Diane Lewicki and Mel Shuey, co-leaders of a recent Thrivent team to El Salvador, kindly agreed to share one of the posts from their team’s trip.
We said farewell to Los Buenos today. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to these families that have opened their doors and opened our hearts.
It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and a slight breeze would waft through once in awhile. It was the day of painting—we painted the three houses these bright Caribbean colors. It gives them a look close to completion, which gives us a sense of accomplishment. As we worked alongside the families, you could see the pride and excitement as they tell us these are their houses. It won’t be long, perhaps just weeks, before they will be able to move in. We can only hope they continue to feel the love that went into each step of the house-building process, not to mention the labor and the sweat from these volunteers who are not used to working this hard.
We worked until lunchtime, when it was time to start the fiesta. The children have been hinting at such a party all week. The boys were so funny, telling each of us chicas that their amigos wanted to dance with us to the live Andean-influenced music group. We were able to make pupusas with the señoras of the community. There was also a mariachi band. And everyone, including families we hadn’t seen all week, came to the fiesta. There was a presentation of diplomas to our team. There was endless recognition for our volunteerism, which is so humbling when we feel like we all gained so much from this week. Each of the three masons—Saúl, Jovel, and César—prayed for us to have a safe trip home.
And everyone who spoke to us reminded us to come back and see the community. And you know when they say, “Come back! Visit us! Our home is your home,” they really mean it. As we loaded into the van to leave the community, they all followed us. As we drove down the road and looked back, you could see them all following the van, waving goodbye. How could we be this lucky to land in such a special place?
May I remember this feeling in my heart forever.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:35