The next update from the women's soccer team is from Ali Critcher as they journey on through their mission trip to El Salvador.
We struggle every single morning to get out of bed and start a new day. But as soon as we get to see the beauty in a child's smile we immediately become encouraged.
Playing with the children of El Salvador is something I could never have dreamed of. The love that fills their eyes is overwhelming. All of the children command attention.
From 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. we played with children of all ages from the government school. We played tag and soccer for hours and hours, but by God's grace we never ran out of energy.
Each girl on the team met at least one child that will never be forgotten. It's so easy to look past the simple things, such as giving a hug to a 12-year-old girl, but we didn't do that.
The girls and boys at the school may not get the love that is essential to a healthy life. I like to believe that the simple hugs and kisses that were exchanged today made an everlasting mark on these children's lives.
Our lunch was spent in an overcrowded room that consisted of the team and the precious school teachers. The teachers work for a small salary that doesn't even provide enough income for household necessities.
The first thing that I noticed was a teacher piling up pizza on a plate. My first thought was, "Wow, is she going to eat five pieces of pizza?” I sat next to her and watched her go up for more pizza several times. What I didn't notice was that she was eating some, but she was also piling them on a plate underneath the table. After telling this story to my teammates, I was told that she took the pizza and cut them up for her kindergartners.
This made me realize so much. I have never had to struggle for a meal in my entire life. I complain often about my food not being good enough, and I often throw it away because it tastes poorly. In this moment I was reminded that a lot of these children aren't going to get a meal when they get home. I was immediately embarrassed about my wastefulness and greediness.
I was also a part of a group who taught an English class. We shared our individual stories with the students and then taught them simple things to say such as "How are you?" and "What is your name?" I'm not sure if they were able to take anything away from the stories that we each shared, but I feel like God called me to tell my story for a reason.
God is working in amazing ways here in El Salvador. I can't wait for what the final days of the week have in store for us. I'm so excited to share with everyone in Nashville what God is doing in my life.