Over the span of 10 days in February, our home church, Hope Chapel, in Huntington Beach CA, joined us for their first official ministry trip to El Salvador…and it was incredible. Of the 713 people served by the medical clinics, there were a multitude of stories that could be retold, but I wanted to pass on two:
Police Chief Eliseo Samuel: In Santa Ana, the church had called the local police station to send officers during the clinic to secure the site (they offer this service whenever there is a need…mostly because of the large quantity of medications). Para aprovechar…to take advantage of their time there, each of the police officers on duty came through to receive much needed medical care, many needing basic medications and services. During the prayer time, all officers received prayer and a few received the Lord!! The chief of this office, Eliseo Samuel is a Christian man and we felt that the Lord developed a strong connection with him and the church. We gave him our canopy for a project for the police department and he arrived during the church service on Sunday to pick it up and greet the team one more time. Often with the focus on the gangs and the violence, we forget those who serve the community. As Eliseo told me, “under this uniform we are human beings.”
Ines 102 years old: On our second day in San José we had the honor of serving and praying for Ines, who was 102 years young. Now almost completely blind and very frail, she was served in a much needed way in the very poor community of San José. As we found with many of the visitors, when asked if they know Jesus, most say yes, but don’t have a personal relationship with Him. This was NOT THE CASE with Ines. As Hanya and I asked her our normal question of, “Do you know what Jesus has done for you to receive eternal life?” this very frail lady, lit up and began to declare how He had saved her and recounted the numerous blessings He had given her. What a joy it was to serve this wonderful saint, born over a century ago!
Clockwise from Upper Left: Hanya with Ines / Pastor Paul and Justin on the prayer team / several of the patient mothers waiting / Police Chief Eliseo receives a canopy for his department / Prayer team / Wayne & Pastor Paul with officer Rolando / Theresa with intake interview / David in the pharmacy explains use of medications / Paul & Wayne test and distribute reading glasses / committed prayer team workers
Points of Interest from the team:
- Leading people to Christ – in a region where everyone has heard of Jesus, it was remarkable to see the large number (do not have an exact count) who had never made that commitment to receive salvation (Romans 10:9-10) and give their lives to Him. It was a joy to lead so many in this commitment for the first time.
- 713 people received care from the team during the medical clinics. Theresa led the intake process and Dr. Moots from the team, and a volunteer Dr. Monjaras from El Salvador met with each patient. This included a medical consultation and/or reading glasses, prayer, prescriptions to the pharmacy, usually taking about 30 minutes, plus a wait in the line. Nobody complained and the Salvadorans were “Very humble and kind people” as describer by our guest Doctor Moots, who has lead over 20 clinics like this. This type of care is not common and many basic needs were met in a compassionate and loving way.
- Multiplying medications. Jason recounted in our debrief meeting how the only bottle of a certain prescription that was regularly ordered by the doctor never ran out…a loaves and fishes type of miracle.
- Our local church members worked tirelessly. Johanna in San José took down the names of EVERY SINGLE person (436) during the two days, and decided not to even take her lunch break until the clinic ended every day. Our translators Justin (from our church plant) and Mario (also our driver) worked tirelessly with the prayer and medical teams. Both churches’ volunteers embraced their community, taught the kids, cared for needs and prayed with their neighbors…basically the Kingdom of God, the church of Jesus Christ reached out and loved their neighbors in a very practical and selfless way.
- Health, safety and joy: Some of our team members were warned not to come to El Salvador because of the security. there were a couple of tired days and some colorful bug bites…but no accidents, injuries, irate patients, nothing of the “bad news” that many suggested. In reality, on the last trip home after the fourth LONG…LONG day of re-routed traffic for closed highways, serving the multitudes in the heat, staying for a church service, and the ride home, our team was laughing and filled with joy. I was so impressed and filled with joy by our Hope Chapel team!!
- As always, incredible, Spirit led ministry. Jason, Paul Petruna, and Gail shared great devotional messages at our Bible studies, Pastors Paul and Andre preached down the power of God on our Sunday services and Vickie and Wayne shared stirring testimonies…and the prayer time was uniquely anointed as the Lord ministered through our team to our Salvadoran family.
Thank you Hope Chapel for a powerful 10 days of ministry…we can’t wait for the next visit!!