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El Salvador: Day 6

 " .... My mother once told me : "You should take Joseph as your patron Saint."  "Why? I said, Because he was a Jewish guy who thought his kid walked on water?" "No, because he adopted and loved his child...and he believed whatever his wife said." . (Unforgettable, Scott Simon)

Friday was Father's Day in El Salvador. This writer thinks that they are a little ahead of us on this because it's on Friday, and all the Dads get the day off from work and the whole country seemed to be celebrating. Ironically our team spent the day with 25 children who did not have any parents, many of them had never seen a swimming pool or the ocean before. Everyone enjoyed the day which included trying some fresh coconuts right off the tree. The day went off well with only one minor injury when one of our youthful translators tried diving into a wave and it wasn't as deep as he thought. There was some concern for a bad neck injury but after some time and prayer it appeared he would be ok. Surf was quite rough so most of the swimming occurred in the pool (25 kids who can't swim in a 30 ft long pool, quite a bit of prayer going on right there too).

After cleaning up the site the team headed on the bus for our one meal at a Salvadoran restaurant . They served us fried plantains and cream as an appetizer then brought out papusas, which is fried cornmeal cake stuffed with different combinations of beans, cheese and pork. They were delicious. After walking out into the Fathers day festivities (lots of lights and music) to a viewpoint overlooking the lights of the city, the group left on our bus to go back to the mission house. At least we thought the group was on board --but our fearless leader Ernie had been (maybe) distracted and was not on the bus. Short story is that the police picked him up as no one knows what to do with a lost gringo except to turn him in. He was returned without too much time passing and had a few stories to tell. You can find him under #wheresmygringo if you want to know more. In remembrance of this event, We are now calling ourselves the "Amazing Grace " team..."I once was lost, but now I' m found...."

We are making our way back now and though everyone's experience was different , this writer heard from no one that they regretted their time this week. On this (almost) Father's Day it is fresh in all of our minds how important parents are in the lives of children, especially witnessing first hand what can happen if no parent is present. Women are more or less expected to be able to handle children but this writer saw the men in our group really step up in getting in close with the children. Nice job, guys. And Happy Father's Day to all the dads, stepdads, granddads and single parents who have to do both jobs sometimes. You are making a difference.

I encourage everyone to try this. You really don't have to have any special talents or even speak Spanish! God will find a use for you if you just take that first step. In closing another quote from Unforgettable:

"..We don't become the people we are all at once. But if we are lucky every love, laugh, and loss puts wrinkles in our hearts to make us distinctive. All the wrinkles, reverses, and trials will teach us a little and give our lives purpose and meaning. My religious convictions are sometimes chaotic and irreconcilable. But I can still recognize a Blessing."

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