Thursday, April 21, 2016

11-Year-Old Ryan Youd Raises $250 for the Homeless in El Salvador

Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey

Ryan Youd and his father Geoff served on the Village Church El Salvador team last summer.  Ryan was our youngest team member, at just ten years old.  When the team fed the homeless on the streets of San Salvador, Ryan was greatly impacted.  He was sobered by the heartbreak that he encountered as well as the joy he experienced in giving meals in Jesus' name.  Tragically, kids living in government orphanages are kicked out on their 18th birthdays. Many end up living on the streets, where they often sniff glue to dull the hunger pains.  Sus Hijos, our ministry partners in El Salvador, feeds the homeless community two to three times per week, bringing the hope of the Gospel through the gift of a meal.  When Ryan learned that it cost $250 per evening to feed the homeless, he determined to raise those funds once he returned home.

Over the past ten months Ryan and his family have worked diligently to recycle and collect recyclables in order to raise funds.  This experience was deeply moving for Ryan and his family as they learned valuable lessons in recycling, saving and the joy of giving.  Last Saturday Ryan was able to give $250 cash to Kurt Ackermann at the pupusa fundraiser in Newport Beach.  Kurt was overwhelmed by Ryan's selfless gift and the Sus Hijos ministry team was honored to package and distribute meals with Ryan's funds this past week.

I often tell our team members that our trips should not be viewed as an item to check off the bucket list.  These trips should alter lives.  Our team members are challenged to consider how they spend their funds, time, resources and gifts to serve others.   Every team members is sobered and humbled as they encounter the realities of life in third world countries;  abused and orphaned children, homelessness, poverty and desperate cycles of brokenness.  However, they also encounter the power of the Gospel, which can transfer and heal any situation. They learn that their lives matter, not just while serving on a missions trip, but every single day.  It warms my heart to know that Ryan got it. His family will be forever changed by his experience and he truly was the HANDS and FEET of Jesus this week in El Salvador through his gift of food.

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." - Matthew 25:35-40

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Kurt Ackermann Visits So Cal

Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey

Last week Kurt Ackermann, founder of Sus Hijos/His Children El Salvador, made his first visit to So Cal to meet with the His Hands His Feet teams.  I was also privileged to be in CA during this time and loved spending time with Kurt and our staff.  Kurt and his family moved to El Salvador from VA thirteen years ago and they are passionate about bringing the hope of the gospel to this beautiful, little country.  His Hands His Feet has been privileged to partner with Sus Hijos for the past six years and we're privileged to be sending three teams to serve in El Salvador this summer.

Here are a few highlights from Kurt's visit…

Kurt and I met with members of the Crean Lutheran High School team.

We had a blast taking Kurt to LA.  His 16 year old daughter received a scholarship to attend the Cinema Makeup School summer camp this July.  We enjoyed visiting the school and giving Kurt a tour of Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

We hosted our first pupusa fundraiser, which was a great success!  We were thrilled to have team members gather together from The Village Church of Irvine, Young Women of Vision and Crean Lutheran High School to hear Kurt's heart for El Salvador and support the ministry.  We raised almost $4500 for Sus Hijos.  What a night!

We were blessed to share about our ministry at The Village Church of Irvine and many of our former and new team members gathered for lunch before Kurt and I flew back to our homes. 

Please pray for our team members as they prepare to serve this summer.  We have almost 70 team members from 4 states and and for many, this will be their first time serving in a third world country. Pray for the finances needed, fundraising process, team bonding, health and all of the trip preparations.

"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