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.

"Your message has been sent"

Published by Bean under on 5:42 PM
This is the most exciting thing gmail could have said to me today..

For the past 4 weeks I have been working so hard to get my first update out. I admit that it was slightly delayed in the first place, but technology for sure spun me in some circles. I don't want to give away anything, but I do believe that the update is well worth the wait. Some things I faced in the past few weeks.. a small scanner, limited illustrator abilities, borrowing a roommates computer and graphic design genius, miscommunication with the letter service, large files, inability to send large files, inability to downsize files..etc. But today we have success and hopefully you will hear all is well and the great plans God has for El Salvador!!

I other things, last Sunday was one of the most Salvadorian days I have had. It started with a church service with one of our good friends Elisa. She attends the first Christian church that was ever planted in El Salvador. After an encouraging service talking about trusting the Lord and his provision for our needs, we went to a local mall to have lunch with Elisa and her friends and most of their families. Imagine 40 of us in a mall food court, surrounded by several other groups doing the same thing. After that we went with Raul and Catterina (a younger married couple, Raul is a student's older brother) and their two year old daughter Gaby to a coffee plantation on top of the volcano. We packed around 18 of us into three cars and drove up the mountain to enjoy a slow afternoon of each others company, talking about life in El Salvador, learning Spanish, politics, the economy and everything in between. All in Spanish of course.

Here is a picture of our view from the table. It was gorgeous and a true blessing to be completely accepted as a part of a normal Sunday afternoon with these students. And we have an open invitation into the lives of this family at any time.

To the right is a picture of the girls from the day.

From left Brenna, Kristen, Jenna, Lauren, Elisa, Me, and Gabriella.

Soon to come: pictures from the campuses I am working on. Minsitry updates. Pictures from Jenna's birthday- Salvadorian style!


Published by Bean under on 12:03 AM
Welcome to my blog!!

I realized that update letters are just not enough. A one sided once a month run through will not suffice to the works that God has already done and will do during this year in El Salvador. So welcome to the more frequent update station, hopefully I can fill you guys in on whats already gone on.

I would love to share the vision that the national staff have for their country. Layo and Luchi Leiva are the regional directors for Campus Crusade for Christ in the Caribbean and Latin America and the national directors for El Salvador. They are working and praying for a movement of college students that will influence the future and make an impact on their country. They want to connect students to Jesus and then to a community of believers of all ages and social statuses in order to give them more opportunities to change their world and serve the needs of their country. In order to be able to acheive this goal, my team has been split into two smaller groups to influence four campuses rather than two. Although this change can be very hard on our team (it separates us and gives us completely opposite schedules) we are seeing the Lord's hand in ministry. We are bringing together the staff team and already developing relationships with students and walking alongside them as they follow Jesus.

I plan to update at least twice a week, so keep checking out whats going on. I have tons of encouraging stories and cultural mishaps to share.

Until next time,
Frijolita (my Salvadorian nick name)