Blog post written by Lauren O'Brien (age 17)
I am continually amazed by how God blesses me in new ways each time I come to El Salvador. This is my third year serving here. Today I got to see a lot of old friends (and make some new ones, too). I personally believe that the greatest reward Christians have on earth is in finding a place in the body of Christ. Having spiritual brothers and sisters to encourage you as you grow in your faith together is so fulfilling. It reminds me that God designed us for a community-based purpose, and that is the purpose we are living out with Sus Hijos.
"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." (Galatians 6:10)
This morning I saw the faces of many of my Sus Hijos/translator friends for the first time in a year. Memories of fellowship from the past summer overwhelmed my spirit, and I was reminded of the beauty of God's community of believers. The high you get from being with other people who found their lives on the rock of Jesus--people that you love beyond explanation--is better than anything. Amazingly, God can miraculously create those bonds between people who have just met, and that's what I experienced at the boys' orphanage.
God breaks my heart for these boys in ways I don't quite understand. Maybe it's the fact that I can't relate to them as easily as I can with girls, or maybe because I don't always know what to say, but even the simple conversations I managed to have with them brought smiles to their faces. One boy played soccer with me while we talked about our favorite months of the year. We were both smiling and laughing and enjoying our new friendship. It's amazing how God can work through the smallest things.
There was another boy at the center that I talked to a little bit. I watched him for a few seconds before he turned around and we accidentally made eye contact. I knew immediately that he was the same boy I had once played cards with my first time in El Salvador. I felt a lot of emotions in that moment. I was happy he was still alive (and safe in the center), I was thankful that I was presented with the chance to speak with him again, and of course, I was heartbroken that he was in this situation. He seemed almost completely closed off and didn't want to be a part of the group when we all sat down to listen to a team member's testimony. I could feel that there was a hole inside him that could only be filled with Jesus. The hardest moment of the day was leaving the center.
I know, however, that God has His own timing. Even though I was upset that I couldn't spend more time with the one boy, I remembered that Christians are called to love, not to convert. I pray that God will soften the hearts of the boys and heal them of everything they have struggled through, but I will do as I am called and leave the rest to Jesus. God asks us to be comforted in trusting our plans, our lives, and our hearts to the Lord. At the end of the day, I am overjoyed that I was able to go at all. Connecting with the other boys filled me with joy. Serving and sharing the hope of Jesus is the purpose I came with. Now, I can give the rest to God let him do immeasurably more than I could ever think, dream, or imagine.
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)