Wednesday, October 15, 2014

March Quinceanera/Missionary Care Trip

Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey

I am thrilled to announce that I'll be traveling to El Salvador this March with former team members, Stephanie Keenan, Roberta Keenan and Valerie Anderlik.  The purpose of the trip is to attend the quinceanera (a traditional Latin 15th birthday celebration) for one of the missionary family's daughters and to provide missionary care for our ministry partners, Sus Hijos.   Both Stephanie and Valerie have a deep passion for El Salvador and will be serving on our 2015 summer teams.  The March trip will be Stephanie's sixth trip to El Salvador. Stephanie and her mom, Roberta (who has served with All Blessings in Guatemala) are looking forward to visiting Stephen, who will move to El Salvador in January, 2015, to serve for a year. Valerie and her husband David recently started hosting monthly prayer meetings for El Salvador in their home and will be co-leading a team from Crean Lutheran High School with me next July.  

What's so special about a quinceanera?

In 2011 our summer team was spending time with teen girls living in a government center.  It became glaringly clear that one of the greatest heartbreaks of these young women was the fact they would never have a quinceanera.  Quinceanera celebrations are a rite of passage into adulthood for Latin American girls.  They are often more significant than even wedding celebrations.  Sadly, many of the kids who live in government centers have never had a birthday party.  Some don't even know their date of birth.  We committed to return the following year to host a quinceanera for the teen girls and the event surpassed our wildest dreams.  Our short-term teams have been so honored to host two large quinceaneras over the past two years.  We will be throwing our third quinceanera in July of 2015.  To read about those quinceaneras, visit the July posts below in 2014 and 2012.

The Knepper Family

Our team met the Knepper family in 2011 while serving at a boys' home (run by Calvary Chapel, San Salvador).  It was truly a "divine appointment" since they were not originally planning to work with our team that week.  We quickly fell in love with their family and they have been partnering with our teams for the past four years.  They Kneppers are sent out by Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa.  Our team members have been so blessed to spend time with them on their home assignments in Southern California.  Kathy was able to attend our daughter Hailey's adoption court hearing in June of 2013. It was so special to have her there!

The Kneppers pastor a church in San Ana, El Salvador.  They are also involved in a number of ministries including hospital visits and orphanage work (in partnership with Sus Hijos).  The Knepper's oldest daughter, Katie, will celebrate her quinceanera on March 7th.  I have developed a very close relationship with Katie over the past few years and am so excited to celebrate her quinceanera in El Salvador!  Katie is pictured below (in the gorgeous, yellow dress) at the 2014 quinceanera celebration for teen girls:

Missionary Care for Sus Hijos

Our team is also looking forward to providing missionary care and encouragement to Sus Hijos, the organization that we partner with in San Salvador.  The staff of Sus Hijos are an incredible group of Salvadorians and North Americans.  They labor selflessly day after day to provide spiritual, physical and emotional support to men, women and children who have been marginalized in El Salvador.  We are looking forward to spending one on one time with their staff without a large team during this trip.

We are raising support for our trip costs (approximately $1000/person).  If you would like to help with this need, you can send a tax deductible check to All Blessings, 95 Spring Valley, Irvine, CA 92602.  Thank you for your prayers and support as we continue to serve His children in El Salvador!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Village Church El Salvador Trip Report

Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey

"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers in to his harvest field.'” - Matthew 9:35-38

We are so grateful to be part of a church that has such a strong commitment to missions.  The Village Church of Irvine has two international areas of focus in El Salvador and South Africa.  We are honored to send short-term teams overseas annually to both of these areas of the world with a focus on serving orphans and those who are impacted by HIV/AIDS.   Last month our 2014 summer teams were invited to share how God moved through the teams in our church service.  It was so incredible to see how many people from our small church had served the Lord in short-term missions this summer.

We are also excited by the fact that so many team members continue to return year after year, with a long-term commitment to the countries in which they serve.  During the trip report one of the members of the South Africa team, Bryan Watanabe, announced that his family is praying about moving to South Africa long-term.  There were tears in his eyes as he shared how God has burdened his family and broken their hearts for the South African people.  There are also four El Salvador team members who are praying about moving to El Salvador in the future.  We are thrilled that God is raising up workers within our midst!

Please pray that God continues to raise up both short-term and long-term laborers for our ongoing work in El Salvador and South Africa.  Pray for our team leaders and ministry partners, that they will be filled with the Holy Spirit as they support, encourage and lead others to take the gospel to the nations.  And finally, pray for those whom God is calling to serve in 2015; that their hearts will be open to leave the comforts of home for the life changing experience of serving in his marvelous harvest field.