Blog post written by Amanda Deal
Today was our first official day in El Salvador. We began the day with breakfast and our first team meeting. Jenni encouraged us with the parable of “The Sheep and the Goats” from the book of Matthew. Although we are here blessing the people of El Salvador, we are ultimately serving Christ by helping His people.
"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me".
Afterwards, we loaded the van for church. Upon arrival, we were greeted with beautiful smiles and welcoming words from the people of “Iglesia Monte Calvario.” Although this was my third time visiting, the church's passion and hunger for Jesus still encouraged and challenged me. We joined the church in worship and prayer over the needs of their country. Jenni had the opportunity to provide a visual demonstration of the world’s religious demographics. She encouraged the church and our team to respond to God’s call to pray, love, and share the gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus. After church, we had an opportunity to respond to God’s call.
We enjoyed a meal at the infamous Pollo Campero and then headed to the boys’ orphanage. This was my first time visiting the center and I was eager to spend time with the young group of boys who lived there. After a quick tour around the orphanage, we were quickly enthralled in an intense game of "futbol": the Gringos vs. the El Salvadorians. I loved watching the boys in their natural element. You could tell how much they loved the game, and, even more, how much they loved spending time with our team. Lucky for me, there was a basketball court right next to the soccer field. For those of you who don’t know, I am a basketball player. We were able to purchase two basketballs to give to the boys since they did not have any. As I began to introduce one of my favorite games, God decided to bring us all inside for something greater.
As it started to rain, we ran into the boys’ dorm area. I had the opportunity to share my testimony. I began talking about my first love: basketball. I explained to the boys that basketball provided an outlet for me through difficult times of trial in my life. I shared stories about my basketball experiences, the teams I played with, and all the incredible opportunities I had through my 16 years of playing. I then went on to share my experience with my ultimate love and the best team I’ve ever been on (playing for God). I told the boys about my relationship with Christ. I explained that although basketball has filled my life with joy, the joy I receive from God’s promises, grace, and love surpasses any basket I’ve ever made or any game I’ve ever won. I was followed by “the Doctor” (Thomas), “the Gangster” (Stephanie), and “the Pastor” (David). Each of us were able to tell our stories and reveal different aspects of our Father God. Many of the boys were led to raise their hands and commit their lives to Jesus. We were able to pray over them and sing praise to our Lord in both Spanish and English.
Although I enjoyed playing basketball with the boys, I am forever blessed by the opportunity I had to share Jesus with them. Today was a slam dunk for the Lord.
*Note - we are unable to post close photos of the boys from this center.
Please pray for these precious boys and for long term solutions,
healing for their families and their ongoing walks with the Lord.