Friday, January 28, 2011

El Salvador, Day 8

What a glorious morning. This morning the view of the sun rising across the valley and over the peaks of the volcano was just amazing as I sat on the porch reading my Bible. The view was absolutely stunning. When you see such beauty you are forced to think, “how can ANYONE not believe in an all powerful creator who made this earth in just 6 days with nothing more than a few words”? As I sat on the porch contemplating the words to How Great Thou Art. 

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all, the works Thy Hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder, thy pow'r throughout , the universe displayed;:
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee, how great Thou art!
How great Thou art! Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander, I hear the birds, Sing sweetly in the trees; When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze;
When Christ shall come, with shouts of acclamation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim, "My God, how great Thou art!"

Someone this morning could not sleep so at 4am they decided to take a shower. I think that was also a good reason for them to take more than the allotted 3 minutes… J To protect the guilty we shall withhold names… Or maybe they were just being wise stewards of the time God had given them. Because post shower they went back to bed.

 This morning started with sorting the equipment to take with us to the village across the lake and an hour plus bus ride. The bus today was AIR CONDITIONED… WHOA, can you say super nice bus…. In perspective the cost of it was relatively cheap…. About $150 for a bus, driver, and fuel for all day! NOT bad….
As we neared the lake you could see the destruction from the mudslides. Entire sides of mountains wiped clear of EVERYTHING. Paths 500 yards wide over a mile from the mountain just carved clean and straight out from the mountain. Boulders the size of a car or even at times a small house sitting nearly a mile from the BASE of the mountain they rolled down. The power of the mudslides was evident clearly even a year later. The governor had asked us to come and share with this village. Because of their remoteness they feel as if the government has just left them and does not care for them. The only way to access the village is a 6 hour hike along a jungle footpath over a mountain or an hour long boat ride across the lake. This lake is several miles across and was formed by a volcano many years ago. All around the island volcano’s and mountains poke up. As you stand there you can look all around and see the bare stripes down the mountainsides from the mudslide. 

 The bus came to a stop right on the lakeside beach. They guys promptly unloaded the duffels of supplies from the roof of the bus and most people grabbed a bite to eat. There was a refreshing breeze blowing gustily across the lake making it very rough and the waves white-capped. We loaded into our assigned boats and pushed off. It was a bouncy rolly ride across the lake. Our boat was lively with conversation about piranha, monkeys, the village, a few houses on the beach, to use or not to use sunscreen, and many other topics. After about 30 minutes as we began to near the village we could see the beach. There crowding the beach stood many happy villagers’ awaiting our arrival.

 Upon arriving one of the locals took us on the tour through the partially rebuilt village. We many homes with holes the size of a car through the walls, roofs missing, or empty “foundations” The whole elevation of the area had been raised about 10 feet because of the mud and rock slide. We stopped at one house that was almost buried by the slide. We were standing on solid ground at about the elevation the porch roof had been. Just a few feet over you could look down into the house which for the most part had miraculously survived. There a grandmother told us of the horrifying night. She awoke about two am to the loudest roar she had ever heard… Even through the torrential downpour she knew what was happening. She hastily awakened her two sleeping grandchildren, opened the door and told them to run for the beach. Off they went down the side of the mountain. She feared it would be the last time she ever saw them. The mudslide wrapped completely around her house taking the porch and roof but leaving most of the walls intact. I can’t convey the emotion with which she talked. It was heart breaking to think that she had sent her grandkids out the door thinking it would be the last time she ever saw them. By God’s grace they made it alive. Many others were not so fortunate. 

 We found our way back to the little gazebo that had been built near the lake at the “new” village square. There we sang a few Christmas songs in English and also in Spanish with the local people. We shared the drama of Luke 2 as well as the “Chair” mime. The chair mime teaches the qualities of trust and obedience! It was a great reminder to myself to always trust and obey God no matter what. No matter what. No matter what. NO MATTER WHAT!
What a joy it was to share the gifts with the young people and older people. It brought such a joy to their face. Even more of a joy was to see them hungrily reading their own copy of the gospel of John. I even did the jump rope with a few of the kids. I am not very good at it and they quickly showed the gringo up. J
All the while the wind continued to pick up to the point that the boat drivers said we needed to leave NOW or it was going to soon be too rough. With heavy hearts we packed up long before we had planned to and made our way back to the boats. By this point in time it was simply get into a boat as fast as you can and lets go. The water was getting rougher by the minute. I enjoyed every minute of the ride back… Others in my boat did not appreciate it so. :-)
We arrived back in La Esperanza and prepared for dinner and ministry the next day. After dinner several of the girls helped us assemble the new fans while Dave, Michael, Spencer, and John worked on the switches and wiring. I bounced back and forth helping the assemble teams and electrical guys. Within two hours the wiring was all traced out, switches installed, and all 9 new fans assembled and ready for installation the following day once we had all the parts.

At SOS anytime a new team member or members arrive on a trip there is always a welcoming party that goes to the airport. Several of the team rode through town to the airport to pick up our newest members from Illinois, Arkansas, and Texas. Some how I was selected to give the orientation for all the new team members, UHOH… Good thing I paid attention the first night we arrived. :-) With Dave’s help we covered everything quickly and set about welcoming the new team members who have come for many years and unloading all their equipment. It was a very late night before things quieted down enough to go to bed.

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