can see them forming.

Matias in Pictures.. (3/10/09)

Published by Bean under on 3:24 PM

This is a garden area on campus and the architecture building. The brick is gone now, as Matias has undergone a recent makeover. We've gone professional with tan and cream paint.

And the main cafeteria. My office :]

First Weeks on Campus! (2/24/09)

Published by Bean under on 2:41 PM

After 5 months, my team is finally all on one campus! It has been so excited to be all together and has brought our team unity beyond what we could imagine. We have been really working on getting our name out on campus and reaching out to the freshmen. We set up a table near the biggest cafeteria on campus to let students know who we are. We also had a pizza party at the end of the first week and saw 150 students come to participate! It was awesome to look into the crowd and see some of our old friends from last semester, freshmen we met from the table, and Christians who were looking to help us in any way they could. This is the community that we are trying to foster on Matias. In that moment I saw just a glimpse of the things that God can continue to grow in the years to come!

Faithfulness. 12/17/08

Published by Bean under on 2:53 PM
It is crazy to think that the year 2008 is coming to an end and Christmas is just around the corner. During this time the reality of living in a foreign country is more real than ever. And to be honest it is the first time that I have truly felt home-sick during my time here. Here is the cool thing though, I am not missing the normal luxuries of life in the States, although I could go for a chopped bbq chicken salad any day. I am missing the relationships that God has given me. I would love for a 757 full of my community to come down here and have Christmas Salvadorian style. And although Christmas is VERY commercial here, it still doesn't quite feel like "the most wonderful time of the year." And that excites me as well, because without the distractions I am hoping that Christmas can be a lot more about Jesus this year for me and less about going home, decorating, and drinking hot cocoa or cider. This is a year of hard, but good. And this season is just another example of that.

The Lord continues to provide for me here. Relationships are hard to leave, but God has brought many new ones into my life here. I would love to tell you guys about Tatiana and Elisa. Both of these girls attend Evangelica and have been involved in VE since at least the summer. It was such a blessing for our team to meet them when we first got here because they are both passionate followers of Jesus and great English speakers. As time has passed, these girls have become some of our closest friends, walking together as we are pursuing the Lord and always laughing. It is normal for conversation to flow between English and Spanish as well as Christ and any area of life. The most exciting thing about Taty and Eli are their hearts for God to have a real presence on their campus. Its encouraging to know that we are laboring alongside these women to see change here.

Below are some pictures with these two. Teaching us how to have dinner like true Salvadorians, creative photo skills during traffic, and time at the lake for Eli's birthday. They are a snapshot of the Lord's faithfulness.

Exciting times. 11/25/08

Published by Bean under on 5:49 PM

Excuse the glare.. and off-center shot..

BUT this is a recent brainstorming session that my team had. We are in the process of casting vision for the upcoming school year on Matias. It is a truly exciting time for us to reflect on the reasons we are here and dream big for the plans that God has for the students on this campus and this country. I am hoping that you will be able to discern some of our ideas so you can be lifting Matias up in prayer!!

Also, I wanted to give a brief update on ministry lately. The Lord has been encouraging us in huge ways during the past week. We have been committed to founding our days in prayer and God has been showing up big. Yesterday we met Adriana. A second year art student who was excited to talk to us and even spoke English with us. Adriana has a relationship with God and wants other people on her campus to have the joy that she has from the Lord. She was so thankful that we were in El Salvador to share God with her classmates. She was radiant the whole time that we talked to her and even made her ride wait for 15 minutes to finish the conversation! We are hoping to talk more specifically about the gospel when we see her next week. And then today we met Valerie. Valerie has lived here for 4 years after growing up in the states. She had told us that she has seen us around a lot and has been hoping to connect with us somehow.. after talking to her for a few minutes we realized that she was in the same ciclo as Andriana meaning they take all the same classes, along with our friend Maggie. As soon as we sat down Valerie shared that she was a Christian too and was so thankful and excited to see a movement forming on her campus. It was so encouraging for us to see a group of women forming that will soon become a bible study and community! The guys have been meeting students who are totally on board with the change we are hoping for the Lord to ignite. Luis is a communications student who invited us to his exposition. Once he heard that Vida Estudiantil is based in evangelism and discipleship he immediately wanted to be involved. It has been challenging to find committed students but in the past week the Lord has brought us students who want to be a part of what God is doing on their campus! It has been such a gift.

El Salvador is already full of Christmas cheer and has been since late October. The pictures below are from a local mall. Yes that ornament is bigger than my head. Eek!

Photos (11/19/08)

Published by Bean under on 10:50 PM
Sorry for the lack of updates...

For a quick overview of what has been going on, here are some links to my pictures that are posted on facebook.

Hope this finds you all well!!

El Salvador Round 1

El Salvador Round 2


Published by Bean under on 6:47 PM

We have been using an awesome tool called Soularium to start spiritual conversations with students and lead into the gospel. It is a survey with pictures including the one above. And I can proudly choose this picture to represent my heart these days. I have truly come to a place of contentment.

In the past week the Lord has given me a genuine joy in being here. I am proud to call El Salvador my home, and feel like I actually live here. I admit that the adjusting period took some time for me. It has been a challenge to live thousands of miles away and walking through changes in personal life, living situation, and freedom. During that time it has been easy to cling to the luxuries and relationships that the states offer and remember that this is just a year of my life.

But now in my heart I know that I am not just visiting. I am excited that my life is here, my friends are here, and God has big plans here that include me. Even today it was reassuring to be on campus and run into four groups of students that I have been developing relationships with. And this freedom of walking in the Spirit and taking hold of the plans God has is accompanied with the greatest contentment.