Friday, March 18, 2016

Day 4: Giving a Family a Home

Today during our trip to El Salvador, we finished building our house for the family. We had to pick 
where we left off and finish building the foundation as well as place the last of the floor panels (picture 1). As we put the finishing touches on the foundation and flooring, we began passing down the wall panels to begin to put up the walls. We had a long process of passing down panels, precisely placing concrete blocks, cementing those blocks, placing panels, nailing down the panels, and adding the wooden roof supports. As the image of a house started to appear and the walls went up, the team began to add the hinges to create the windows and the doors. After this, we began to paint the house with a bright mint green and turquoise color. During this time, the team was finishing the roof with the tin sheets on top and began to nail them in. We also built steps out of concrete blocks at the front door and back door. Then we started to bring the wooden furniture into the finished house and adjusted them to give the home the best space possible. There were 5 bunk beds and 1 master bed for the 10 kids and 2 parents. After this, we just added mattresses, sheets, pillows, cups, plates, and a few outdoor decorations. Then it was time to make the reveal. The family came up the the front door area and Kurt dedicated the house, Laura blessed it, and Paula prayed for it. Then Ashley gave the key to the father to open the door and the family's face was priceless. They were so overjoyed hugging us and thanking us, praising the Lord. The knowing that you just gave a family more than what they could have ever dreamed of was the best feeling in the world. During the day, we also gave the family new shoes as well as giving our new friends we played soccer with between breaks of building new shoes. Before we left, we also gave the family food and different things. Their happiness was undefinable. What a blessing it was to give a sweet deserving family a new home. God is so good.

Picture 1: The house before 

Picture 2: The house after 

Picture 3: The family

Picture 4-7: View of the bunk beds and the home 

Picture 8: Rachel helping the kids try on new shoes 

picture 9: Jordie putting new shoes on a little boy that she brought 

Picture 10: Cami nailing the floors together 

Day 5: March 17, 2016

Everyone was apprehensive by the idea of hiking a volcano, but once we saw the amazing view, all our fears disappeared. After a long ride up to the mountain, climbing a ton of stairs, the view looking down into the crafter was breathtaking. And not just because we had hiked up there to look at it. 
Afterwards, we heading to a Catholic school to put on a carnival for about 150 children, pretty much every age imaginable. We had inflatables, face painting, tattoos (the temporary kind of course!), snow ones, popcorn, painting t shirts and nails, and soccer games. Fun was had by everyone, both by the team and by the children. 
Before leaving the area, we handed out bags of rice, sugar, and beans to the surrounding village in addition to Spanish Bibles and pillowcase dresses. Upon handing out the bags, we prayed over each family, one of them in specific for their deaf daughter and another for their son who was having heart problems. As the sun slipped behind the mountains, we handle out the last of our goods to the families who were beyond excited with them. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

El Salvador Mission Trip 2016 Update

El Salvador Mission Trip Update 2016
Today, we had the awesome pleasure of starting to build a house for a local family in San Salvador. The family has been very helpful and understanding to our "Spanglish." First, we picked up the building materials from the Sus Hijos office, loaded them into a flatbed truck, and headed off to the building site.
Today, we got to take down the remains from the previous house, level the ground, and build a sturdy foundation for the new house. All along the way, we got to talk to the family of ten, serve them lunch, haul a lot of lumber, and build the foundation for the new home.
As the days have passed, our group has grown together as a true team. The jokes, puns, and misspoken Spanish has been the starting point for so much laughter and joy. We have had so much fun while having the wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord.
Today, I was reminded as we were building the foundation for the new home, of how to live a good life serving the Lord requires us to have a strong foundation in Christ. When Christ is our Rock and Strength, nothing can prevent us from living a fulfilling life in service to God! 
Luke 6:48
"He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock."

Monday, March 14, 2016


If I had to describe today in one word I would choose the word blessed. To me, being able to consider yourself blessed is a gift from God. Being blessed doesn't mean having everything or being the most famous. Being blessed means being thankful to God for all He has done for you. 

This morning we woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed (well, sort of) and started our day with breakfast and a quick devotional before heading to San Martín, an adult special needs center. After praying over the center, the staff, and those living at the center, we headed back outside to get the party started. Our time at San Martín was full of dancing, holding hands, face painting, and bracelet making. Those "kids" at the center sure do know how to put us gringos to shame on the dance floor.

We said our goodbyes and headed to the States a Diner for lunch. The States Diner is a part of Sus Hijos' ministry that employs boys and girls who have aged out of the government orphanages. We had some killer cheeseburgers, enjoyed time together, and even headed outside to the playground to bask in the sun before getting back on the bus. 

After lunch we headed to Guirolla, a special needs orphanage. Like the beginning of our day, a majority of the time spent at Guirolla consisted of a dance party. There's nothing like seeing the smiles on the kid's faces after dancing, being pushed in the swings, being pushed around in their wheelchairs, and just being loved on. We had the chance to help the staff members feed the kids dinner after singing some worship songs aloud before heading back to the mission house for the night. 

After we arrived back at the mission house, we all played a couple rounds of dice games before the dinner bell rang at 7:00. As we gathered around the empty dinner table to pray, John informed us that we would not be having our normal night's supper. After sharing some bible verses (Proverbs 17:1 was in the mix), John informed us that we would be having the same bagged food items for dinner that we pass out to the homeless. He also instructed us to serve one another and not ourselves, which is what we are really here to do. We aren't here to serve or help ourselves, we're here to serve others and help others. 

