Final Trip Reflections From First Class!

Post written by Jenni Ramsey (from California)

 

"God is not unjust;  he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." - Hebrews 6:10

 

I never imagined that I would be writing the last blog for this trip from first class.  Somehow I was bumped into first class, and this is a rare privilege for me.  However, as I enjoy the comforts of my leather chair and first class service, I can not help but remember the poverty we observed and the beautiful faces our team encountered this week.  These faces have nestled themselves into my heart and I will never forget them.

It is always difficult to summarize the life changing experiences of a short term missions trip.  I have had the honor of leading many missions teams around the world, and this is my fifth trip to El Salvador.  This team of volunteers was a joy to serve with.  They awoke early every day with willing hearts that were ready to work, serve and operate "out of their comfort zones."  They are returning home with a radically changed worldview, a greater desire to impact the world, and a deeper passion for the poor, the forgotten, the widow and the orphan.  

It has truly been a privilege to be the hands and feet of Jesus this week.  We have experienced the presence and hope of Jesus amidst deep tragedies.  The first child that we met at the government center was absolutely breathtaking, but had shaved hair. When we inquired about her hair, we were shocked by her devastating story.  "Maria" (not her real name) had been stabbed in the head with a machete by a family member.  She had just been released from the hospital, and we were privileged to play with her, laugh with her and pray over her.  Sadly, Maria's story is not uncommon.  One of the greatest ramifications of poverty is neglect and abuse of children.  This week our hearts were broken over and over again.  Yet it was an immense joy just to be with children like Maria.  We watched their faces light up as we brought gifts, played games together, sang songs, and held, kissed and prayed over each one.

 

Our team members were required to read "Radical," by David Platt in preparation for the trip.  In this book, Platt challenges Christians not to be trapped by the "American dream." He reminds us of how Jesus loved the lepers, the outcasts and the forgotten.  Here are a few thoughts from the book:

 

"Caring for the poor is one natural overflow and necessary evidence of the presence of Christ in our hearts.  If there is no sign of caring for the poor in our lives, then there is reason to at least question whether Christ is in our hearts." (page 110)

 

"It is a constant battle to resist the temptation to have more luxuries, to acquire more stuff, and to live more comfortably.  It requires strong and steady resolve to live out the gospel in the middle of an American dream that identifies success as moving up the ladder, getting the bigger house, purchasing the nicer car, buying better clothes, eating the finer food and acquiring more things." (page 136)

 

"The way we use our money is a barometer of our present spiritual condition.  Our neglect of the poor illustrates much about where our hearts lie.  The mark of Christ followers is that their hearts are in Heaven and their treasures are spent there." (page 138)

 

As we reflected on these words last night and processed all that we have seen, we discussed how we can have a greater influence on our local communities and our hurting world as we focus less on ourselves.  We wrestled through the difficult question of how we can help more children like Maria through living more sacrificially.  We have much to process, many stories to share and many praises to sing.  We are deeply grateful for all of the support that we have received from family, friends, churches and even strangers!  Thank you for "holding the rope" and for allowing us to participate on this incredible journey.

 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

 

Fundraising, Packing and Preparing...

Our team of 19 is ready for departure!  We will be serving in El Salvador from July 7-14, and are so grateful for all of the prayers and support that we have received!  It has been an unforgettable month of raising funds, collecting donations and preparing for our incredible week of ministry.

Our team has been overwhelmed by the many ways in which God has provided for our needs over the past few months!  One of our families was struggling with fundraising and needed just under $2100 to cover their remaining costs.  This family had 24 hours to collect the funds and to their amazement, they received exactly $2100 in donations from co-workers just hours before the funds were due!  
 

 


Our team has hosted 3 babysitting fundraisers at our church, 1 bake sale, 2 garage sales and a few lemonade stands! We have raised all of our trip expenses and even have extra funds for donations and gifts!

