Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy 2012!

I know, I'm about 2 weeks behind.  Sorry, life has been a bit busy since coming back from my family mission trip to El Salvador.

I am so excited to share some pictures with you and tell you about the amazing little town of El Zonte.

My family was truly blessed to be able to go on this trip.  Possibly a "once in a lifetime" kind of experience (but hopefully not).

We were there for 8 days, and let me tell you, in the end my kids did not want to come home.  I think they were ready for their own beds and, honestly, McDonalds, but they made some neat friends there and enjoyed themselves completely!

I was a bit nervous about taking all our boys (ages 9, 6, and 4) at first.  Nervous about safety, health, and just plain comfort.  But this trip was such a wonderful little stretch for them.  It wasn't too much to make them want to go home the second we got there, but just enough to open their eyes to the world around them.  A world that Jesus loves, and that we don't stop to even think about sometimes.  

El Zonte is a world with a lot of broken families and poor children.  Children who make bracelets and jewelry and whatever else they can to sell to surfing tourists to help raise money for their families.

But these children are happy, their smiles contagious.  Like Estrella...
This little girl is going to run the town someday.  She is already pretty much in charge around here.

And Nestor...
Even soaking wet from playing with my boys at the pool, he is the cutest!  

This is Agnid...
Like many of the local children, he was in the constant care of his older brother while his mother worked.  His older brother is only 9.  On this day he was wearing this little shirt that said "I'm crabby" on the front with a picture of a crab.  He is so sweet, and anything but crabby.  He loved decorating his little visor for the vacation Bible school craft that day.

At first, my boys were a bit hesitant about the language barrier, but one little boy cured them of that.  His name is Myron...
Every time I think of him, I get teary (and if you know me, you know that's rare!).  

Here's the brief story..

My boys had been working hard on collecting shells from the beach.  My husband was with them and they were finding some fun ones.  There was a local boy named Franklin (he rarely wears pants, but that's another story) who asked to see all the shells they had collected.  My boys handed them over to show Franklin their treasure.  In a second, Franklin took all their shells and threw them into the water.  He thought he was pretty funny, my boys were stunned.  Myron saw this happen and got very excited.  He wanted them to follow him to his little house across the river.  My husband and the boys followed him.  Myron ran into his house and came out with the MOST amazing shells.  Big, beautiful conch type shells.  All swirly and multi-colored.  My boys' shells paled in comparison.  And then, he gave them to my boys.  At first, my husband was telling Myron that they couldn't accept his shells.  They were too nice and had probably taken a long time to find.  But Myron insisted, said he could always find more, and even invited them into his small room to give them more.  He was so happy to give my boys this treasure.  What a gift!  My boys instantly found a friend and the language barrier made no difference.  They invited him over to watch "How to Train your Dragon" (we watched it in Spanish with English subtitles) at the place we were staying and they spent a lot of time swimming together the rest of the week.  From this Mama's heart, this friendship is priceless and the shells that are now proudly displayed on our mantle are a constant reminder of friendship and giving.  LOVE IT!!!

From sunrise...

To sunset... (the sun rises and sets over the ocean there, very cool!)
 we played with children.
 And we loved every exhausting minute of it!!!

Now we are dealing with the reality of being home.  Of dealing with work, and school, and busyness.  And I don't like it one bit.  It has definitely been an adjustment for me.  

We would all love to go back, and maybe one day we can.  Maybe one day we can show those children how much Jesus loves them again, and play with Myron, and drink his families yummy pineapple banana smoothies, and release more baby sea turtles into the warm ocean (story to come).  Until then, we will look at our pictures constantly and tell stories about our amazing adventure together, and be truly thankful!

1 comment:

Chris said...

Well said . . . I look forward to reading more.