"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
Today we had a wonderful day processing all that the Lord has done in our midst. It's been an unbelievable week filled with miracles, tears, laughter, heartbreak and the overwhelming sense of the nearness of God. In our devotional this morning we talked about the many reasons in which we've felt so near to the Lord this week… the lack of distractions, incredible fellowship, intentional times of prayer and worship, and the opportunity to serve the least of these in partnership with Sus Hijos. We looked at Psalm 34:18, which says that "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. He cares for those who trust in Him." We found Jesus this week as we served the brokenhearted in orphanages, prisons and while feeding the homeless on the dark streets of San Salvador. We felt near to Him because of His nearness to the brokenhearted and the privilege we had to bring His hope to the broken.
The team had their re-entry training on the bus ride to the beach, where we talked about returning home and the many ways in which we may be frustrated with our culture, customs and even our close family and friends. We also talked about how the trip has impacted our lives and the ways in which we hope to change. Team members shared how the Bible verses that had been assigned to them on God's call to missions, the poor and the orphaned had impacted them this week. The team leaders had the opportunity to affirm the team for the incredible ways in which they've sacrificed, served and given of themselves this week. They have truly been amazing servants.
We were blessed to spend the day in fellowship at an absolutely breathtaking beach house. Our team members had the opportunity to pray for the Sus Hijos ministry staff throughout the day. It was beautiful to see small groups of people gathered together for prayer on the beach, in the pool and seated in lounge chairs. Team members also completed their devotions and processed the trip experience with one another. At the end of the day, we heard how the Lord called Kurt and Susan Ackermann, the founders of Sus Hijos, to leave their lives and careers in the US to serve orphans in El Salvador. They were honest about the struggles they've faced as well as the incredible rewards they've experienced in ministry and the team was honored to pray over them.
We completed the day with a traditional Salvadorian meal of pupusas and a visit to a beautiful vista of the entire city of San Salvador, where team members laughed and took millions of selfies. The break dancers even joined in on our final team photo. It was difficult for the team to say good bye to the people who've captured their hearts this week. The missionaries that we've partnered with have demonstrated the love of Jesus over and over again and it's truly been an honor to be part of their long-term work in this lovely country.
We will never know the impact that our team has had on the souls of men, women and children this week. Our lives have been radically impacted and countless hundreds received meals, hugs, gifts, Bibles, food and a quinceanera celebration beyond their wildest dreams. Please pray for the team members as they return home and continue to process all that they experienced. Our dates have already been confirmed for four 2016 summer trips and we look forward to serving the Lord among the harvest field of the broken hearted in El Salvador and to the ends of the Earth, until the world has been reached with the hope of the Gospel.