El Salvador – Answered Prayers

Hello everyone!

I am sorry that it has taken so long for us to share about our trip to El Salvador.  We have been pretty busy with school, work, and other commitments and it has been hard to find a time where the two of us had free time at together.

Thank you all for praying with us for and during the trip to El Salvador.  We have asked you to pray for us and in a lot of different ways, and we saw God at work answering those prayers!

Thank you.

Here are just a few things that we have asked you to pray for and how God answered them.

Answered Prayers:

  1. Safety – We were safer than we ever could have imagined.  One of the people on the trip that was from NYC even said that it felt safer than a lot of the neighborhoods that he grew up near.  While El Salvador is still a very dangerous country, we were blessed to have felt extremely safe during our entire trip.
  2. Health – For the most part, everyone was healthy! Unfortunately, Amanda was a bit unwell for parts of the trip, but in these moments, the Lord provided an opportunity for her practice her Spanish! We were painting at a church, and Amanda couldn’t stand outside with the team to paint, so she painted and “talked” with the Salvadorans inside instead. It was a huge blessing for her to feel more confident in her Spanish communication abilities!
  3. For God’s will to be done – God is working in mighty and miraculous ways. In El Salvador, the staff is desiring rest because they are stretched thin with all the work that the Lord is doing. The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. He has great plans, and the team needs more people to do the work!
  4. Grace – We heard many amazing stories of Grace in the lives of the people in El Salvador.  The most prominent in my mind was Alfredo.  Alfredo was heavily involved in the gang culture.  He had lived much of his life surrounded by violence, illegal activity, and every that comes along with it.  It was only two weeks before we got to El Salvador that Alfredo started coming to Hungary Church.  While we were there he had his trial for his crimes.  He went to court, ready to plead guilty.  Envision and Hungary Church prayed for God to work in and through Alfredo.  The night of his trial, we were all sitting in our debrief session and he walks and tells us his story.   He was waiting to go into the trial and his lawyer came and told him that all charges were dropped.  “I am a free man” he said concluding his story with a big smile on his face.  God is at work in the lives of the people of El Salvador.
  5. Finances – God is so incredibly merciful and loving! We entrusted Him to provide the money for this trip, and He provided abundantly! We raised slightly more than we needed, so that as a team, we were fully funded with one week left before the trip.
  6. Our hearts – We were able to spend a week intentionally focusing on the Lord, and we were able to come back from a week of hard work and feel rested and encouraged! The trip was a blessing to us, and it renewed our energy for the work we are doing here in Philly.
  7. Hearts of Salvadorans – God is at work in the Hungry church already.  As mentioned before, the people there are hungry for Truth.  They are yearning for Jesus.
  8. Discernment – We know that we are called to missions.  That was affirmed.  We do not know where we are going next, or where we will be called to, but missions is in our future.

Continued Prayers:

  1. Discernment for future missions – where will God be sending us next and for how long?  We know that god has called us to international missions, but we do not yet know how to get there, what or where he has called us to internationally.  Maybe El Salvador?
  2. Envision El Salvador – Hungary church is in need of more staff, and more resources.  Pray that the team at Envision can be strengthened to continue to do God’s work while they wait and pray that more staff members can be found.
  3. Ministries – Envision has many ministries including the after school program, the football ministry, Hungary church plant that they support.  Pray that they can continue to encourage and draw Salvadorans to the Church and to Jesus.
  4. Gangs –  The gangs are still the largest obstacle in El Salvador.  Many Salvadorans cannot follow Christ because they fear that if they leave the gangs they will be killed.  They gangs actually let them leave if it is for religious reason.  Because of this, many people use the excuse to leave the gang, and the gang doesn’t believe them and kills them anyway.  Not only that, but the gangs also heavily influence the way that the government is run.  They prevent the government from caring for its people as effectively as it might otherwise.  The gangs are hurting the people mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Pray that God can work miraculously to change a broken system.

 

Thank you again for praying alongside us! I hope that you continue to seek Jesus.  He is doing amazing things all over the world and we get to be a part of them.  It is aw-inspiring to know that we get to partner with our almighty God in the work that He is already doing.

El Salvador September Update

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 buckleyfamily14@gmail.com.  We would love to hear your words of encouragements, know that you are praying for us, and be able to connect further.

El Salvador Update

Hey everyone,

Last Sunday (well it was last Sunday when I started writing this but by the time you are reading this, its probably been about three weeks)  we had a team meeting and got a little more information about the trip, and wanted to share some updates with you on the trip, the team, and on our thoughts and hearts for the trip.

The Apology

Firstly, I want to apologize for neither of us posting many updates about the trip thus far.  We have not really received much more information than what we had started with.  Hopefully, we will have a little more regularity moving forward with the updates as we move closer to the trip date.

The Purpose 

So, the general purpose of trip is as we had expected.   Our primary activities will be working with the after-school program and the football ministry that focuses on Salvadoran deportees from America. We will also be determining if Citylight can begin a long-term partnership with Envision, focusing on a pop-up medical clinic.

