A New Dawn

One Year Closer – Un Año Más Cerca

On the blog today, a few words from our Executive Director, Jon Snyder… One of my favorite things is when our clients volunteer in our programs. The reality is that they do a way better job than I ever could at reaching someone right where they are…because they’ve been there. Yes, they have been in a place of addiction and struggle, but today they aren’t. No, today they are part of a team serving and loving everyone who comes in our doors. Adan is young man who is currently one of our volunteers. We met him 2 ½ years ago when we were just beginning the process of opening New Dawn as a drop-in center. When we first met him he was heavily addicted to marijuana, cocaine, and crack. He […]

Join Hands For Freedom – Unirnos Por Libertad

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are almost here! I’m sure you have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard of #GivingTuesday? It’s a worldwide movement of generosity celebrated across social media and it is coming up next Tuesday, November 28! We want to kick off the holiday season by inviting everyone to JOIN HANDS FOR FREEDOM for kids with addictions! A child on the streets has a high risk of being trafficked or recruited into a gang. Our New Dawn program is the only live-in treatment option for kids with addictions in El Salvador. Would you consider joining us on or before Giving Tuesday by making a donation of just $25 for New Dawn? How about getting 3 or your friends to do the same! […]

Superheros – Super Héroes

This past Sunday, October 1 was Children’s Day in El Salvador. It’s a special day for kids to have a lot of fun eating treats, dressing up, and enjoying parties just for them! There were 6 kids in El Salvador this year who didn’t make Children’s Day just about them. Those kids were the boys at New Dawn. These are boys who have spent the past months battling addiction. These are boys who have worked through trauma, who have done the hard work of reflection and change. These are boys who were on the streets not that long ago, boys who were on a collision course with disaster. On Sunday, we saw something different. We saw boys baking cookies and making cards. We saw them dress as superheroes and head […]

Expectation vs. Reality – Expectativas vs. Realidad

Laura Bubar, an art teacher from Maine,U.S.A worked as a volunteer for five weeks with us, here are some of her thoughts on the experience… Any time we begin a journey or step out and take a risk, we have expectations. We make assumptions about what that journey will look like or what the consequences of that risk will be. I entered a journey here in El Salvador five weeks ago and despite my best efforts to make no assumptions, I had formed expectations for my journey. Two years ago, while researching ministries in El Salvador, I came across the website for Mission To El Salvador. My cautious heart then followed their work (from a safe distance) for the next two years, reading this very blog, and watching to see the work […]

New Dawn is Open! —-¡Un Nuevo Amanecer abre sus puertas!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity as we put the finishing touches on the New Dawn residential program! The new rooms are set up, and all of the new staff have been hired and are finishing up their orientation and training for the program this week. Now we all take a deep breath as we wait for the kids to move in. So much planning and dreaming has gone into making this program a reality that it’s hard to believe that we have finally come to this point! We already have one kid walking through the admissions process, and we are excited to share that *Rodrigo is that kid! After hearing his story, many of you began to pray for him, and many chose to partner […]

Christmas Update / Navidad en MTES

We had a joyful Christmas with all of our clients this year! So many of those we serve don’t have any family to celebrate the holidays with so it means so much to them to be part of our celebrations at MTES!                 We were able to throw two parties for the survivors that we serve! These girls and women have been through so much hurt and pain in their young lives, so we love to give them a chance to smile! This year we threw a party and gave gifts to 7 child trafficking survivors in addition to having a Christmas party for all the women in Free The Girls, and their children! There was such a beautiful moment at this party […]

Meditations on the Advent Season…Peace / Reflexiones sobre la Época Navideña..Paz

How can we find peace in a world that is so broken? How can we breathe deep and close our eyes and be at rest in a world where children are caught in war zones, and women are sold as slaves? How can we find respite for our souls when diseases wipe out whole villages, and addictions claim lives? Where is the peace that is promised us in the candlelight? How can a weary world lift its heads to hear the angels sing? So much is wrong, so much is battered and seems beyond repair. This tension between the two Advents of Christ is almost unbearable. The weight of the world pushes down on our shoulders, and the dark blocks our sight. Into such a world was born our Christ. […]

Numbers – Cifras

I opened the newspaper, and the numbers screamed out at me. A lot of talk about El Salvador is reduced to its numbers. Number one murder rate in the world…Leading the world in the number of child homicides every day…Number one rate of femicide…Record numbers of undocumented child refugees fleeing El Salvador for the U.S…High numbers of daily deportations. Headline after headline points to the number of the dead, the number of criminals, the number of students dropping out of school because of the violence, the number of new shelters being set up around the country as families are forced out of their homes by the killings on their doorsteps. The numbers climb until they swirl around like some vast, dark cloud of despair. The numbers can crush us. When […]

Connections

Relationships not only connect us, they change us. When I look back at my life, everything significant is connected to a relationship. The death of a friend that pushed me on a different track, the ending of a relationship, the beginning of a new one. Parents, grandparents, classmates, teachers, mentors. My marriage, my children. Bosses and pastors. All of these relationships have changed who I am to varying degrees. Some hold more significant spaces in my life, but all have made an impact. It should come as no surprise that God chose to reach out to humanity in relationships. Knowing Him as a personal God has drastically altered my life. It is the most defining relationship us humans can have. If we are so designed and defined…through relationship with Him, then […]

Two Years

Two years. That is the amount of time that Rodrigo* has been living on the streets. As a 13 year old, he  was forced to leave everything familiar. His family, his school, his friends, and his neighborhood. He had to leave because staying meant death. The truth is, El Salvador has the highest child homicide rate in the world. Teenage boys are most at risk. Rodrigo’s life was threatened. Join us or die.  That is the message falling on too many young ears around El Salvador today. Be a criminal, or die at the hands of one. Kill, rob, extort or be a victim yourself. Rodrigo fled and found a new home. A 13 year old sleeping on a bed of gritty pavement, eating out of the garbage, looking for something […]