This is John Shen from Troy, MI, in El Salvador. I just logged into my online music storage and found the most recently uploaded song.

It´s a remix, but it reminded me of when I actually heard the song here, in San Salvador. I responded by commenting to the nearest person that this song shouldn´t be here, and that I like Salvadoran music better anyway. But she replied that maybe the people here like our music back in the States better too.

Later that night we met with the pastor of the church which we are helping. He told us one of the greatest struggles the youth here face is that 70% of them want to leave the country for the USA. He wanted us to relate and connect with them, all of us learning together on our retreat this weekend that we are followers of Jesus - wherever we go, wherever we are, wherever we want to be.

Luego, amigos (y amigas).


Yea, the greatest drink since Sunny D, and only 25 cents here in El Savlador. Thats pretty much the first thing I do here every morning out of my room, walk over to the corner tienda and get some Squíz.

I guess I should introduce myself a bit. Hola, me llamo Joe and I am here with a team of 14 chinos (thats what everyone calls us here even though we have a Korean and a few white guys with us).

Days here are pretty draining. Today in particular tired me out tremendously. I woke up early along with Brent, our youth pastor, and Kevin to catch an appointment with a local that wanted to learn english. Even though he ended up not showing up, it just goes to show how God is opening up opportunities to create relationships with the people here.
Be able to work with the children at Tía Ana´s is quite a blessing. I personally am not particularly good with kids, but the kids there have so much life and joy in them even though most of the them are without nourishing parents. Contruction is also very fulfilling as our team managed to get a giant pile of sand moved up a hill.

I have to thank God that our team is still so motivated and working hard. Its so easy to get frustrated and discouraged with the heat, the crazy children, and the language barrier, but God has been working wonders in each of us and keeping us a functioning machine. Christian Jacobs (the intern with our group) is such a blessing. I did not anticipate him being so cool and bonding with our team so well.

Time is flying as we´re leaving for a youth retreat tomorrow. Before I know it, we´ll all be in a plane comming home thinking about what has happened here. It is very apparant how God is working in each of our hearts. Its so amazing watching teammates grow individually and on each other. Additionally, going to church on sunday gave me another reminder that God is universal. God back at home is the same God here, granted we may praise Him in a different way.

Well here´s a clip of a song that sums up one of my hopes and prayers I have for not just me, but for our whole team.

"Open my eyes open them wide
Let me go, let me play, let me live a little yeah Let me sow, let me grow, supernatural
Open myself to what I find,
Let me fly, let me ride living faith or die falling on my face 7 times yet I still rise
Open my eyes open them wide
Every time I lie awake everywhere that I look I can see your face"

God´s People

El Salvador is absolutely amazing. I came on this missions trip (my first) expecting to bring God to an unknowing land, but I ended up discovering a setting that was already graced by Christ´s love. Every custom, every home, and every face seems to have ¨Jesus was here¨ written all over it. I feel honored to be among a people that God must love so much. The people here rely on their faith whole heartedly. They aren´t as technical as the people at home. Salvadorians appreciate life, and as cliche as it sounds, they actually take the time to smell, look at, and pick the roses. So what if they don´t sit around debating new technology or paper and plastic. They act with their hearts and rely on their spiritual intuition, and because of this, they aren´t servants of society, but servants of God. They are truly God´s people.
I´m not saying that I don´t love American culture with its filibustering over topics like Obama, global warming, stem cell research, and modern philosophy...but life here still seems to have a certain kind of depth to it that you just can´t find at home.

okay its time to leave the internet cafe. shame shame

Janet from Michigan.

It´s Rainin´ Men

Hola todos, Kevin aquí. Ok, I speak English. So I´m a chino de Michigan de Los Estados Unidos, and I´m here with a team of 14 from our church, O@sis. You might be wondering why I have that title up there. Well, we just had to drive through stupidly heavy rain in the back of a pickup truck after eating a Pupusa dinner. Yeah, fun stuff.