Our trip will, God willing, be followed by, and probably preceded by, trips from a variety of other churches across the globe that are coming to help with several of these mission fields.  This is important because a one-week program will not keep kids out of the gangs or deportees from falling back into the gangs.  Our trip is a piece of God’s bigger plan for El Salvador.

The Prayers

For those of you praying for us, there are a few key ways that you can be praying for the trip.

  1. Safety.  El Salvador is incredibly violent country, riddled with gang activity.  Because of that, it is not the safest of place to be.  We did find out that as Americans we will be a thousand times safer than the people we are reaching out to.  The gangs can control or at least get past the Salvadoran government, but the US government would be much harder for them to thwart.
  2. Finances.  The trip is not free.  I have a longer note below about the specifics.  Pray that the team can raise the needed finances to go on this trip.
  3. Discernment.  One of the primary reasons that this trip exists is to discern if this particular church in San Salvador is a place that we (Citylight) could establish a long-term relationship with.  Pray that we can have supernatural discernment in knowing if and how to continue with this partnership.
  4. Growth.  My hope is that we will ultimately be doing and discerning God’s will on this trip.  Amanda and I hope, one day, to live long-term as international missionaries.  We are praying that God can use this trip to grow and prepare us for the ministry opportunities that he has for us in the future.
  5. Jesus. This is the most important one.  If you can only pray for only one thing, pray for Jesus.  We desire to have Jesus be present on this trip, changing lives and making miracles.  We want to share the truth about the true Jesus and support those that are already on the ground there doing just that.

The Finances

I went back and forth about how much to share here about our finances and fundraising.   Ultimately, I decided that if you cared about us and the trip enough to read this far into the email, you probably would like to know how things are going and how you can be praying for us.  This is one major area where we need prayer.  So far (as of August 20th) we have a little less than $500.  For this trip we will need another $3,500.

I may not have a degree in math, but we are not where we need to be financially.  We had hoped that we would have a larger portion by now, but, as you can see, we don’t.  If you would pray for the financial aspect of this trip and pray that we will be able to raise the remainder of the money needed, that would be greatly appreciated.

If you are feeling like the Lord is calling you to support us on this trip, you can donate online at http://citylightphilly.com/give/ and desiganate the give to: El Salvador – The Buckley’s.

Stay Connected

As always, we would love to stay connected with you!  You can stay connected with us by 1) subscribing to this blog and reading, commenting, and sharing feedback on our posts, or 2) by emailing us at buckleyfamily14@gmail.com.

 

Living the Mission: El Viaje a El Salvador

We are always full-time missionaries, and right now, we [Dan and Amanda] are on the mission field in Philadelphia. We love the verse from 1 Peter 2 that tells us exactly what full-time missions looks like:

 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us. – 1 Peter 2:12

Well, as some of you may know, we are preparing for a missions trip to El Salvador this October! We are going to be doing some very exciting things:

  • Working with an after-school program for youth to help keep them off the streets and out of gangs – Schools end even earlier there, and so gangs have plenty of time to try to pick up the kiddos when they are out and about after school.
  • Working with a deportees – Over 100 El Salvadorns are deported back to El Salvador each day, but these individuals often speak little Spanish and are used to American culture. The ministry we are partnering with for the week tries to meet these people when they arrive in El Salvador and provide them another option than simply going back into gang life.
  • Determining the possibility of a medical clinic – Our church (Citylight) has many medical students and professionals, and so a part of the trip is determining if a long-term relationship for hosting a pop-up clinic will be possible.

A long time ago, the Lord placed a specific desire in both of our hearts to live, work, and serve Him in another country. While we are not ready to move away yet, we believe that He will use this trip to help us learn and refine our cross-cultural skills, help us discern if He will send us to Central America again, and help solidify our calls and desires to serve Him wholeheartedly, wherever He calls us.

So what now? Well, please pray for us! There are a lot of details to manage to get us out of here in just 2 months! Pray for our team leaders as they finalize the plan. Please also pray for our hearts (for both our hearts and the rest of the team; there are almost 15 people going!). Pray that the Lord gives us an attitude of trust and humility as we embark on this adventure. Also pray for safety and health both before and during the trip!

The other big area that we need prayer for is to financially support the trip. We need $4000 for both of us to go. We are very far away from that goal, but we wholeheartedly trust that the Lord will provide the funds that we need. Since He has put this into our laps and we believe He wants us on this team, then we fully trust that He will provide.

Thank you so much for following us on our journey with this blog, and we look forward to continuing to share what the Lord is doing in our lives!


If you are feeling like the Lord is leading you to pray and/or financially support us, we would love to connect with you! Feel free to email us at buckleyfamily14@gmail.com if you would like to directly communicate with us. If you would like to directly contribute, you can go online to http://www.citylightphilly.com/give and designate the gift to El Salvador – The Buckley’s. You can also send checks (again, please specify El Salvador – The Buckley’s very clearly) to PO Box 29159 Philadelphia, PA 19128.