We are honored to be serving at two significant events for the beautiful people of El Salvador. On Monday, July 9, we will be serving at a "group wedding" at Calvary Chapel, San Salvador.  Thirty-three couples will be officially "married," many whom have lived together for years and even have children and grandchildren. In El Salvador, weddings and marriage costs are expensive and couples are often unable to afford the costs to marry.  We are thrilled to celebrate this wonderful occasion with these dear families and are bringing Spanish Bibles as gifts (embossed with each couples' name).
 

 


On Tuesday, July 10, we will be hosting a quinceanera (a traditional Latin celebration for girls on their fifteenth birthdays) for 48 young women.  These women are under the protective custody of the state due to abandonment or abuse.  Most of these girls never received a quinceanera.  Needless to say, this will be one of the most memorable events of their lives!  We have collected over 120 dresses and are also bringing shoes, jewelry, tiaras, hairpieces, makeup and gifts to bless each young woman.   The quinceanera will include dinner, live music and a special message from some of our team members.  Most of these girls have experienced extreme trauma and abuse in their young lives.  Please pray that they will understand their value and beauty as we celebrate their lives together.  Pray that they will understand the deep love of their Heavenly Father as we communicate the hope of the Gospel and the truth that can set them free.  
 

 

 

 

 

 


Last Sunday our team was commissioned at The Village Church of Irvine.  We are so thankful to be part of a church that is passionately involved in God's work around the world.  Please pray for our safety, our health and team unity as we serve together in a third world country.  We will be posting photos and updates daily from El Salvador.    - Jenni for the team
 

 

 

 

Posted by ES Team at 12:38 PM No comments: 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

 

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Jenni (the Orphan Outreach Director for All Blessings) and Mike Ramsey, who accepted a referral of a little girl from Korea last week!  Visit their adoption blog for photos and stories!
 

www.ramseyfam.com

 

 


Jenni will continue to oversee our orphan outreach trips after completing their adoption, but will not travel overseas with our 2013 teams.  All Blessings is allowing Jenni as much time as possible to adjust and attach with their new daughter.  Our future trips will be lead by All Blessings staff members and/or previous team members. 

Posted by ES Team at 9:37 AM No comments: 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

 

Meet our July El Salvador Team!

Our next team leaves for El Salvador in just three weeks and it is an incredible team of volunteers!  Many of them are returning for the second and third time!  Here are the team members:

Jenni and Jordan Ramsey
Stephanie and Stephen Keenan
Amanda and Molly Langdon
Dave, Tanya, Micah and Rebekah Eason
Jenny and Molly Gorcoff
Robert Veith
Jeff, Colleen, Joshua and HannahGrace Bowen
Amanda Deal
Megan Hanson

Our team will be serving in many different ministry opportunities from July 7-14.  Some team members will be doing construction projects at an orphanage run by Calvary Chapel, others will serve in a government orphanage and we are all honored to participate in a homeless feeding, a very special wedding celebration (for couples who've been unable to afford a wedding ceremony) and a quinceanera (for teen girls in the government center who did not receive this special celebration).  It's going to be an awesome week!!!!!
 

 

 

 

 

 


Last night we held our second babysitting fundraiser at The Village Church of Irvine.  We received $450 in donations!  We are so grateful for the overwhelming support from our church family!  We will be holding another babysitting evening ("Parents' Night Out!") on Friday, June 29th at The Village Church of Irvine from 6-9 pm.

Our team still needs to raise $9,000 for all of the trip costs.  If you would like to donate, please mail your tax-deductible gift to All Blessings International, 13111 Hewes, Santa Ana, CA 92705 or contact Jenni Ramsey at jenni.ramsey@cox.net.

Posted by ES Team at 9:52 AM No comments: 

Monday, June 11, 2012

 

Fall Guatemala Trip

 

 

 


We are currently scheduling a trip to Guatemala in October or November of 2012!  This will be the third outreach trip through HIS HANDS / HIS FEET, the outreach and humanitarian aide ministry of All Blessings Intl. Adoptions, to Guatemala.  We will be partnering with a number of long-term ministries and our ministry focus will be:

Building & delivering beds in an impoverished community
Serving in a Christian orphanage
Serving long-term missionaries in their neighborhood outreach through Bible study & home visits

Please contact Jenni Ramsey at jenni.ramsey@cox.net if you'd like a trip application!

