An Altered Life: Reflections on El Salvador

Posted by: in AYC on August 14th

As  I  prepared  for  my  missions  trip  to  El  Salvador  this  summer,  I  repeatedly  petitioned  God  to  have  a  life-altering  experience.  My  truest  desire  was  not  to  return  to  my  home  church  the  same  person,  the  same  Christian  that  I  was  before.  Going  into  this  trip  with  faith  and  serving  a  God  who  never  disappoints;  that  is  exactly  what  this  trip  was  for  me.


As  I  recount  the  days,  there  were  countless  experiences  that  have  changed  my  life  forever.  Each  and  every  day  God  spoke  to  me  through  an  abundance  of  avenues,  showing  me  things  I  needed  to  learn to help me  change,  or  grow  in  my  life.

However,  one  particular  experience  has  stood  out  for  me  the  most,  and  it  occurred  in  a  church  with  half  of  a  roof, lawn  chair  seats,  a  floor  of  mud  and  dirt,  and  an  additional  congregation  of  insects  invading  constantly.  After  a  long bus  ride  that  brought  us  to  one  of  the  most  poverty-stricken  areas  we  had  seen  in  El  Salvador,  we  arrived  at  this church.

Filled  with  people,  this  service  was  one  of  the  best  attended  of  any  we’d  experienced  on  the  trip.  The  rows  of  seats were  full  of  people  desiring  to  hear  the  Word  of  the  Lord;  and  as  we  proceeded  to  cover  every  inch  of  our  bodies  in bug spray  and  wave  makeshift  fans  to  fight  against  the  sweltering  heat,  they  intently  listened  to  the  Word  of  God.

As  the  sermon  began  to  close,  a  lone,  elderly  man  made  his  way  to  the  front—before  an  altar  call  was  even  given—and threw  himself  on  the  ground  crying  out  to  God.    As  Brother  Slaydon  continued  to  speak,  the  people  came  out  in  droves, rushing  the  altar  and  falling  onto  their  knees  in  the  mud.  Hands,  feet,  knees  and  faces  covered  in  dirt,  dust,  and  mud, and  their  complete  focus  was  their  worship.

As  I  leaned  down  to  pray  with  a  young  lady,  adjusting  my  skirt  so  as  not  to  get  it  dirty,  I  realized  the  lesson  these people  were  preaching  to  me.  You  see,  we  went  to  El  Salvador  to  minister  to  people,  but  they  taught  me  more  than  I ever  could  have  expected.  These  people,  dressed  in  most  likely  their  best  clothes,  threw  themselves  into  the  mud  without even  a  thought  and  worshipped  their  God  without  abandon.

They  did  not  let  any  outside  force  effect  their  reaching  God  and  having  their  needs  met.  No  heat,  no  mud,  no pestilence was  going  to  keep  them  from  their  Creator.  And  it  was  in  that  moment  that  I  remembered  that  it was from  the  dust  I was created.

Because  these  people  physically  have  so  little,  they  have  nothing  to  hold  them  back.  They  have  no  personal  bubble  to protect  and  no  limits  to  how  they  will  worship  God.  Brokenness  is  a  daily  lifestyle,  because  they  truly  understand  that He  is  their  only  salvation.  He  is  everything.

I  sat  there  weeping  at  their  dirt  altar  and  thanking  God  for  showing  me  how  much  more  I  need  to  desire  Him;  how  I must  never  let  this  world,  or  society,  dictate  my  worship  and  how  I  need  to  be  more  desperate  for  His  touch.

My  God  is  a  God  who  answers  prayers,  and  this  church  proved  that  in  my  life  once  again.  I  left  El  Salvador  with  an altered  life,  an  altered  perception,  and  an  altered  hunger  for  my  Savior.

This  trip  was  full  of  twists  and  turns,  ups  and  downs,  tears  and  laughter.  There  were  conversations,  sermons, testimonies,  and  bus  rides  full  of  song  that  I  will  never  forget.  But,  above  all,  I  will  remember  a  mud-floored  church where  I  realized  how  much  I  need  my  Savior.

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