Holidays

For Freedom – Por la Libertad

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”      Galatians 5:1 What does freedom mean to you? Think about that…what does it mean to truly be free? For political prisoners, it means freedom of expression. If you owe a debt, freedom is having economic means. If you are locked in, opening the door is the way to freedom. For so many in El Salvador, freedom means being able to flourish, to grow, to breathe and live without fear or stress or worry. Unfortunately, the situations that face our clients pose great barriers to that kind of freedom. Their lives are complicated as things like entrenched poverty, hopeless violence, and the lack of […]

Empowering Moms to Grow – Empoderando a las Madres para que Crezcan

May 10 is Mother’s Day here in El Salvador, and throughout the month moms are honored through special promotions and advertisements. But there are moms that we know who don’t get the recognition that they deserve. These are the moms that we see everyday. They are fighters. They are strong, and they persevere. We have seen them fight for their own personal healing, and we have seen them overcome incredible hurdles. I just want to take a moment to share with you the things that these amazing moms have done. They have started businesses. They have joined co-ops to learn skills and earn money for their families. They have gone to support groups, and counseling sessions. They have learned to read, and they have learned to balance a budget. They […]

Peace – Paz

As we find ourselves in the midst of the Advent season, we are so grateful for the peace that the Christmas season brings. Valerie Nikkel is our guest blogger this week as we focus on true peace.  If you had an unlimited amount of money how would you spend it? I’m sure all of us have pondered this question at some point in our lives. The song, “If I Had a Million Dollars” lists the many possibilities. If we are honest with ourselves, material things would top our lists. A car, a boat, a house (and then a bigger house), exotic vacations, and the list goes on! Recently that question was asked to one of the woman in our Free The Girls micro-enterprise program. Her answer might surprise you…it surely […]

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 […]

Father’s Day in El Salvador – El Día del Padre en El Salvador

A special thanks to guest blogger, Alexia Rodriguez, one of our staff members, for sharing her thoughts… “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” Psalm 27:10 There are obvious differences between the way that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are celebrated, at least in El Salvador. Here Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10, and this year is was a Wednesday.  Department stores and malls had discounts, sales, and gifts starting the Friday before so everyone could spoil their moms. On the actual day, these places were full of lines of last minute-shoppers, restaurants had no space left for those who didn’t make reservations, parking lots were full of cars, and flowers were being sold for marked-up prices on every street corner. And […]

Mother, We See You – Madre, Te Veo

Mother, we see you.  We know you have overcome so much. The poverty, the personal trauma, the trauma your children have faced. We know you want to heal.  Today, you are honored, and celebrated, and loved. You have dignity and you have purpose. Maybe no one has ever thanked you for the sacrifices you have made. Today we notice them, and we know how hard it has been.  Perhaps no one has said how much He loves you, how you were made in His image. Perhaps you don’t even know that as a mother you show so much of Him, His heart, to the world.  Mother, you are so loved. We see you today.  —————————————————————– Last week we had our annual Mother’s Day celebration with all of the beautiful mothers that […]

Something to Celebrate – Una Razón para Celebrar

Once a month we have a birthday party at the Lighthouse Project. We celebrate everyone who is having a birthday that month. We started doing this when we realized that our clients didn’t get birthday parties. They didn’t get to be the center of attention once a year, they didn’t have anyone honoring them. Knowing our clients as our friends gives us something to celebrate because they are worthy of celebrating. They have dignity in the sight of God, they are amazing men and women making courageous decisions each and every day to keep moving forward in spite of the lies and hate that swirl around them. Such heavy burdens are being carried by our friends. They bear the weight of years of addiction, of extreme and grinding poverty. They suffer […]

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. […]

Celebrating Freedom – Celebrando La Libertad

Today is Independence Day in El Salvador…September 15 is the day that Salvadorans celebrate freedom from Spanish rule. Watching the marches in the streets and seeing the Salvadoran flag flying around the city have gotten me thinking a lot about freedom and what that means in the lives of our friends. It’s important to celebrate the stories of freedom as fiercely as we grieve the stories of pain and loss. There is freedom to be found around us everyday…freedom from addiction, from the grinding pain of poverty, from the trauma of abuse and exploitation. Today we celebrate our friend Douglas who works every day serving others in our center…he is approaching 2 years of sobriety. His freedom brings joy to so many. We celebrate Jeremy who has struggled out of the […]