Final Thoughts on the Quinceanera Team
Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey
IF YOU LIVE IN SO CAL, please join us for our trip report on Tues, July 29 at The Village Church of Irvine (77 Post, Irvine) from 7-9 pm. We'll shared videos, photos & stories from our trip. Everyone is welcome!
This blog post is being written from my bed. I am fighting a cold and feeling exhausted but my heart is overflowing. As I continue to adjust to the time change and jet lag, I am overwhelmed by all that God did during our week in El Salvador. I am also thankful to be returning to El Salvador just two weeks from today with an incredible team of 19. Please pray for these team members as they prepare to serve.
It is always difficult to put words to our trips. How can I describe what it feels like to sense the supernatural presence of God in a government orphanage filled with hopelessness? How can words express the life change that I observed in the Salvadorian people and in our team members? It feels overwhelming as I attempt to express these emotions on the pages of this blog. Psalm 34:18 says that "The Lord is near to the broken hearted". We felt his nearness over and over again. We were honored to be part of such a significant moment for so many beautiful teenage girls. We are still shocked that while our original quinceanera guest list consisted of 125 people, over 200 people arrived to celebrate the lives of these most deserving young women. It was truly an unforgettable evening.
On the day after the quinceanera we spent time with some of the girls in one of the government orphanages. They told us that they truly felt like princesses and we became their mothers. It was an emotional afternoon filled with laughter, reflections and tears as the Lord united our hearts. One of the girls told us that our children were lucky to have us as parents and I'll never forget that moment. Each one of these girls has nestled their way into my hearts and I am so thankful to be an "adoptive mom" to so many of them. The girls LOVED seeing their photos from the quinceanera on my laptop and I will be developing the photos and bringing them as gifts when I return with my next team.
ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR ENTIRE WEEK was learning about a miraculous conversation that took place on the night of the quinceanera. During the celebration Kurt Ackermann, the Founder and President of Sus Hijos, was approached by the government staff member who oversees the child welfare and social services for all of the orphanages. This staff member told Kurt that they would like to develop a spiritual formation program for the children in all of their orphanages. And they asked Kurt if SUS HIJOS would be in charge of this. Wow! It is obvious that Sus Hijos has won the hearts of the leadership through this unbelievable invitation to provide spiritual support in every orphanage. This is exactly why I do what I do. My desire has always been that our teams would strengthen the ongoing work of the long-term missionaries. That goal was achieved at the quinceanera and I couldn't be more thrilled to have been part of this.
Our final day in El Salvador was a day of rest and reflection. We had some re-entry training and talked about the challenges of entering back into "normal life" after experiencing such a life changing week. The team spent most of the day at the beach resting and processing all that God did with the SUS HIJOS ministry team. We were blessed to pray for all of the translators and were deeply moved as Kurt and Susan Ackermann shared their powerful testimonies while the sun set along the picturesque coastline. It was an honor to pray over them as a team and to encourage them in the powerful work that God has called them to.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support! Please continue to pray for the ongoing work of Sus Hijos. And pray for the Crean Lutheran High School team which will be serving from July 19-26, 2014.
"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among the peoples." - Psalm 96:3