Friday, May 20, 2011

Dessert Theater

In addition to having the opportunity to actually go on a mission trip with Living Water International, Andrew and I were also able to help the youth of our church with a fundraiser for the wells they plan to sponsor this year.

Our youth organized a Dessert Theater where donated desserts were auctioned off and the youth performed Broadway musical songs. It was SO much fun, and we raised over $8300 that night.

Desserts are right up Andrew and my alley, so we had a family contest to see who could raise the most money. Andrew's mom also hand-crafted the cake stands on which they came. I must admit that his Tres Leches was amazing. The man who bought it told Andrew, "You have to try this cake! It is seriously the best cake I have ever eaten!" Andrew replied, "Well, thank you!" The man responded, "You mean, you made this cake?!?!" What a compliment!

However, I am proud to say that my tuxedo cake went for more money. It looks more glamorous, I guess. Don't get me wrong, the tuxedo cake is wonderful, but I must agree with the Tres Leches buyer that it is about the best cake I've ever eaten.

All in all, it was an incredible night with very generous donors and delicious desserts with talented entertainment. It doesn't get any better than that!

El Salvador

Andrew and I had the privilege of traveling with an amazing group of people on a mission trip to El Salvador with Living Water International, including my brother, William. Our awesome parents took turns with Andy so that we could go, and we certainly appreciate their help.

We went on this trip so that we could drill a well for a neighborhood and build relationships with the people so that we could share Jesus with them. Living Water's theme is to "give a cup of clean water in Jesus' name."

We arrived in the crazy San Salvador airport, and tracked down our El Salvadorian sponsors. I knew in the back of my mind that we would just have to go with the flow in this Latin American culture, but that knowledge was put into use much faster than I had imagined. Their English was not perfect, and our Spanish was extremely limited, so miscommunication was frequent and actually not really a problem. Carlos, our leader, told us the plan, and every single American understood something different from his words. But we all just piled in the van and took off. Halfway to the LWI El Salvador headquarters, we stopped at a Subway, of all places. We piled out, had lunch, and waiting forever until the El Salvadorians decided it was time to move on. When we arrived at our destination, oh wow:
Apparently, LWI El Salvador bought a forclosure on the beach. Man, this missionary stuff can get tough! :) We pulled mangoes and coconuts directly off the tree to stuff in our faces. We took walks on the beach. We got up early in the morning and read our Bibles with El Salvadorian coffee in our hands and the sound of the ocean in our ears.

Our group's church (Riverpointe) had purchased the well that we were supposed to dig. However, the group before us hadn't finished their well, so we had to work on that one as well. They split the guys up in 2 groups, and the girls went to hang out with the women and play with the kids. It was a blast. Each day, we did hygiene education with the kids, and it ended up being like a mini Vacation Bible School with health lessions.

The drilling leader, Estuardo, warned us that teams don't always walk away successful. For example, the team before us didn't get to finish. The team before that didn't even hit water - they drilled 2 very deep holes and never found a drop. They had received special permission to try a third hold, and still, no water. In fact, the El Salvadorian team was pretty discouraged that they had told those villiagers that they were bringing water in Jesus' name, and they had not been able to do so.

On the second or third morning, a man came to the headquarters. He had hitchhiked from the village without water to tell Estuardo that the villiagers had all gathered around the third well to try to figure out what to do. All of the sudden, the tarp came shooting off with a splash of water! So, some of the El Salvadorians headed to that well to start casing it.

In the end, we finished our original well pretty quickly. We also finished the other well, and we were able to be a part of the dry well bringing water. Three wells in one week, and the teams before us were not able to finish just one. It reminded me that just because we don't see the fruits of our labor doesn't mean that God isn't working behind the scenes. Someone else may reap the harvest, but they can't reap if we don't sow. God is the Lord of the Harvest and knows who needs to sow and who needs to reap, but we must obey His command.

 My favorite picture from the trip. All the kids with clean water flowing through their precious little hands.
 This was cleaning out the second well. It was a pretty messy business.
 Andrew and I in front of the first well. We brought toys and balls for the kids, and we had a blast together.
William got pretty dirty working on the wells!