Friday, March 9, 2012


Hello everyone, my name is John Reimer and I am currently a junior at Benedictine studying business. This is the first time I have gone on a mission trip with BC and the first time I have been to El Salvador. So far this trip has been beyond words as so many have already said, but I will do my best to convey what we did/experienced today.

Today was an amazing day in El Salvador. We woke up and did stations of the cross with the CFCA staff instead of our normal morning prayer. Even the simplest practices such as the stations of the cross with the staff are moving. It's not so much that the experiences that we have had down here are all extraordinary, though many are, it is that everything that these people do is done with such love and faith that it is moving. After prayer we had breakfast and then set out for Cerro Verde park. Cerro Verde park was a beautiful park set in the mountains of El Salvador right next to an active volcano. We all went to the park in order to meet the children that a few of us on the trip sponsor. Though not all of us sponsor the children we spent time with today, this visit was a very important one. The children and sponsors alike were ecstatic to see one another! For some of these children and families a sponsor is the reason why they are able to go to school and eat regularly. During this visit we went on a small hike to view the immediate surroundings. This park was at about 8,000ft. overlooking a crater lake and a volcano. After we finished the walk we had lunch and then enjoyed the rest of the afternoon playing soccer, frisbee, and various sports with the sponsored children.

On this trip I know that everyone has experienced different emotions and found meaning in a number of ways. What I found to be especially moving was playing soccer and catch with the sponsored children today. Though this was a very simple part of the day it meant a lot to me. I think the reason why this was especially important to me is because I bond with people through doing things.

After we finished hanging out with children at the park we drove to a restaurant on the lake that Cerro Verde park overlooked. At the restaurant there were docks set up on the patio and a place where we could swim. The water felt awesome after sitting in the humid buses! From the waterfront restaurant we went back to the CFCA facility. Before we cleaned up for dinner some of us joined the CFCA workers for a game of soccer. After soccer we had dinner and then got ready for our last night with CFCA.

Tonight was really special because the CFCA staff invited the elders from the local community to present to us. The elderly people danced for us, recited poems, and then got us to dance with them at the end of their show. It was great! The best part of the presentation was how the elderly responded to us at the end. Many of them came up to us, hugged us, and told us how much we meant to them. I've never experienced  so much trust from someone I met an hour ago. The people of El Salvador have so much faith! I know that I and everyone on this trip prays that we can be as faithful as these people are.

God bless all of you!

Thank you for your prayers and support!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Human like me

Hi, I'm Amanda Wert, a junior Computer Science and Math major and I'm writing the blog for today.

I'm not sure how to begin because what I, and everyone else here, have been experiencing this week cannot be described, it can only be experienced.  This change of your heart and mind can only be effected over many days of experiencing the people here.

Something that especially touched my heart today was the realization that these people are just like me.  "They're real people" is one of those phrases people (myself now included) use to try to express this acknowledgement in the core of your being of the reality of the existence of another person that begins to approach your acknowledgement of the existence of yourself.  The truth that everyone in the world, including the poor of El Salvador, are human beings with dignity and worth is something that I, and I'm sure you too, have always 'believed' but most of us believe it through faith.  We know it should be true but it doesn't materially impact how we live.  But now, what I've believed through faith I believe through knowledge.

I came this realization, this knowledge, gradually throughout the week and the experiences that others have talked about on the blog but it hit my fully today when we went to a meeting of one of the Mothers Group.  CFCA has this fantastic program where the mothers of sponsored children are formed into groups  that help them be more independent.  I'm not sure about all the details but the mothers are able to choose what benefits their children need and they make decisions as a group about education, health, and group activities like birthday and Christmas parties.  The best part is that they set up the moms to run their own group by having leaders and committees.  It was the strength of these mothers and their openness that gave me a window into who they were as people, as humans.

At first it was only the realization that they have goals and dreams just like me.  I was able to identify my own personal goals and dreams, things that fill my life with their goals and dreams that fill their life.  The second key was that they reminded me of my mom.  Not only were they similar in age, but their strength and leadership were such a striking similarity that I saw them not as merely people I should love but that I did love in a way that reached much closer to their core of personhood then how I have loved any other stranger.

I want to close this blog post by saying again how these living, breathing truths cannot be communicated. I've seen lots of movies, read books, been to talks, and even listened to other people talk about their experiences on last year's El Salvador trip that all witnessed to what I have lived this week but I hadn't even begun to understand.  I am so thankful that God has poured these graces into my heart.  I don't deserve it but I hope I can live up to the purpose He has for them.

~Amanda Wert

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Community Built in El Salvador

Hello everyone!! My name is Katherine Medow, I am a junior at Benedictine College.  I am majoring in Psychology, with minors in Education and Theology.  I am from Utica, NE. This is my first time ever being out of the country AND being part of a mission trip.  It has so far, been the most amazing, unforgettable experience I have ever had.  And the week is not over yet...there is still more to come!

  These past three days as you know have consisted of our groups building houses for those in a community here in El Salvador.  Sunday we went to the work set and met the families, then we came back Monday, Tuesday, and today and finished the houses.  Each day we have visited the community, we have gotten to know the families better(even through a language barrier--somehow, someway, it works!).  The children who have helped us build come from other families no less, we have always been greeted by everyone in a friendly manner, and when we leave the friendliness leads us back to the CFCA house.  If there is one thing I've noticed that I've connected back to my own life at BC, it's the community.

One of the pillars at BC is community.  At the work site, I feel that one of their main pillars as well is community, except they don't have any "pillars"..the pillar of community is simply instilled there naturally.  This community is shown through everyone who is willing and ready to work alongside us, including the children, boys and girls, who age anywhere from 5 to 11+.  Even parents did what they could to help us.  For those of us who struggled with nailing wood or sheet metal(yupp--that was yours truly), the children would stand by us as we would try to nail and then they would reach for the hammer in our hand and get the job done in five minutes.  We stood and still stand amazed. They also were more than willing to help us hold things, find things, and offer us a smile as the day progressed.

  I learned especially today and throughout the week so far that you don't have to be in a college setting to have a strong community.  All it takes is parents and children who look out for each other and show love through helping those around them.  The love they show each other is like nothing I have ever seen.  It's truly amazing to see how everyone came together for this event and made it possible.

  We've grown in community as a group as well.  We've gotten to know each other a lot better and have learned how to work well together.  Who knew that a little hard work could bring so many people together. In the end, I think that both our group of BC students and the people from the community we've been working with, have greatly influenced the other and have changed us perhaps in our way of thinking or simply just opened our eyes a little more.

  Everyone is going to miss seeing the families and their children at the work site and there were tears as we left today, but the happiness we gave each other and the memories we created as we worked and played, over powers the sadness and leaves us feeling stronger, appreciated, loved, and most importantly we feel like a community, a community of workers and friends, from the inside out.

Hope you alls enjoyed the post!  :)  Blessings to everyone and continue to pray for our trip! Thank you!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Ay Caramba!" [Days 3-4]

Hey everyone! It's Leslie again. I have a handful of photos from the first two work days! Enjoy!

It's been a powerful couple of days! Please keep praying for us!