Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Young Women of Vision 2017 Trip Video

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Young Women of Vision Quinceanera 2017

Lighthouse 2017 Trip Video

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Lighthouse Christian Fellowship 2017 Team Video

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Reflections After Leading my Fourth Team to El Salvador

Blog post written by Lindsey Warneke
Teacher and Team Leader, Crean Lutheran High School

“...Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” -1 Thessalonians 2:8

As I took a step off the plane and set foot in El Salvador for the first time three years ago, I had little expectation of what the journey would entail. I knew only a few details about the region, and this was one of the few instances in my life that I had left the comforts of my environment. Having arrived, I was eager to undertake whatever the week would bring forth. What I did not anticipate, however, was how drastically this brief experience would impact me.

In reflecting after my return from my fourth trip to the country, I am humbled to play a small role in what God is doing in Central America. Throughout these past few summers, our teams have had the opportunity to assist in centers that care for children, construct homes for families, deliver meals and distribute clothing, and pray with the missionaries who are serving in the areas we visit. In the midst of all the trials and challenges faced by many Salvadorians, I have witnessed first-hand the Holy Spirit at work through the men and women who have been called to spread the good news across this nation. Some have uprooted themselves from their places of origin, while others are committed to proclaiming the truth in their homeland. Regardless of where they are from, all are dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission. I am grateful for every interaction I have had with each person I have met during my time in El Salvador.

To the Ackermann and Knepper families, thank you for your faithful service unto the Lord. You inspire me more than I can put into words. May God continue to richly bless your labors as you shine His light in this dark world.

Dear staff and volunteers of the Sus Hijos Foundation, you exemplify what it means to be followers of Christ, and your faith is an incredible source of encouragement for all whom you encounter. Thank you for allowing us to partner with you in advancing the Kingdom.

Jenni Ramsey and Stephanie Keenan, thank you for supporting a vision that brings hope to those who desperately need Jesus. His Hands His Feet has impacted many people and will continue to do so for years to come.

Above all, I thank God for the redemptive work of His Son’s death and resurrection and for intertwining the stories of these influential individuals with mine. I pray we continue to share not only the gospel with one another and the citizens of El Salvador but our lives as well.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Good Bye El Salvador

Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey
McKinney, Texas

My heart is filled with many emotions as our team drives to the airport in the darkness of the morning.  It has been such a joy to bring three teams from Texas and California to serve in El Salvador this summer in partnering with "Sus Hijos" (His Children in Spanish).  I have seen God work powerfully in orphanages, villages, on the dance floor of the Crown Plaza Hotel and on the streets of San Salvador. 

Yesterday our team was blessed to visit two orphanages, where we had the opportunity to share testimonies and pray over the kids.  Many of the kids asked specific questions about the testimonies. They listened intently and it was clear that the Holy Spirit was working in their hearts.  At the first orphanage, four teens stood to commit their lives to Jesus.  Our team gathered around these young women to pray and many tears were shed.  It was a wonderful way to end our time of ministry. 

We concluded the day with our traditional pupusa dinner at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the city of San Salvador.  We enjoyed fellowship with our entire team of Sus Hijos missionaries, where we danced to live mariachi music and even celebrated my birthday. I'm incredibly grateful for this amazing group of students from Crean Lutheran High School.  They served with passion and they touched hundreds of lives this week.  This was our fourth year partnering with Crean and we look forward to serving with these student for many years to come. 

In John 10:10, Jesus told His disciples that "the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."  We have observed much destruction in El Salvador this summer.  The people of El Salvador have been oppressed by the gangs, the crushing economic challenges that cause an unending cycle of poverty and corrupt governments.  There is a very real enemy who seeks to bring death and destruction in this place. However, our God is moving mightily through His people. He is bringing abundant life to those who cry out to Him.  He hears the cries of the broken hearted.  He is near to them (Psalm 34:18).  It has been an honor to be HIS HANDS and HIS FEET to His people in El Salvador as we partner with the amazing foundation, Sus Hijos. They are doing an incredible work day after day, bringing relief and comfort where it is desperately needed.  

Thank you to everyone who supported our short-term teams this year.  We're incredibly grateful for all of the prayers, words of encouragement and financial gifts that were donated, which allowed us to send nearly sixty short-term missionaries to Central America.  Your partnership allowed us to be HIS HANDS and HIS FEET.  Muchas gracias. Good bye El Salvador.  Thank you for your warmth, your hospitality and for teaching me so much about God's never ending love.  I look forward to returning next year with another group of "Gringos," for it is a joy to worship, play and serve in this breathtaking piece of God's wondrous Earth.  

Friday, August 4, 2017

Much Needed R&R

Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey
McKinney, Texas

Yesterday our team had a much needed day of R&R with our ministry partners at the beach. We did our re-entry talk on the bus ride to the beach, where we processed the amazing things that God has done in our midst. We shared scriptures on God's heart for the fatherless, the poor and the heartbroken. His Word has come to life this week as we've watched Him pour out His love in and through our team. 

