Most of you know me as Nathan Teal, however to a group of ten little boys, I'm known as "Nick."
The Saturday before last a group of eleven kids and six adults from my church went to San Martin, El Salvador for a missions trip to a small orphanage called Potter's Field Ranch Orphanage. It comes with some difficulty, telling with words exactly what went on there. We went expecting to minister but were in turn ministered to. I'll try to stick to the highlights.
Very few of us who went speak Spanish. The words I knew I didn't even realize were Spanish in the first place. But this was what made our trip so fantastic.
In our church we sing a song quite frequently and the last line in the chorus is "Jesus, Your love has no bounds." In El Salvador we could not understand what the people said and they could not understand what we said. Only one person in our group speaks fluent Spanish and she was not always there to translate everything everyone said. But there was something we all understood, be it in a hug, or a smile, or in one of the only phrases we knew, "Cristo te ama," everyone understood love. Strangely enough, El Salvador is a third world country, yet when it comes to love theirs is richer than I've seen almost anywhere in our prosperous North America. There's a verse, Proverbs 13:7 which says, "There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; there is one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches." There in a country full of violence, prostitution, poverty, and sickness, there is a hunger for love and for something real that will satisfy them. As we went there and held out Jesus to them, it shocked us to see how desperate the people are for something to believe in. we came with over five hundred gospel tracks and came home with none. Everyone who we handed them to took them and read them. People would come to us asking for them. If they saw somone else with one, they'd all ask for a turn to read it, or gather in a circle around the one and all read at the same time.
On Thursday we went to the church in the morning and did some things with the school there. We did a skit, and I had a chance to share my testimony, which was the scariest thing I've ever done -- not because it was in front of a bunch of kids I don't know, but because there were sixteen people there I do know. But I had to remember that beacause of God's grace I'm saved and that who I was is no longer who I am. That afternoon we went to the children's hospital where many of the kid's conditions were terminal. We played some games, music, and colored with them. Three of them prayed to accept Jesus. There are two children that stick out in my mind. Bartemeo was a 2 year old with one kidney, there was another who had just come out of a coma and was the skinniest person I'd ever seen. We prayed with the parents of the two children and told them that Jesus loves them. That was one of the most heartbreaking things I'd ever seen in my life.
For brevity's sake I'll split this into two posts so you won't feel you have to read it all at once.
(By the way, in the picture is the boy's from the orphanage. Standing, l-r is: Alex, Marcos, Emerson, and Angel [pronounced Onhel]. Sitting, l-r is: Franco, Douglas [he spells it Duglas], Victor [pronounced Bveecter], My buddy Kevin [pronounced Kabveen], Carlos, and Omar. Thanks Lora [aka "Dora"] for the picture.)