Justice

One Big Story – Una Gran Historia

Sharing a story is no small thing. Earlier this month, Jon and I stood in front of a packed room to share pieces of our story, and pieces of our clients’ stories all woven together. Sharing a story is a sacred and holy thing. Especially when those stories pull in pains and joys and successes and heartaches. We were at our 2nd Annual Gala for Growth and the purpose of sharing those stories was to remind us all that we are part of one big community, we all have a part in that story. Our gala was held just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is far removed from the streets of San Salvador but there is still a community there because so many who packed that room have given, have […]

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 […]

Raising Awareness about Human Trafficking – Despertando Conciencia sobre la Trata de Personas

January is human trafficking awareness month. You may hear about this issue on the news, or imagine that is only happens in far away places. The truth is it happens everywhere…in El Salvador, in the U.S., and in every country on earth. There are many people who want to get involved, to make a difference, to bring change to their communities. Did you know that there is a big connection between homelessness and human trafficking? Between childhood trauma, addiction, and human trafficking? There are so many other issues surrounding the big problem of human trafficking. If you are interested in learning more, I want to recommend a great resource. It’s the Ending Human Trafficking podcast with Dr. Sandra Morgan from the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University. Interested in […]

Jesus Was A Medical Missionary – Jesús Era Un Médico Misionero

Today we welcome a special guest blogger, Mary Frances Morris (pictured below left). She was recently in El Salvador providing healthcare to our clients as part of a medical team from Mission To The World.  Jesus was a medical missionary. The Gospels repeatedly state that Jesus went about the towns teaching, preaching, and healing. “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:35-36 NIV Jesus also tended to hang out with the outcasts, or the marginalized, such as the tax collectors, lepers, and prostitutes. He even called the children to Him. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Budgeting for the Future – Presupestando para el Futuro

What do survivors of trafficking need to be truly free? There are so many answers to that question, but without a doubt practical support is one of them. We talk about holistic care for survivors and that means that we address the spiritual and emotional pain that they are facing, but it also means that we are cheering them on in the everyday physical aspects of their lives. Last week, that looked like making budgets with all of the ladies in our Free The Girls program who are selling bras, and running their own small businesses. For many of them, they have money to manage for the first time in their lives. While they were being exploited, they didn’t get paid fair wages, and many of them have struggled to scrape by in […]

Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 3 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 3

“Violence is an obstacle that prevents women from developing their own initiatives, and economic activities.”                       -Ana Elena Badilla, UN Women representative In El Salvador, violence is a significant risk factor for women and a very real obstacle to their personal and economic development. The gangs which control so much of the country, plus the deeply entrenched machismo, create an environment where women are not safe in their own neighborhoods. Gang control is so pervasive in neighborhoods around El Salvador, that many girls are forced into sexual slavery as girlfriends of local gang leaders. The girls have no choice in the matter…they must join the gang or be killed. The problem has become so grave that young girls are fleeing El Salvador, and […]

Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 2 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 2

Being a woman in El Salvador means being strong, courageous, and inventive. It means not giving up. It means working, raising children, and moving forward in your life. Too often, it means doing all of these things alone. In 2015 185,625 women in El Salvador were registered as the head of their households according to an official survey conducted by OISS (Organización Iberoamerica de Seguridad Social). Of that number 2,689 of those women registered were between the ages of 15 and 19. These women are supporting their homes economically and emotionally and most often without the help of a husband or partner. There are many single moms involved in our programs, and I admire each and every one of them. They earn money for their families, raise their kids, and […]