We had a great time in El Salvador visiting with lots of different CS guys! We stayed with Salvador, the current national director, and his wife Mayi, in Sunzal, and it was a huge blessing for me (Emily) to get to know them and for us to spend time with them. They are wise, Biblically grounded people who are a lot of fun to be with! Since El Salvador is a small country, we were able to travel around the country to visit a few different CS chapters.
CS El Salvador is currently in transition as Salvador is stepping out of the national director position in order to focus on pastoring, and the leadership team is praying about who to appoint as the new national director. We were able to meet with the board of directors to help them understand their role in the ministry, talk with them about the process of transitioning to a new national director, and encourage them. We also were able to meet with the men who are being considered for the position to pray for them and get to know them.
We visited La Red, the church Salvador pastors that grew out of the CS chapter in El Tunco. They had a children's event that we helped with, and it was great to see Salvador and Mayi in their element - it's obvious that God has called them to those people and the ministry of La Red. It was also neat for Dustin to see how God has blessed the church and all the work that Salvador has done - here are some before (2012) and after (2014) pictures!
We also attended a chapter meeting in the nearby town of Majahual and were encouraged to see lots of young kids learning God's word. Christian Surfers has a unique opportunity in El Salvador to provide an alternative lifestyle to gang affiliation, so reaching children with the Gospel before they are old enough to join a gang is important. Gangs in El Salvador also pose a challenge to CS - surfers from one beach often cannot go to a different beach, even for a CS meeting, because of gang territory issues and fear of violence.
We traveled to Acajutla, about an hour from Sunzal, to visit Chico and the CS chapter there. CS Acajutla is almost entirely body boarders - when they surfed together, Dustin was the only one on a surfboard! The chapter leader there, Chico, told us stories of how time and time again, God has provided for him and his family. They live month-to-month, praying that God will supply what they need to pay bills, buy food, and live, and he always does. I love hearing about God's faithfulness and people's faithful responses to God's call. Chico had decided he was going to attend the CSI conference in Costa Rica just 3 weeks away, and he was believing God to supply the money he needed to get there. Several people had donated money toward his trip, and while we were at the CS chapter meeting, his chapter presented him with a gift of money they had collected to send him to the conference. When we left Acajutla, Chico still didn't have all the money he needed, but he was ready to buy his bus ticket with the money he did have, because he was confident that God will provide the rest - and sure enough, a few days later, Chico messaged Dustin that he now has all the money he needs for conference!
Over the past month, we have been traveling by bus, staying in hostels, and working hard to be good stewards of the money that has been given to us by you, our supporters, in faith. We are still, however, in need of funding to cover our travels and our ministry. If you feel called to give, please click on the "support" tab.
Even more important than financial support, please keep us in your prayers as we continue to meet with CS leaders and prepare for the CSI International Groundswell Conference, which starts on the 27th. We have already arrived in Costa Rica, and Dustin begins pre-conference meetings on Sunday. We are excited to see God work in the lives and ministries of the almost 200 conference attendees!
Be on the lookout for a post about our time in Nicaragua and info on how to follow the conference updates!