By Lipscomb women’s soccer freshman Olivia Doak
Today was a great day. God is so amazing; in every aspect, in every circumstance, and in every life, His presence throughout this trip has been undeniable. It was so awesome to see His light shine, especially today.
The morning started out with Leah inviting one of the Congressmen of El Salvador because she had a connection through her job. He was there to tell us more about El Salvador, explain what he is doing through his political role, and answer any questions we had. He is a very successful man; therefore, it was neat to see a different perspective of the country and how someone in a government role wants to make a difference.
The hardest part of the day consisted of teary-eyed goodbyes. This whole week we have been visiting with the families that live in Tomas Rodriguez and everyone has formed special bonds with the people there. For instance, I met a little girl named Jessica when we were handing out bags of food on the first day; I was passing her house and all the sudden these beautiful dark eyes and this bright smile appear and she runs out to me and jumps in my arms. She immediately stole my heart, and her smile and laugh was just so special. Even though her circumstances are nowhere near ideal, her joy was the same joy I see in children who have so much.
Through this precious three year old, God made it evident to me that all these material things that consume our lives do not define joy. She has changed my perspective on so much, and I am so thankful for the way God used her to show me true and innocent joy. It was so evident that God was present in our time there by the way our team and the people there reacted as we said our goodbyes. It was so beautiful how, in such a small amount of time, not only did we impact a community and build great relationships, but they impacted each of our lives in a way that left us and also them devastated to say goodbye.
After regrouping in the bus, we got to spend some time at a local bargain market. The market was filled with bracelets, T-shirts, coffee and many other souvenirs. Many of the girls got their supporters, friends, and family gifts. It was so cool to see the thoughtfulness of the group, and LB especially stuck out to me. I saw her buy Hilda, one of the women that worked with helping us translate all week, a pair of really pretty earrings. Then, I saw her buy our bus driver a drink from a food stand. Her thoughtfulness throughout the day and the trip was really sweet to experience. I learned through her what it is like to be a servant of the kingdom and a light to others.
On our way to the beach, we stopped at the Congressman's beautiful sugar plantation. The hospitality there was incredible; we were greeted with bouquets of flowers and fresh coconuts. It was really nice to see this part of the culture of El Salvador because for the most part we had spent times in the poorest parts of the country.
Next we arrived at Bahai del Sol, our hotel at the beach. We had a late lunch and then prepared for one of my favorite memories of the trips: baptism. Elise, Hannah, Jordan, and I decided to fully commit to a new life in Christ. Before we went into the water, Kelsey, Emily, and Leah went over Romans 6 with us and just poured truth from God's word into us about what a new life in Christ truly means. With excitement and joy, we met the rest of our team in the water. The waves were crashing roughly onto the shore, and the sun started to settle down-the most perfect setting of God's creations to be baptized.
Elise was baptized by Emily first. Next, Leah baptized Hannah and Jordan. Kelsey baptized me last. Different members of our team took turns in intentionally praying for each of us after. It was so special to be baptized by one of the most influential people in my life. I am forever grateful for her and how she has played a major role in strengthening my faith; never would I imagine that being a Division-I soccer player that my coach would baptize me in the Pacific Ocean in a different country. It was also amazing to experience it with these awesome girls who are so much more than my teammates and friends; they are my sisters in Christ. Kelsey used a really fitting analogy which said even though the waves were literally knocking us down, we were all pulling each other up, as we will continue to do in our daily lives.
We spent the rest of the night debriefing and reflecting on a week that was so incredible in so many ways. It was amazing to hear everyone's perspective on the week and how impactful it was on them. Each place we went, each team member and every aspect of the trip, I found this indescribable truth from God pouring out to me that I have been seeking for so long. I am so excited for our new lives in Christ, the hope of the Gospel that we witnessed spread to the people in need, and for the impacts made to continue. I am so thankful for a beautiful day and the opportunity to serve such a mighty God.
"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4