Blog written by Amanda...
Never in my life have I experienced the abundant love, overwhelming peace, and promised hope of Jesus Christ like I did today in El Salvador. Today God gave me the opportunity to sit on the floor of the teenage moms' room and place hands on three young mothers that desperately wanted to fill their hearts with the love and grace of God. Today I held a one month old baby girl in my arms and prayed over her. Today we brought fingernail polish and lotion and painted the hands and feet of the beautiful girls. Today we gathered a group of 30 young ladies, in the rain, who listened to Jenni, Carin, Stephanie, and my testimonies. Today myself and my team carried out God's plan.
The team and I spent another day at CIPI and witnessed how awesome our God is. Many times throughout the day I smiled and told God how extremely happy I am that I am in El Salvador serving His beloved people. A small group of us (Carin, Jenny [one of our teams AWESOME translators], Kendall, and Kathy Knepper) went to hang out with the teen mothers and their babies expecting to dance, as we did yesterday, and paint their nails. However, God's plan was far better, exceeding all of our expectations. The moms have a "tia," who works for the orphanage and looks after them during the day. She informed us that last night the girls woke up frightened after finding one of the babies on the floor, unclothed, and with a smile on his face. Another girl woke up feeling as though someone was on her suffocating her. They asked their "tia" if the American team were Christians and if so, would they pray for them? We took this opportunity to explain to them that God is bigger than any fear we have on earth.
God is greater than fear. God is our comforter, protector, and ultimate peace. We then prayed over the girls and asked if anyone of them desired to ask Jesus into their heart. As our translator spoke in Spanish, (with the little Spanish I know, I knew exactly what she was telling them) I got up and sat next to three girls who then rose their hands. I laid my hands around them and instantly felt as if my heart was going to beat out of my chest. My hands were tingling and tears rolled down my face. I felt the Holy Spirt entering into those girls. God then told me, over and over, "this is where I want you."
After lunch, we returned and so did the rain. Our plan was to gather the girls, sit with them, and share our stories. We told our intimate stories of pain and hurt; the before God and after God; and then the hope and peace we now have. These testimonies completely shocked the girls. These are girls (no more than 15 years old), who have experienced abuse (in every way), abandonment, unwanted pregnancies and more. These girls never would have believed that people like us had gone through hardships similar to theirs. They never imagined that they share the same God as us. A God who looked down and saw his hijas (daughters) gathering in the courtyard talking about him. We prayed over the young ladies and I was again overwhelmed by the longing desperation these girls have for Jesus and the promises He holds for them. After praying, a 13 year-old girl named Jessica came up and hugged me (I had painted her nails earlier in the day) and asked me (in Spanish), "When are you coming back? " I replied that we were returning in the morning. She said no, and asked the question again. I asked our translator what she was saying. Jenny said that what she was asking was when am I coming back for good?
I love God, the English language, the Spanish language, traveling, teaching, and Latin American culture. God is dramatically revealing His purpose for my life through this trip. What I wanted to answer to Jessica was that I'm never leaving, but I think my family, friends, coach and teammates would kill me. However, this trip, especially today's experiences, have given me a glimpse into God's plans for me.
Today was a success.