Reflections from American Airlines Flight 1520
Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey
As I gaze over the luring, turquoise waters of the Caribbean from my passenger seat, I am overwhelmed with emotions. This week was simply supernatural. We experienced the undeniable hand of God on our team over and over again. We felt His presence as we fed the homeless and were reminded that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him (Matthew 25:40). We fed Him this week and we all knew that He was proud. We knew He was near when we cared for special needs children who were unable to feed themselves. We were humbled as we shared our personal stories of faith and watched troubled teenagers living in government orphanages surrender their hearts to the God who created them and sent His son to suffer and die for them.
Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is near to the broken hearted.” I know that everyone on our team felt His nearness this week. We felt His love over and over again through the passionate commitment of the Sus Hijos ministry team of North Americans and Salvadorians. We felt His Holy Spirit as we heard stories of trauma and understood the reality of a God who longs to heal and redeem the deepest wounds. We experienced the true peace of Heaven as we grieved with a church whose pastor just entered eternity. And we felt His strong presence this morning as we spent time affirming one another in the ways in which we’ve seen our team be the HANDS AND FEET of Jesus to the beautiful people of El Salvador.
My personal highlight this week was when some of the women on our team gathered with some of the Sus Hijos missionaries, translators and the young women who are part of the transition program. These girls have been given the incredible opportunity to live in the transition home for two years, where they are learning life skills like cooking, cleaning, laundry and managing money. They are working at The States Diner and their futures are definitely bright. We spent four and a half hours sitting on a hard floor in what felt like an intensive therapy session. Valerie Anderlik led the women through a study on healing that she leads at home. Many of our team members shared stories of God’s healing in their lives. This allowed the girls to feel the safety and comfort of knowing that we “get it.” We were able to hear their stories, weep, encourage and pray for one another. We experienced an extremely supernatural moment at the end of the evening, which was yet another evidence of God’s tremendous power in the midst of intense darkness. We were emotionally exhausted when we ended at 12:30 pm, but we knew that hearts had been set free that night. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” – John 8:36.
Yesterday we spent our final day at a beach rental property processing the week, addressing the re-entry challenges that team members will face and encouraging the Sus Hijos team. Our team members intentionally spent time affirming and praying for the Sus Hijos staff. We were able to hear the founders of Sus Hijos, Kurt and Susan Ackermann, share their testimonies and were deeply challenged as they shared how God called them to leave their successful lives and comforts in the US to serve orphans in El Salvador.
We celebrated the end of our week together at a traditional pupusa restaurant, where we were entertained by a lively mariachi group. The city lights near the restaurant were breathtaking. It was difficult to say good bye last night to the Sus Hijos team and kids from the transition homes and there were many tears. Our hearts have been knit together and deep friendships have been made.
Needless to say, we have all left a piece of our hearts in El Salvador and we will never forget the miracles that God has done in our midst.
Our team members read David Platt’s book, “Radical” in preparation for the trip. Yesterday we re-read part of “Radical” and were especially struck by this quote:
“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” (page 139)
Please pray for our team members as they process the ways in which their hearts have been broken. Pray that our lives will be different as we return home. Be intentional as you listen to them share how God moved in their lives this week. Re-entry can be extremely difficult. Adjusting to life in a first world country is always challenging after having our eyes opened to third world poverty. Pray that team members will consider how they spend their time, money, resources and gifts in light of all they have experienced this week.
Thank you so much for your love, support and prayers of our team. We are overwhelmed by the donations we received, the hundreds of people who prayed for us, followed our blog and went above and beyond to support our team. Please continue to follow our blog as we share updates on the ongoing work in El Salvador.