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El Salvador <3 

Just a mere three weeks ago I was in the country of El Salvador. Not only was it my first time being out of the country, but it was the first missions trip I had ever went on. It was the first time I truly stepped outside of my comfort zone with myself and with God. My intention was to witness God in a much bigger way and pour out to the people in El Salvador. What I didn’t realize was how much God would pour back into me and how my heart could long for a country I’d just encountered.

El Salvador is stunning. Hundreds of unique trees, enormous mountains, volcanoes, and beautiful architecture are just some of the visions I saw while I was there. Beyond that, the sky is so much bigger—I felt as if I could touch the clouds that were directly above me. The vibrant color of green is everywhere you go in different variations. Many of the homes we passed had hammocks on the front porch. Walking alongside the roads women would carry almost anything on their heads with such dignity and balance. Chickens roamed the country abundantly. Small red taxi’s resembling the size of a smart car hustle around the streets and roads. You can’t help but stare at the beauty of it all. Pictures do no justice to what it actually looks like, but I appreciate them for the reminder of everything I saw.

You know what’s truly amazing—Is how you can meet a crowd of people for the first time and care so greatly for them. That happened to me every time we stepped foot onto the schools we went to. Looking in front of me into the eyes of children with dark complexions, dark hair, and the most beautiful smiles. There were so many of them, and time after time I was captivated by those sweet smiles, warm hugs, and loads of energy. I was in awe of their selflessness shown to each of us. I cried when those little kids gave me anything. Because in a country that is full of poverty, violence, and danger where kids sometimes have nothing at all—they still wanted to share with us what little they have.

Danger and violence may have been everywhere, but I was never afraid or worried. I knew we were there for a reason and God was going to see us through whatever came our way. Driving from place to place at times took hours and there were moments I could have sworn we were in a Safari; but we had the best chauffeur. He knew how to maneuver every uneven road, narrow way, and even overcome lodged rocks underneath the bus. There was no doubt in my mind that our driver had skill because I could never have safely gotten us anywhere had I been the one behind the wheel.

So here I am trying to explain the most eye opening experience I’ve ever had yet I’m still left with empty words on a blog. I have such a hard time already conveying how I truly feel, but this experience is one where words at all simply fail. What I can say is this… You may think that you are not worthy, called, or capable of being a witness to others and sharing the gospel. Be it out of the country, out of your school/work, or even out of your own backyard…But I can tell you with confidence that story of Christ dying on the cross for our sins needs to be told. It needs to be shared with as many people as you can possibly reach. Initially thinking about it, it sounds intimidating and it may even sound impossible. But I promise you when you get an opportunity to do so—take it. God will give you the words, the eyes, the ears, the hands—to speak, to see, to hear, and to do; if only you will ask Him.

These opportunities are going to look different for everyone and it’s not always going to be easy. The important thing that I’ve learned so far is to do it with love. You can offer people multiple things they are without, but above everything love is the most effective. Love is what stems from our very being and grows and grows beyond more than what we can even imagine. There is not a person in the world who doesn’t need love. No matter your circumstances—even if you’re in a foreign country and can’t speak a lick of the language (or understand it for that matter)—you can show love. Show it by the smiles you give. Show it by the hugs you give. Show it by reaching your hand out to help. Show it by listening to what people have to say. Show it by accepting people for who they are; even if it’s something you disagree with. Show it with your laughter and encouraging words.

God is the same no matter where we are and with the time I’ve spent being back home I’ve had to remind myself of that. I’ve had to tell myself that the same living and moving God that was in El Salvador is the same living and moving God that is right here in Murfreesboro. I just have to remember that even though it looks different—no matter where I am—I can still make a change. I can still get out there and love people like I did in El Salvador. I can still feel God’s intense presence right where I am. I can still grow in my faith and in my relationship with God in the midst of my chaotic life. And when you can be confident in the fact that God is everywhere then you can begin to listen to what God wants you to do with what you know right now.

Leaving My Comforts.

I know I’m not the only person in the world who considers driving to an airport and buying a plane ticket to the first place available..But I often wonder if there are people who actually do this. If there are bold people who love adventure and want to see other places with no preference where it is. People who are willing to put everything aside in their lives and leave their comforts..I’m sure there are considering the mass amount of humans living in this world.. Many times in my life I’ve wanted to be that kind of person and there are still moments I debate following through with it. Still, I have yet to act on these impulses.

Just a few months ago an opportunity to go on a missions trip was presented to me at my church. Specifically to leave the country to the smallest of Latin America, El Salvador. A trip where a group of people can show Christ’s love to Salvadorian children and bring light into a dark place.Through lots of thought, advice, and most importantly, prayer, I courageously decided to embrace the opportunity. And while it’s not a spontaneous trip and it does have a time frame and a specific place and a specific purpose— I am definitely putting it on my list of adventures. I am still considering it a bold decision made in my life.

You see, I am a creature of habit and comfort. It’s never easy for me to leave the daily comforts I’m accustomed to; simply because I’ve never had to. Then again, there are many people who share this same feeling. But what if the comforts we are blessed with weren’t within our reach everyday? What if everyday we woke up to literally owning nothing. Not being able to take a shower or eat whatever we wanted. Not be able to hug our loved ones or call whoever we’d like. Take it even further… What if we didn’t have a bed to sleep in or a house to call our own? What if we didn’t talk to a single human being because we were lost or scared or simply had no one around to do so? What if we lacked all of these comforts and on top of that didn’t believe in God or had no faith at all?

It may not seem important enough to consider being without these comforts, But not one person can predict what will happen to them. No one actually knows when any of these comforts, or others, can or will be taken away. And unfortunately, there are many without the comforts countess people take for granted. I know I take my comforts for granted and I lack a deeper appreciation for the humble things in life.

So I’m leaving my comfort March 8th. The bold adventure I’m taking for a mere 8 days will certainly be hard for me, but it will also be exciting and give me an experience I’m foreign to (literally). I’ve dappled into a few Spanish words that will be important to know, but I can’t speak Spanish, not even a full sentence. However, I’m looking forward to continue learning everything I can in the short amount of time I have.

I am eager, nervous, and completely ready to travel out of the United States for the first time in my life. To leave my family, friends, dogs, phone, bed, home, work, school, city, state and so many other comforts… and explore a part of El Salvador. To go on the first mission trip in my life with a group of wonderful people who I can learn so much from. To know that I will have no communication with any of the people I talk to on a daily basis, except God. For that is the one and only comfort I will have with me. And knowing that truth brings so much happiness and gratefulness to my heart. 

I am expecting the unexpected. I hope to be a shinning light in the country of El Salvador. I hope to grow even closer to God and to be moved in a way I’ve never been exposed to.

Please join me in praying for the country, my group, and myself as we approach the trip. I welcome any encouragement and thank you all in advance for any contributions.

Until later fellow tumblers,

a heart full of infinite love <3

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