The team had the opportunity to pray over our missionaries throughout the day.  We also had a heart warming time of affirmation together, where many tears were shed. I am incredibly thankful to the Lord for three amazing weeks in El Salvador this summer.  He has moved powerfully, bringing life, hope and encouragement to the wonderful people of El Salvador.  It has been such a joy to serve alongside the students of Crean Lutheran High School this week. They have been joyful, humble, sacrificial and worked extremely hard all week long.  I look forward to serving alongside Crean for many years to come! 

Yesterday we talked about how these short-term trips are a small glimpse of Heaven.  It is such a joy to serve the Lord along with brothers and sisters from different countries, cultures and backgrounds.  One day we will all gather at the throne together. "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." - John 10:10

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Home, Sweet Home

Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey, Director, His Hands His Feet
McKinney, Texas

Psalm 34:18 says that God is NEAR to the brokenhearted.  This week we experienced His nearness as our team completed two homes for two single moms. Both of these precious women have cried out to God in their brokenness, asking him for a permanent and safe "forever home." In God's goodness, He chose our teams to provide the answer to their prayers.  It was an indescribable joy for our teams to hand over the keys to these women yesterday and watch in tears as they entered their homes for the first time.

In the morning the team completed the final paint touches on the exterior of the homes.  We also painted two walls in the interior of each house.  A concrete slab was poured for the entry way. The furniture arrived mid morning and it was so exhilarating to furnish and decorate the house.  I felt like Joanna Gaines, doing an El Salvador style "Fixer Upper." The families observed us throughout the morning and even got involved with painting.  Their eyes said it all. They told me over and over again how excited and grateful they were for their new homes. One of the moms lived in a wooden house in the community (see below).  She described an incredible dream that God had given her in which a man told her that she would one day live in a concrete house, painted with two colors.  We were absolutely blown away by how the Lord had prepared her for this gift!

Once the house was fully painted, furnished and decorated, the entire team gathered around the property to dedicate the home.  Emotional words were shared by the Sus Hijos staff as well as both families.  I was honored to pray over the house.  The anticipation and excitement was indescribable. The team laid their hands on the families and walls to ask God for his protection.

Last night as I laid my head on my pillow before going to sleep, my heart was overjoyed at the knowledge that six women were snuggled safely in their brand new beds. Words can not describe the sense of fulfillment in my heart as I have been intimately involved in this process.  Our team members from both Lighthouse Christian Fellowship in Texas and Crean Lutheran High School in California worked tremendously for months to raise the funds for these homes.  I am incredibly proud of our teams for their passion, dedication and love for both families and for making these moms' dreams come true.  Thank you to everyone who worked so diligently to raise funds, send our team members and support all that was required for both families to finally have their forever home, sweet homes!

We completed our afternoon by delivering non-perishable foods and Bibles to the community in which we built the homes.  The teams were welcomed by warm hospitality at every house. The community members were grateful for the gifts they received and opportunities to pray together. The Salvadorians opened their hearts to our teams and those sweet moments will not be forgotten. The families were also invited to join us in the afternoon as we distributed clothing.  It was so incredible to observe the joyful faces of the grateful community members as they chose brand new clothes, which had been sent with the team from family members and friends.  What a joy it has been to make dreams come true in El Salvador this week!

Serving on the Streets of San Salvador

Blog written by Ellie DeAllen (age 16)
Irvine, California

Yesterday after a long and rewarding day of finishing up the house and distributing food and Bibles in the community, we had the amazing opportunity to pass out food to the homeless.  We piled into the blue pickup truck and headed out on the road with over two-hundred bags of food and a few bags of clothes.  As the team headed out for the third time this week, a million things were running through my head.  What kind of people was I going to see? Would I be able to communicate with them? What would happen if we ran out of food and they got angry? I was full of worry and anxiety over what was to come.  But the moment that I saw the people running at the truck shouting “comida! comida!" (food in Spanish), all my worries were replaced by the joy that radiated from them.

It was so incredible to realize how something we take for granted means the world to someone else. As we watched the people racing to the truck with smiles full of gratitude, I was struck by contrasting emotions.  It was equally saddening and satisfying to be able to help in such ways. My heart broke for the ones who were limping up to the truck. I was touched by the beaming smiles of the children who were beyond stoked to be eating that night. The act of people running to us to fulfill their needs reminded me of how we should run to God to fulfill ours.  As these people put their trust in us for the food and clothing we distributed, I was struck by how we also need to run to God for protection.  It was such a powerful experience to literally be the hands and feet of God, being able to feed, clothe, pray, and love the people that were sent to us. 

One little girl who ran to the truck lit up when she saw us coming. She was probably around four-years old, but clearly had the love and faith of someone much older.  You could just sense her joy and gratitude by the way she pointed at others who also needed food. The smile on her face as we pulled away just melted me.  It was incredibly heartbreaking yet such a reality check to understand that the homeless aren't just nameless people that you pass on the street.  They are the sons and daughters of God just like us.  They have beating hearts and were formed by our Father with a purpose.  We are all equal in His eyes, we've just been put in different circumstances and tested in different ways. I'm so thankful for this opportunity to see the world from a different perspective, in a different light, and to be able to shine the love of Christ through a simple action of handing out hotdogs and t-shirts.