Blog post written by Lisa Barger from Prosper, Texas
Monday we visited the adult and special needs ministry homes. We started at San Martin, the home for people who are eighteen years and older. Upon arrival we received a tour and visited with some of the more severely disabled residents, which was difficult. But we were warmly welcomed by caregivers and residents as well. The welcomes came in different forms..... from a great big smile from amazing Sandra, a squeeze of the hand we were holding, or just eye contact from a resident that has difficulty with even a slight movement....it was amazing! Their stories are heartbreaking but their spirits are beautiful.
After the tour most residents were able to leave their living quarters and join us outside for some fun. "DJ Lilly," one of our translators, kept a great mix of 80's and Latin music going. It was one of the most fun dance parties I've ever been too! These beautiful people love to dance and their joy is contagious! It would be impossible to have a bad day at this place.....it's a place where I felt God's presence in a huge way caring for His children.
In between the dance parties we did crafts the residents. My 5th grade daughter Elianna was working hard doing nails, necklaces, and face painting. My nails were done too by a resident who was eager to give back. Everywhere we've gone this week the people of El Salvador have extended their giving hearts....wanting to serve us as well. Many of us "gringos" had our nails done....best manicure ever! It was very easy to tell who was tipping scale on the receiving end....definitely the gringos! At one point Maria asked us what we thought of how she looked. She was moderately disabled but very aware of the world perception of beauty. In the work she may appear to be "ugly," through the eyes of God she is perfect. It was one (of many) moments that I was beside myself elated to have Christ with me and my focus firmly on Him today. I was out of my element in a place with very little selfishness, greed, or materialism. I was able to see this young lady the way Jesus sees her and with sincerity tell her she's beautiful. Perfect in every way and created on purpose. I put the necklace that we were working on around her neck and told her that she was a most "bonita" princesa de Dios. Thank you Jesus for giving me that moment.
Special needs adults have brought me some of the best moments in life and definitely the best dance parties. I have missed out not serving in this way for a long time. I am on this adventure with my daughter Elianna. It was her first time serving in this environment and she loved it! She can't wait to return next year. Here are a few of her thoughts from the day in her own words;
San Martin was the one of the best days I ever had! God has helped me so much on this trip and I even raised just enough money to go on this trip. My mom says that normally a girl only 10 years old like me would have been very scared and would have flinched a lot at the differences of the residents but I didn't notice them at all. She said that I saw them as God saw them and she could see the Holy Spirit working. God gave me so much courage! The residents enjoyed everything we did and it was awesome. God gave me so much confidence in what I did and I think that without Him I would be lost, and I might have been scared at how they looked and sounded. This really has been a life changing event in my life! I know God helps these people and will strengthen them as much as he can!
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." - Isaiah 41:10