Hello, so there was a change of plans while I was in El Salvador and I decided to give up my wi-fi, aka my life, but for good reason. When I was at school I literally would spend 1-1.5 hours in the morning sitting on my phone instagraming, facebooking, tweeting, and whatever else popped up. And it really is a waste of time! There are so many other things that I could be doing to stay busy and productive. So I decided that for 10 days I was going to focus on my relationships with other people and with my relationship with God. Both were definitely achieved.

What wasn’t achieved was a weight loss haha! Because Damn! Those El Salvadorians can cook the most amazing food in the world…..which is all fried.. and carbs… Not to mention the group I was with including myself snacked like there was no tomorrow. However since I have been home I’m getting back on track because i’m not eating as much and because my system is and was getting flushed out—if you know what I mean.

There are so many things to write about and life is still speeding on through so I decided to just write out what I said in church today. I needed to share a reflection with the congregation about what I got out of my trip and this is what I said:

Hola y Buenos Dias! My name is Hilary and this is my 8th mission trip and my 2nd time going to El Salvador.

It was very hard for me to pick a specific moment that I wanted to share for my reflection because there were so many countless God moments while I was there. And when I finally decided what I wanted, and shared with my family, I came to realize that I was planning on giving a sermon, which was also not the requirement. But after looking deeper into my experience, I realized one of the biggest things that struck me while I was in El Salvador.

One of the first days we were there Pastor Chris, Gretchen and a few others met with Pastor Santiago to talk about the food being sent to the victims near the active volcano since many of their crops had been destroyed because of all of the ash. In the middle of the meeting Greg shared with us that there was a moment where Pastor Santiago looked up and said ” Come on St. Matthews, let’s go!” And Greg said he wasn’t sure if he meant now, like everyone get up this instance and let’s get going? Or if he was just trying to show a sense of urgency because people really needed help. But we eventually made our way to the volcano and worshipped with some of the people that were affected by it.

Come on St. Matthew’s, Let’s Go.

Many people told their stories about what happened and where they were when the ash started flooding out of the volcano. Some were cooking, some were on the volcano, some were worried because they were separated from their families, some even thought that it was literally the end of the world. But everyone’s story had one thing in common, they stopped what they were doing and they prayed. Among the panic, the craziness, the complete chaos, they prayed. A mother even told us that as the ash was flooding the air she told her two kids to get on their knees and start praying. How many times have I done that in my life, given up even simple problems to God? And would I have done that in a time where I thought the world was ending?

Come on St. Matthew’s, Let’s Go.

Those were the people of Pastor Donal’s congregation. The pastor who would somehow hitch hike or find a ride multiple times a week 3 hours away in order to serve and minister to these people. The pastor who easily had the best dimpled smile in the world that would instantly make you smile. The pastor who one time held onto the back of a motorcycle taxi for those 3 hours, just to have sunday church for those people. The pastor who has reached out to the people of El Salvador and shown an overwhelming amount of love and compassion. The pastor who looked me and a few others in the eye and said “And what do you do for your church?” Where we decided to tell him about Vacation Bible school and Sunday School and he listened, nodded in agreement and then asked the same question..”what do YOU do for YOUR church, for YOUR people.” I will let you know that I have never felt so humbled and so small coming from a man who gives his life up to serve others. I didn’t even respond because I thought nothing could justify his question. I instead rambled on about school, saying it’s easy to lose track of time and how busy I am, feeling very ashamed that I had no appropriate answer to give. That question since then has haunted me and keeps ringing in my head, so I’ve already looked into places I can volunteer in the twin cities where I go to school. I want to help my people in America who are suffering and give back, like Pastor Donal. He gave me a complete uncomfortable but completely necessary wake up call and truly serves as an inspiration to me. One person really can make a difference no matter where you are and there is always time to do so. It’s as if in that moment God was saying

“Come on Hilary, Let’s go.” And I’m going.

I’m really going to try and get back into blogging. I’m sorry that’s been so long! I miss my blog community.


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