Oh, where to begin? The last few days have been amazing! Visiting with Benjamin Zink and the El Salvadoran BIC church "Pan de Vida" went fantastically. Benjamin and I joined a group of youth from this church one afternoon for street ministry. Pastor Cesar dropped us off at the beginning of what appeared to be just an old country road.. or driveway, more like. I was quite surprised when after walking for half an hour we arrived in a good-sized community of El Salvadorans.
We began walking through the village looking for people who would be willing to take a "spiritual survey" that was developed by my pastor, Mike Holland. I was totally amazed at how easy it was to use this survey to stimulate a wonderful discussion with people that would otherwise show no spiritual interest. Approaching others with the gospel couldn't be easier! I definitely need to get myself a copy of that survey!
So we spent several hours sharing this "survey" with whoever we could find on the streets, and during this time I was entirely impressed with how thoroughly the local Christian youth knew the Bible. Time after time, they would share a Scripture verse by memory (the reference, too!) with someone during the different discussions that started as a result of this survey.
The mastery of the Bible that I saw in El Salvador amoung my younger brothers and sisters in Christ there is virtually unparralelled by the great majority of Christians Stateside--both young and old.. Suffice it to say that I was both convicted, and encouraged to study and commit to memory more of God's Word. It is so true that we as Christians cannot live on bread alone, but on every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of the God (Matthew 4:4).
After my awesome, and way-too-short trip with "Benny Z" came to a close on Thursday morning, I caught a bus to San Salvador in hopes that there would be a seat available for me on the same day. I arrived there about two hours later, and sure enough, there was a bus departing for Tegucigalpa--just where I needed to go--in just an hour. Praise God that I got there in time!!! I am so glad I didn't have to spend another night on my own. I love the culture and the people here, but I make a horrible companion for myself. :D
My bus arrived in "Teguc" at about 7:00pm and while I was waiting in the terminal for my ride, the power went off. Pitch dark. In one of the most dangerous cities in Central America. I was immediatley concious of the increased likelihood of getting robbed since there were other people yet standing around waiting for their rides. Thankfully, my sister Abby had given me a mini flashlight keychain a few years ago as a Christmas present, and I had stashed it away on my backpack. As soon as the lights went out, I reached around to my backpack and yanked it off it's chain, and behold, there was light. And it was good. I didn't get robbed. Happiness! Naturally, since the electricity had gone out during this storm, all the traffic lights had gone out too, which resulted in my missionary friend, Barry Horst, being expectedly late.
After another half an hour or so, Barry arrived along with the entire current STEP team. It was great catching up with everyone, and hearing different stories, etc.
The following morning (yesterday), I joined two STEPers, Evi and Melanie, in working at a local ministry called the Micah Project. The mission there at Micah is to raise up leaders out of some of the most hurting and needy boys in all of Honduras. All of the 16ish boys at the Micah project had been taken in from off the streets where they spent their days stealing or begging for food, and constantly staying high on glue to dull the pain of their hunger and hardships.
These boys are hardcore--rough, often rude and self-seeking, but entirely desperate for love. Didn't take too long to realize how much they long just to be wrapped in an embrace. I only wish I could have spent more time there--I definitely want to spend a few weeks working with these boys someday soon.
Each of these future leaders for Christ has different struggles and so many of them have been hardened by their past circumstances. Many have left the safe haven of the Micah Project at least once and headed back to the streets, only to come back again for help and to set their lives straight. All this before many of them reach 16 years. The intense need for these young men is enough to bring tears to my eyes.
How these boys need Christ! And yet so many others are still in the streets hurting and being hurt because they have no one to love them. I can only dream of the day when I'll be able to help quench this thirst for God's love by serving boys and other needy souls just like them when I land where God's sending me.
I have a few more stories to tell, but I guess I'll have to save them for later! Blessings to you all back at home! Thanks again for your prayers--they are at work here in Honduras!