This summer I entered a world different than me, where the distractions that I am so conveniently accustomed to did not exist. I have gained a new perspective of the world and a passion for missions as a career through my visit to El Salvador. I have fallen in love with the breath-taking landscape, warm climate, and interesting yet friendly people. I was given the opportunity to travel to this humble country for two years with a mission team from my church. The team consisted of seven students (including myself) and three adults (including my dad). Our goal was to team up with others from a prominent church in San Salvador called Iglesia Bautista Miramonte (Miramonte Baptist Church) and minister to various schools throughout the country. In spite that the trip only lasted a week, we were able to receive so much more out of it than we ever hoped to give. I have learned that visiting a different country and being immersed into a foreign culture can change the way you view your life, and give you an appreciation for the things you have.
Due to the consistent downpours especially in the winter, El Salvador is full of luscious flora everywhere you go. Gardens are found in every house, and trees with dainty pink flowers are draped over rooftops. At one school we visited in Versailles, they planted a tree right smack in the middle of the courtyard which branched around the entire structure showing off its tiny pink flowers. The flora makes El Salvador very unique and exotic.
My favorite part of driving through the country is the majestic view of the mountains and volcanoes that engulf El Salvador. Every city has a backdrop of a giant mountain or a smoking volcano. It is funny how this is quite normal for the residents of El Salvador, but exciting for us as tourists. One day we visited a Brazilian embassy that had a ledge where you could look out and see San Salvador, a lake, and four mountains. I remember looking out into that wild blue yonder and thinking, “Wow. I have no idea where I am.” I felt that I was hanging by a thread at the mercy of a powerful and almighty God. This is where He began to work in my heart and change my life through this trip.
The food in El Salvador is delicious. Most of what they eat is beans, rice, eggs, and bread. However they are most famous for their pupusas. Pupusas are beans, cheese, and sometimes meat and vegetables wrapped in corn tortillas and pressed to where it resembles a Mexican quesadilla. Along with fried plantains, papusas are my absolute favorite food in El Salvador.
Throughout the week we were able to visit schools in Colon, Versailles, and Campos Verdes, an orphanage in San Salvador and a beautiful beach in La Libertidad (Atomi Resort). One day two translators took my dad and I to a restaurant called “Tu Jardin Secreto” (Your Secret Garden). The name says it all, it literally was a secret garden; and the food was amazing. But most of all I was touched by the kindness they showed. I was repeatedly humbled by their lives that week, which completely changed my perspective on mine. Even the children in the schools touched my heart as they hugged and spoke with me. I discovered my passion for missions and people, and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I am glad to have had this opportunity this summer.
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