Posted by ES Team at 10:42 PM No comments: 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

 

Final Trip Reflections From First Class!

Post written by Jenni Ramsey (from California)

 

"God is not unjust;  he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." - Hebrews 6:10

 

I never imagined that I would be writing the last blog for this trip from first class.  Somehow I was bumped into first class, and this is a rare privilege for me.  However, as I enjoy the comforts of my leather chair and first class service, I can not help but remember the poverty we observed and the beautiful faces our team encountered this week.  These faces have nestled themselves into my heart and I will never forget them.

 

 

 

 

It is always difficult to summarize the life changing experiences of a short term missions trip.  I have had the honor of leading many missions teams around the world, and this is my fifth trip to El Salvador.  This team of volunteers was a joy to serve with.  They awoke early every day with willing hearts that were ready to work, serve and operate "out of their comfort zones."  They are returning home with a radically changed worldview, a greater desire to impact the world, and a deeper passion for the poor, the forgotten, the widow and the orphan.  

 

 

 

 

 

It has truly been a privilege to be the hands and feet of Jesus this week.  We have experienced the presence and hope of Jesus amidst deep tragedies.  The first child that we met at the government center was absolutely breathtaking, but had shaved hair. When we inquired about her hair, we were shocked by her devastating story.  "Maria" (not her real name) had been stabbed in the head with a machete by a family member.  She had just been released from the hospital, and we were privileged to play with her, laugh with her and pray over her.  Sadly, Maria's story is not uncommon.  One of the greatest ramifications of poverty is neglect and abuse of children.  This week our hearts were broken over and over again.  Yet it was an immense joy just to be with children like Maria.  We watched their faces light up as we brought gifts, played games together, sang songs, and held, kissed and prayed over each one.

 

Our team members were required to read "Radical," by David Platt in preparation for the trip.  In this book, Platt challenges Christians not to be trapped by the "American dream." He reminds us of how Jesus loved the lepers, the outcasts and the forgotten.  Here are a few thoughts from the book:

 

"Caring for the poor is one natural overflow and necessary evidence of the presence of Christ in our hearts.  If there is no sign of caring for the poor in our lives, then there is reason to at least question whether Christ is in our hearts." (page 110)

 

"It is a constant battle to resist the temptation to have more luxuries, to acquire more stuff, and to live more comfortably.  It requires strong and steady resolve to live out the gospel in the middle of an American dream that identifies success as moving up the ladder, getting the bigger house, purchasing the nicer car, buying better clothes, eating the finer food and acquiring more things." (page 136)

 

"The way we use our money is a barometer of our present spiritual condition.  Our neglect of the poor illustrates much about where our hearts lie.  The mark of Christ followers is that their hearts are in Heaven and their treasures are spent there." (page 138)

 

As we reflected on these words last night and processed all that we have seen, we discussed how we can have a greater influence on our local communities and our hurting world as we focus less on ourselves.  We wrestled through the difficult question of how we can help more children like Maria through living more sacrificially.  We have much to process, many stories to share and many praises to sing.  We are deeply grateful for all of the support that we have received from family, friends, churches and even strangers!  Thank you for "holding the rope" and for allowing us to participate on this incredible journey.


Before leaving the mission house this morning, I chose some of my favorite photos from the week that have not yet been posted.  One of our team members, Christella Hudson, has done an unbelievable job capturing our experiences in photographs.  Thank you Christella!

Please continue to follow our blog.  I will be leading a team of nineteen volunteers from my church back to El Salvador in July.  We are thrilled to be throwing a surprise quinceanera (a traditional Latin celebration for girls on their 15th birthdays) for the teenage girls at the government center.  Most of these girls were never given quinceaneras and it will undoubtedly be an unforgettable event (see blog post below with details dated May 18, 2012).  I can't wait to return to El Salvador to be part of God's redemptive, healing work in this breathtaking country once again.  

Jenni RamseyComment