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.
“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