Anyway, we´re here with another team from Boone, North Carolina to help minister to the El Salvadorians of La Iglesia de Fe y Adoración (or something close to that). So far, we´ve ministered in our local community of Zacamil, played with the orphans of Tía Ana, and done construction on a new house for Tía Ana, just to give a couple things. As for myself, I am enjoying the things we are doing for this place, as I know it touches the hearts of the locals, and I know when I come out of this, I will have taken in more than I could take from anywhere else. This experience is unlike anything I´ve had before, and I can already feel its effects on me after these 5 days we´ve been here. Our intern, Christian Jacobs, challenged us to make goals for ourselves over this trip, and one of mine was to live with more spontaneity. In other words, I want to be able to live and perform God´s word without hesitatoin, without fear, without question, and just do whatever God wants me to do when I feel him tugging on my shoulder. I am a naturally reserved person, but my teammates, and even myself (a person who does not like to think or talk about himself much) notice a change in my behavior and character. I hope I can continue this trend as we finish this trip.

It seems like this week has gone by so quickly already, as tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, we will be leaving for a retreat with the young adults of the church for three days. I don´t know what to expect while we are there, but I am excited to see what differences there are between how the El Salvadorians do their retreat amd how my church does it. After the retreat (Sunday afternoon), there is not much more of the hard work to do like the construction and orphanage, and we even get a part of a day at the beach. So this mission trip has already gone by so fast, and many of the hardest things we´ve had to do are already over. The timing is good though, because many of us are becoming pretty tired and fatigued. One of our teammates is a bit ill, so we pray that she will recover quickly and be ready for the upcoming retreat. I myself am pretty tired as well, but somehow I am still keeping my spirits up, with God´s help.

So that´s about it for now. Be sure to check out posts from my other teammates as we are all in an Internet café at the moment taking turns blogging. Adios.

This is Love

Hola amigas,

This is Veronica with the Oasis Mission Team from Michigan. We began this trip last Saturday and we still have a couple more days to go. This is pretty much my first time going international since I was six and honestly, it all still seems a bit surreal.

The people here are beyond welcoming. To the average American who is used to the hustle and bustle of the city life, El Salvador is slow and steady, taking ten times as expected to do business. At first, I was a bit impatient. To me, people were asking too many personal questions for my liking and the service never came soon enough. I was (and still am) struggling with the language barrier, having never taken Spanish in high school. In time, I learned to accept these questions as a way of appreciation. The Salvadoreans take the effort to thoroughly get to know someone (even a gringo who didn´t understand a word they were saying).

I stayed with Ghershon´s (pardon my name botching) family for the first couple of days. I was experiencing a slight bit of culture shock in the beginning and didn´t talk as much since Spanish was still too foreign to me. However, laughter is shared in every country. We, the Salvadoreans and Chinos alike, both recognize the same humor. I awoke to the sound of laughter, ringing throughout the apartment. The love in that small, foreign room was apparent. In a way, I envied that connection. I expected to find a place that was broken and bitter, haunted by its traumatic past. Instead, there was so much passion, so much devotion in poverty that my home in America seemed unreal. I was whole heartedly embraced by love and gradually, I began to respond to it.

The laughter was familar. The respect was familiar. Most importantly, the love was familiar. I prepared myself for a land entirely different, but I was pleasantly proven wrong in so many aspects. I´ve realized that Salvadoreans have stopped being the people. They are now my people.

God bless,


Chicago meets El Salvador!

We´re in El Salvador! My team arrived on Saturday afternoon, and since then we´ve had the chance to go to the community church, work at Tia Ana´s orphanage, conduct a Vacation Bible School for about 60 kids, tour the city, learn about its history, help build a new house for Tia Ana, hosted a barbeque for the community, sing Karaoke (Man! I Feel Like A Woman....!), and develop relationships with the people of El Salvador. Coming here has opened the eyes of our team to question our own habits of our every day lives and strive to serve more like Christ. We´ve come to learn about a new culture (where people don´t flush toliet paper in the toliet?), but ultimatley, we´ve discovered that universally, people all strive for the same things: love, community, friendship, and happiness. Our team has developed friendships with these people that we know will last more than the time we´re here, and we´ve really come to love this county. Complete strangers are the friendliest, and everyone is very compassionate and willing to give, even when they are giving out of their own poverty. This is such a beautiful and warm county, and we know the things we´ve learned will stick with us for a lifetime. Praise God for giving us the opportunity to come here.

Peace out los grinos.

In Christ,

Amber and Kristin (students of the Lombard Bible Church Team)


a picture is worth...

The interns threw Mario Salvador´s family a graduation dinner. Probably the nicest restaurant they´ve ever been to before.

Happy graduation Mario!

This is our neighbor... he´s so nice. When we gave him his shirt he was literally slobbering bc he was so happy!

Nena the cook is sporting her new apron.

Adoarable kids from Tia Ana´s orphanage.