We've been in El Salvador for 3 days now. And we are loving it. The people, the hospitality, the food, the natural beauty, the freshness of the fruit, the vitality of the churches! We arrived an hour behind schedule on Saturday evening due to delays in Dallas. We stepped out of the airport in San Salvador to have our glasses and cameras immediately fog up from the humidity. Welcome to Central America during rainy season. Though it was only 7:30pm, the streets were dark already as the street lights weren't on from communities not paying to keep them on for drivers. We had to take an alternate route to our hotel to give way to a night 10K race taking place. That gave us ample time to cheer on the runners! We arrived in time to grab dinner and head straight to bed after a full day of traveling.
Breakfast found us overlooking a gorgeous pool and the San Salvador volcano. After getting our fill, we hit the road for a 3 hour drive to San Miguel (a state in El Salvador), which would be our home for the week.
We quickly settled into our hotel, changed for church and grabbed a good bite for lunch. We went to church in the Abelines community, where we would spend our week installing eco stoves in a number of the families' homes. Church was packed and the speaker volume was cranked to the max. The church was much more conservative than most of us were used to, as the men sat on one side and the women sat on the other, both however were equally involved in the service. After much music and announcements, we introduced ourselves to the church. And then I had the privilege of preaching. I'm not sure what it is, but I love preaching with a translator.
And it is always such an honor to be able to share the Gospel with brothers and sisters in Christ in another country and culture who speak an entirely different language, but with whom I am family! After church, we headed back to our hotel for a quick dip in the pool before dinner and then bed.
This morning we had breakfast and were on the road before 8am. On our way into Abelines, we passed by what has become my favorite waterfall as we went up up up...
After arising at the first beneficiaries' house, we got a lesson in building eco stoves by Eduardo, whom we learned can seriously fix anything and everything with practically nothing. One of the leading causes of death for women and children in El Salvador is smoke inhalation. The typical method for cooking in El Salvador is over an open flame in an adobe home (which, if you've ever been in one, you know they don't breathe). This causes many children and women to get sick, a lot. And it's easily preventable with a different stove. The eco stoves are made out of local materials and pipe the smoke out of the homes. They can have anywhere from 2-4 burners on them (made from the pans already used by the women to cook) and use much less wood than the traditional way of cooking, saving the family lots of money that can then be used in food or clothing. After our first one was complete, we all stood outside waiting for the white smoke to rise from the newly installed chimney, and there it was! The stoves only take about 2ish hours to make. Here's our first one in the making:
We will spend the next 3 mornings building stoves in the homes of those identified as the most in need in Abelines. As well as visit homes for food distributions in the afternoons.
Please keep us in your prayers throughout our week here!