Today was an amazing day that I will never forget. I feel so blessed to gave had the opportunity to experience today. I feel blessed to not only be here, but to build new relationships and watch old ones thrive. I feel blessed to be able to love on these kiddos. I feel blessed to know that when I wake up tomorrow morning there will be breakfast on the table. But more than anything I feel blessed to have a God who loves me enough to send his son to die for me; so I can know what true, unfailing, unconditional love is, and be able to share the love He has for me with the people of El Salvador. 

"The Lord your God has blessed you in all the works of your hands. He has watched over your journey hot ugh this vast wilderness. These forty years The Lord your God has been with you, and yo have not lacked anything." -Deuteronomy 2:7


Arrival Day for WKCTC Team!

Once we arrived in El Salvador after two long flights, we decided to do our souvenieer shopping today to accommodate our desire to visit CIPI (teen girls and teen moms with babies) during the course of our trip. After lots of entertainment there, we headed to Pollo Campero to feed the hungry team who hadn't eaten breakfast yet. 
Afterwards, the mission house was next. We settled in and were filled in with all to expect and what the week will hold for us. 
The team was given a tour of the boys transition house and learned about all the opportunities that they provide to the 5 boys living there and the needs and difficulties that the house faces. 
Card games were played until Pizza Hut was delivered for dinner, where the girls from the transition house joined us. Then more card games were played with the girls, with whom we shared lots of laughter over UNO and our struggling Spanish. 
After the girls left, half of the team left to feed the homeless, which was an eye opening and heartbreaking experience. 
All in all, it was a good day, where our team bonded together in a new environment to most, and bonded with a few new friends. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Another Grand Day!

Today the team started off the day bright and early, leaving promptly one hour late, per usual. We set off for San Martin, an orphanage for adults with special needs. We took a tour of the facility and anxiously awaited the arrival of our new friends for our dance party.
 Once they made their grand entrance we danced our butts off to some tunes from DJ Lilly. We had a blast watching Juan Carlos get down, and Emilio singing his heart out and even breaking it down ourselves. "If homecoming was half as cool as this dance, I would actually go." Amidst the dance party, our friends got their faces painted and arms tatted and gave our team some body art of their own. Unfortunately, the time came when we had to say our goodbyes, although we left with memories that we will never forget. 
After San Martin, we paid a visit to the highly anticipated Pollo Comparo, and we were not disappointed. 

With stomachs full, we paid a visit to Guerrola, another orphanage for individuals with special needs, but this one was for children. We took a tour and met the kids. This was especially out of most people's comfort zones, because most of the children are physically handicapped and have severe cognitive delays. We soon learned that all it took to put a smile on their face was to show them some love by holding their hands and smiling to show them that we care.
These children and adults don't get visitors very often, and it was a treat for them to get to spend the day with us, but it was an even bigger blessing to have been given the opportunity to meet these amazing people. These people aren't special because they have disabilities, they are special because they see the world with a pure heart and soul. Their perception of the world is something that we should all strive for, a heart free of judgement, happiness even through dark times, and love for anyone and everyone. 
With happy hearts and now empty stomachs, we made the journey to our even more highly anticipated meal... The pupusa party!
Dinner was awesome, and matched with an even more awesome view from the lookout spot down the road from the pupusaria. We saw the entire city of San Salvador from the lookout. It puts into perspective how minuscule we are in this grand scheme of things, but today, no matter how minuscule we are in relation to the the rest of the world, we were a grand part of someone's day at San Martin and Guerrola. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016


This was the 6th annual Starfish/Sus Hijos/McCracken County High School Children's Festival!!!!

Blessed. That's what I realized  after the experience I had today. Being born and living in America all my life and then coming here has really opened up my eyes to how fortunate we are. 

We began the day by taking our two buses to a village about an hour and half away for a festival for the community of the area to be apart of.

 When we arrived and unloaded there some of the church leaders lead some worship and we prayed over the families and children.
Then we had the opportunity to play and interact with the kids for awhile. We ended the day at the festival by giving every single child a pair of shoes, a t-shirt, and a bag of candy.
The expression on these kids' faces was heart melting, as they were giving these three simple items. Here I am, when I'm at home, get upset or annoyed when my wifi is slow on my phone. And these kids that have barley anything yet are so loving and have a smile on their faces.
As I sit here and type this out, not even three days into our trip, I have come to realize how blessed I am. When I wake up every morning I have running water, I have clothes in my drawer, I have a family that loves me, I have a refrigerator full of food, I have a roof over my head, I have my own car, I'm healthy. I could go on and on. 
My point here is to ask you to examine your own life. Just to be able to get in your own warm bed every night is a blessing from God and we should take time everyday to thank him for that. So do me a favor. Take time right now to pray and thank him for the first ten things that come to your mind that God has blessed you with that you take for granted in a regular basis.

 I want to thank Starfish Orphan Ministry for the amazing opportunity to be able to travel down here to make a difference in families and kids lives. Also I want to thank all the people that helped organize and take care of all the logistics and planning that went into this trip. Also I want to thank Johnny for asking me to play a small part in this amazing blog. Josh Grogan signing out. 

P.S. Keep our mission team in your prayers as we head into our last full day here tomorrow. I believe we are going to some orphanages and playing with kids there. Pray that we make a difference in these kids lives along with our own. Pray for safe travels as we had back to the US Monday morning because of the rumor of more snow this week!