EL SALVADOR

Oh my lanta!

Hello people.  I have not been on here for a very long time and it makes me mad, but I can promise you that I have been insanely busy and tomorrow is the day that I leave for El Salvador.  In El Salvador I’ll be going on a mission trip with people from my church (college kids and adults).  I went back in January 2011, so it ain’t my first rodeo but no mission trip is exactly alike.  I’m going to try and post things every single day to record parts of my trip (and to get back into the blogging spirit).  So check it out if you want to 🙂

Basically we are going there because my church has a partnership with a church in El Salvador.  The reason we go is to “build relationships” which many people struggle to understand.  I mean sure, sometimes we endure physical labor, but what’s most important is communicating and being with the people of El Salvador.  Spring semester last year I wrote a blog about Oscar Romero that I’ll share:

“It was on April 21, 2013.

SALVADORAN ARCHBISHOP OSCAR ROMERO

“Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peaceful is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peaceful is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty.”-Archbishop Oscar Romero

Last Wednesday in my Justice and Peace theology class, we watched the movie “Romero”.  And in the beginning of the class I silently thought to myself “should I just leave when they start the movie? I’ve already seen it a few times…”  But my guilty conscious made me stay and I sat through the film.  I don’t know what it was about this time watching the movie, but I was left speechless.  Don’t get me wrong, every time I’ve watched it I’ve gotten goosebumps since I did mission work in El Salvador in 2011, trying to promote non-violence.  And every single time I’ve watched it, I’ve felt a connection since I had been with the people, heard their grueling stories, and actually participated in the wreckage.  But this time was different.  When the movie ended, it’s like the whole room felt it too and nobody moved.  We all just sat in silence in the dark as the credits flashed on the projector.  I looked down and realized my hands were shaking and tears were running down my face.  It seemed like time had stopped until my professor got up and turned on the lights, and she was getting emotional.  She stood in front of our class, crying as well, and said, “So many lives were lost in the El Salvadorian war, so many injustices took place, but you need to know that this happens every single day.  I’ve been hungry.  I’ve watched people die.  And it IS REAL.  This isn’t just a film we’re watching for class.”  Her words echoed throughout the classroom, as all of us just stared.  I wanted to participate or say something but words just couldn’t come out, and even if they did they wouldn’t justify what I was feeling.  As we packed up, my professor apologized for getting emotional and that she usually doesn’t get like that, since she had seen the movie so many times.  I completely understood what she was feeling, so me being awkward me, I just walked up and hugged her.  I didn’t have words, and sometimes a hug can speak more than anything.  I thanked her for sharing her thoughts and the film and then I left, my head spinning.

For a few weeks now I have been questioning where I’m going, and what I’m being called to do.  The pressures of growing up are starting to cave in—one year until graduation…  It’s hard to comprehend.  I’ve had this internal struggle asking myself what I want, what God wants, what others want, and what will make me happy.  The more I wonder and spend time praying and contemplating I keep realizing that I love helping people.  I have such strong passions about equality, human rights, and love, that I feel the path of my life starting to twist.  I want to make a positive difference in this world.  I want to be like Oscar Romero, helping people in need and serving others, inspiring people to keep going even when they’re being persecuted.  I want to show people that they aren’t alone, and they never will be.

The questions that keep playing in my mind are: will I really be satisfied just getting pushed into a company?  What if I can’t find a company that correlate with my morals and values?  What if I’m suppose to be doing mission work and using my business skills in that way?  Could I get a job in some sort of business and then just volunteer as a hobby?  Possible work for non-profit?  I just don’t know and my future is honestly filled with the unknown….. so the plan is for me to start volunteering more, and obviously finishing up my college year strong.  Until then, just going to look and pray for guidance….”

It’s crazy that I’m going back, with more knowledge about El Salvador than I’ve ever had before.  And comically, I’m dealing with the same questions that I had last April.

Something that stuck with me that my Pastor said was, “don’t go into this thinking you’re the treasure, thinking YOU’RE going to be the one coming to save them.  Go into it looking for the treasure.  You will get so much more out of it looking to learn and looking for it throughout the people.”  That’s what I plan on doing.  I’ll keep you guys posted.  I’m ready to serve the people of El Salvador.

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