Happy summer everyone!
We can hardly believe June is over. These last couple of months have kept our site busy as our country navigated not one, but two national emergencies. Although it has been a tough season for so many in El Salvador, it has also been a time of generosity, willingness, and fidelity. God is never far!
May and most of June found us again under strict quarantine restrictions, limiting income for many in our community, and greatly impacting their livelihood. God continued to open doors for our ministry and allowed us to serve in our city and beyond. In conjunction with donations and local partnerships, we built food packages and distributed them to various neighbourhoods. We also had a chance to share cold beverages in the San Salvador streets with safety enforcement groups, city workers, local vendors, and homeless individuals. Perhaps a small and simple gesture, but we hope and pray this can be a message of empathy and recognition during this difficult time.
On the weekend of May 31st, Tropical Storm Amanda (the second tropical cyclone and first named storm of the 2020 Pacific hurricane season) passed through El Salvador, causing widespread flooding and landslides. Tragically, this storm claimed the lives of 27 people, sent 4,000 people into shelters, damaged 30,000 homes, and left the most vulnerable communities in ruins.
Almost immediately, our site reached out to local contacts, sent a solicitation to our States-side partners, and generally attempted to bring awareness to the new emergency in El Salvador. The response was instantaneous and incredibly encouraging. As we entered June we were met with many Salvadorans dropping off bags of clothes, blankets, and food. We also had an influx of messages from people abroad asking us what was the best way they could help from afar. Once again, CAMA partnered with our site, allowing our time and funds to shift toward reaching the new and sudden needs.
We are so, so grateful for all those who committed their resources, time, and prayer to walk alongside the affected members in our country. Thank you to all local and U.S. churches, to the shelters who opened their doors, to local ministries and organizations who partnered with us, and to the countless individuals and families who poured out what they could. In the midst of two natural disasters, we can’t help but see light breaking through the dark!
Recently the president and congress met, which resulted in a plan of reopening for the country. This strategy will gradually introduce new stages for a total of five phases. On June 16th we officially began the first one. This means public sectors have opened (immigration, judicial courts, etc.), as well as public interest companies (internet, phone,etc.). Restaurants can now offer a take out option. Residents are allowed to grocery shop, pick up food, and buy other necessities on any day of the week (we were previously restricted to two days, depending on your identification number). This is just to name a few.
Our staff has also returned to work onsite under the “education administration” and “relief organizations” clause. We are taking seriously all the necessary precautions and seeking a wise posture as we move forward in this transition. We are praising God for not only allowing us to be physically back together as a team, but also for the protection He’s had for us all!
Since restrictions still inhibit all of our kids from returning to the site, our staff has been working hard to continue steering resources into the digital world for them. We launched a private Facebook group for the youth of our program with the intention of taking devotions online, while also bringing truth and encouragement to their social media timelines. It is our prayer that this can be a place for connection, where seeds can scatter and take root!
Our online high school teens were completing their studies offsite during quarantine, and have recently returned to the site for half days. It’s been so good to have their jokes and laughter back.
Another bit of news is that our leadership team has been working with our partner university tutors, along with the English professor, to develop curriculum for the English reinforcement class we currently offer. This will be extremely helpful and can be another great opportunity, because the new curriculum will potentially lead to a certification. Even though this is still in the early stages, we’d love for you to pray with us for for a smooth process in this new intention!
We are really excited share that our site associate, Laura, has raised the funds needed to come to El Salvador!! We cannot wait to have her here. Language school in Costa Rica is her next step before arriving in San Salvador. Thank you for your prayers, please help us continue to lift Laura up as she prepares these next two months for this coming chapter.
Pray for our staff and interns who have been giving their hearts in trust to the Lord and the ministry. Pray for their families, for protection from any illness, that God’s perfect love would cast out any fear, and that it would be His Spirit guiding their path.
Pray for the youth of our La Fuente program, as well as for their families. Please pray that their physical needs may be met, and that their eyes and hearts may be open to the encounters Jesus wishes to have with them. Pray for their studies, for their friendships and relationships, and for wise decision-making.
Pray for Laura’s remaining time back home. Pray for her goodbyes, for the logistics of wrapping up life in one country and preparing for life in another, and for God’s peace to reign in her heart and mind.
Pray for Apopa La Fuente as it’s being developed. Pray for prudent decisions, and that the Lord would bless all the elements that will come together for this program. Pray for the children and their families, that Jesus may meet them wherever they are in whatever need they may be experiencing.
Pray for our existing ministries as restrictions continue to change. Pray that God may grant wisdom in the adaptations that may need to occur, that in His grace He may continue to use us, and that our lives and site may bring glory to His name.
It is your kindness and service that enables us to listen and follow our beautiful God. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. We have no idea what tomorrow may bring, but we trust there is a blessed and known path ahead!