We had another meeting this week and we have even more information about our trip! From this point on we are hoping to have an El Salvador-related post every week until we leave for the trip so that you can be prayerfully preparing for this trip with us.
We are very excited because we now have a better understanding of what, exactly, we will be doing with the ministries that we are partnering with.
This trip is going to be unique in that each member of the team will have different roles and participate in different activities so that nobodies experience will be the same. We will be dividing into groups to split and cover a variety of tasks while we are there. We likely will not personally be doing everything that follows (isn’t it humbling and encouraging to know that God uses the diversity of the body to accomplish His work!).
We will arrive Friday afternoon and spend time getting to know the Envision Team (this is the organization that we are going with), get settled into our home base for the week, and have an orientation to the area, the culture, and some of the tasks that we will be doing. The next day, we will be getting a historical tour of the area. Because much of the present turmoil is so deeply rooted in their history, it is important for us to understand their past if we are going to help them in the present. Then, there is a family outreach day on Saturday afternoon that we will participate in with Envision. On Sunday, we will be visiting local churches!
In the week that we are there, we will be spending two days helping with painting and construction at a new church. One of the churches that we are partnering with in San Salvador has outgrown their current location and needs their new location completed quickly before they can grow the church. This is an awesome reminder that God is already working there! He is a good God at work in the world, and he is using us to do some of His work!
We will also be spending two afternoons working with the after school program called La Fuente. As we have mentioned in previous posts and letters, the gangs in El Salvador recruit kids when they are quite young. Because these kids (probably middle and high school) get done with school around noon and their parents are not out of work until later in the evening, there is a large window of time where they can be sucked into the gang culture. This after school program gives the kids a place to be that is supportive, educational, and fun where they can thrive apart from the gangs. The kids get lunch when they first arrive, and then have an hour long devotional time with music and hearing the Word. We have the exciting opportunity to share the message with the kids both days that we will be there! We will also be involved with teaching the kids English and maybe Math, providing team sports and games, offering cooking lessons, doing crafts with them, and a few other activities that we pray will be fruitful for these kids.
There are a variety of other ministries that our team will be helping with while we are in El Salvador. There is a ministry called Diaspora that meets deportees at the airport as they land back in El Salvador and connects them with many resources, including the Church. It might seem most heartbreaking to hear about the 11 year old sucked into gang life, but every individual, especially those who have nowhere to turn like the deportees, needs an escape from gang life. Our hope to provide that escape through the local churches and ministries.
We will also be partnering with their American Football ministry. This ministry serves a similar purpose to the after-school program in that its goal is to keep adults out of the gangs and to build meaningful relationships with them. They have specifically asked for people to come and play and coach their team: the Jaguars. For those of you who know the Buckley’s well, you can probably guess that we will not be the football coaches, but we are still excited for the opportunity to partner with this ministry! It is a unique way for individuals to be connected with a community and have a regular opportunity to hear the Word.
Several of the members of our team are medical professionals, and so they will be checking out an eye/vision clinic ministry. One major purpose of this trip is to see what is needed and what would be feasible if our sending church, Citylight, would be able to host a pop-up clinic in the area. Other individuals, especially our church leaders, will have many opportunities to connect with church leaders in the area and hear their stories and needs.
Our team is developing a way to send updates while we are on the trip (either a facebook group or email list). Once it has been determined and created, we will share information about how to stay connected and get updates about the group while we are on the ground directly from the leaders of our group.
Praying for us, specifically, we ask for prayers of humility, patience, and peace. We would love if you could pray that we can find joy and rest in the Lord during the time leading up to this trip. Pray that we can seek God’s will for our lives fervently (specifically as to what he has in store for long-term missions for us) and that we would have the boldness to follow His will when we can discern it. Lastly, please pray that as the trip date quickly approaches that we do not fall into the temptations of anxiety, and that instead, we go to the Lord with our worries and take on an attitude of peace.
Thank you all for your prayers for us and for our efforts to raise the support that we need for this trip. As you probably know by now, we need a total of $4000 for the two of us. As of the middle of September, we have about $1000 that has already come in. We have applied for a grant that should come in for another $1000, which will put us half way there. We also have about another $1000 that we have been told is on its way in! Which means that we only have about $1000 left to raise! Please thank God for providing all these funds thus far, and pray that God will provide this last portion of the funds for this trip.
If God is leading you to support us financially, you can give at citylightphilly.com/give and mark your donation as for the Buckley’s El Salvador.
If you have any questions or comments about El Salvador or our trip, feel free to leave them on this website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear your words of encouragements, know that you are praying for us, and be able to connect further.