As the women's soccer team prepares to make the trip back to Tennessee, Carlotta Fenefoss tells the fans of their experiences during the final days of their voyage.
This last full day of our mission trip was bound to be different from the others. We had said our goodbyes to both Karla and her family, as well as hugged the kids at the school in Nuevo Cascatlan for the last time.
We were about to leave San Salvador, giving the city a piece of our hearts filled with vivid memories of the people that we sometimes had spent only minutes with, but despite the short time had touched our hearts and impacted our lives forever.
Before our visit to the orphanage, we made a short stop at a small, local market that offered typical El Salvadorian souvenirs such as ponchos, hammocks, and bracelets.
Most girls were focused on bringing back small gifts for their boyfriends and families, while others (no names will be named) went all out and bought machetes as a token of their affection (not sure of what affection it is supposed to represent...).
Anyways, headed to an orphanage for mentally disabled children and adults, we prepared ourselves for the last day of giving and reviving the love of Christ through the people we were about to meet.
Still, nothing could ever prepare us for the kind of love, joy, and sense of unity that surrounded this place of God on the hilltop outside of San Salvador.
The strength and love shown by every one of the nurses was extraordinary and was multiplied by the girls as they immediately surrounded the orphans, embracing them, praying for them, and talking to them.
There was especially one moment that exemplified the power of God. As Cristina Giron talked to a lot of the orphans in Spanish they did not seem to recognize anything of what she was saying until she started talking about God. As the word left Cristina's lips you could immediately sense the change in their focus as a light in their eyes started to shine and an occasional shriek of joy would leave their lips and fill the air, mesmerizing the witnesses of these reactions.
As we left the orphanage, exhausted by the sometimes overwhelming week, we headed to our final destination of our trip, the beach. Here we were given the opportunity to relax and soak in the sun while finally having some time to reflect on all the big and small happenings throughout the week.
Still, all these emotions and experiences of the week could only be summarized through the act of baptizing and welcoming the three new sisters in Christ: Cristina, Niamh Rawlins and Carolyn Springsteen.
Standing in the Pacific Ocean with the waves crushing in, the sun setting and surrounded by all their sisters and brothers in Christ, the three girls were baptized by Coach Klotz, Kelsey Fenix and Alyssa TeLang.
As each of the girls ended the ceremony with a short prayer, the waves kept getting more powerful, reflecting on how El Salvador has made us stronger in our faith, our love for each other, and our love for this country.
Finally, after having some time to dwell on the happenings of the week, we went down to the beach for our last gathering on this mission trip. We had watched the sun disappear in the ocean, while transforming the sky into millions of colors, with the baptism still fresh in our memories.
We were now given plastic cups for the purpose of scribbling down our most important words that described our experience of the week. With the sound of crashing waves and Eric's guitar playing in the background, we finally got the feeling of peace and calmness that enabled everybody to share their awesome moments that made this mission trip so incredible.
No words or blog like this will ever come close to describing our experiences or expressing our feelings for this country and the people we were fortunate enough to meet.
Almost no words can describe the relationships and unity this group has achieved through these few days.
Still, this journey lead by God had provided us with so much strength, courage, love, and joy, that it is impossible to not want to share it. This mission trip to El Salvador has given us all more than we could ever expect, led by two words that seemed to always be in the middle of all our actions, relationships and tears.
Relationships between us in the group, relationships between each individual and God, and relationships between us and every person we were blessed enough to meet.
Through forming these relationships, tears of joy and sadness always seemed to follow, stressing the reality and rawness of God's power in every action. But ultimately the tears seemed to always be tears of joy for the people we met, the actions we saw, and the power of God that we felt.