Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Jolene Muir provides fans with the most recent happenings during the team’s excursion to El Salvador.
I woke to what can only be described as clown-car horns sounding in the streets. At the early hour of 6 am, this was not the most pleasant way to start the day. Yet, as I begrudgingly dragged myself out of bed and glanced out the window, I saw locals on their way as the sun rose over the buildings gifting light to those below. In that moment I felt truly alive. All anger and anxiety was lifted; today was going to be a good day.
We began our adventure at the local school, where we expected to visit classes. But, as with everything in El Salvador, our plans changed.
Amidst a local festival, many classes were lacking in numbers which meant we spent three tiring hours playing "mica" (tag). With sweat dripping from every part of our bodies, there was nothing that could wipe the smiles off of both the girl’s and the children's faces.
From young to old, no child was left to be alone. Sitting back and watching as children were chased, tickled, hugged and simply loved by all of us, there was the amazing presence of pure joy in the air.
Upon the ring of the final bell, the children retreated to their classes. Left in an eerie silence and calm, it was overwhelming to soak in what had just happened. The Lord brought us to this place, to these people, and in that moment we knew we were right where we were supposed to be.
As we left the school, in our rear-view mirror, we continued our day’s journey to Karla's house to celebrate her youngest child, Fernanda's birthday.
Armed with cake, candy and toys we were once more greeted by the neighborhood children. Those smiles never left their faces as we showered them with embraces. Their unwarranted joy is something that can only be explained by the grace of God.
With them we played, we laughed, we danced and we attempted to show them the love that God blesses them with. When the time came to say goodbye again the hugs tightened, the tears threatened and the love deepened. Throughout this week, we have built a bond with these kids. They opened their homes and their hearts to us and have impacted our lives in more ways than they will ever know.
In the afternoon we experienced a new side of El Salvador at ESEN, a private university which claims to be the most expensive and exclusive in the country. Here we met with the women's soccer team for a mixer. Refreshingly, most spoke English, so the language barrier which often troubled us was no longer an issue. Instantly, we connected to these girls as we played the game we all love.
On and off the field, we bonded and shared our stories as we found common ground in our love of Christ. Exchanging Facebook details, it was overwhelming to realize that a soccer ball had brought all of these people together. Through something so trivial and childish, came an afternoon so powerful and meaningful to all.
From a day full of tears, sweat, love and hard work, came so many things to be thankful for and so much more to look forward to. As we've now reached halfway in our trip, it is strange to think how much we have grown already. Each and every one of us has grown spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally. We all see different things and are impacted in different ways. Whether it is through a simple game of tag, or a child giving a kiss and a bracelet, this week is blessing us in so many ways.
As we lay our heads down and prepare for what is to come we know that The Lord has a great plan for all of us. Not only for this week, but for wherever He may lead us in the future. And for that, we are forever grateful.
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