Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~Pablo Picasso

I have so much blogging to catch up on, but instead of trying to relay the last few weeks, let me just tell you about today.

Today is Monte's birthday and Reina wanted to throw him a surprise party. We had homemade tamales, compliments of Reina, and chocolate y strawberry cake. Delicious. And great company too.

After lunch, I was off to visit Liseth, Edith, and Flor, three of the girls from church. I went to their house and hung out with them and their little brother Edgar and their mom Anna. We had a good time and it was an excellent opportunity for me to practice my spanish. I was there for maybe 20 minutes before we decided to go visit Anna's sister, Morena. Morena is the woman whose husband died last month. I had been wanting to go see her also. I love going to Morena's house. She has a very beautiful garden and lives on the side of the mountains. Its so beautiful there and much quieter than it is in town.
This is one view of her beautiful garden.

They had been working crafts in the artesian style that is famous to La Palma. I mentioned that I wanted to learn to paint and draw like they do because I think their work is beautiful. Here is a picture of Anna and Morena helping me get started!

Seriously. Up in the mountains, in a beautiful garden, on a beautiful afternoon, learning to paint (color-she doesnt trust me with real paints yet, thats our next lesson!) La Palma style. Amazing day.

While we were working, they served us some very delicious coffee grown and produced in La Palma. (Don Jose cafe) and some sweet bread that was made the same way the artesians made it. She said you cant buy this type of bread at a bakery. It was made with black corn. All of it was very delicious and I felt so blessed to be there. While we were sitting there, Morena shared some stories and pictures about her late husband and his work. She said he used to study with Fernando Llort (famous artist) and that Alfredo, her husband, had started a business selling the local artesian style of art. She is continuing with the art in memory of her husband.
These are the finished pieces that I painted! Loved every minute of it!

This is something else her family makes and sells for about $10 or $12. She gave this to me as a gift. So sweet, but a fairly expensive gift to give. I tried to politely decline, but she was having none of that. So i thanked her for the gift and welcomed into my apartment my first Christmas decoration of the season.

More to blog soon!


Words or Deeds?

Is Missions About Words or Deeds?
I found the above article to be very interesting. It talked about that famous quote "Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." I think what this quote was trying to say is that our lives should be a constant testimony to the amazing God we serve. Its easy to consider myself a missionary here in El Salvador, but I should still consider myself a missionary when I move home. Sharing the Gospel in the States shouldn't be less important that sharing it in some far off country. I pray that when I move home, I can take the lessons I've learned here and continue to work for the kingdom in my everyday life.

Something else the article said that I found interesting:
"But man, if I hear another well-fed, TOMS-wearing evangelical kid quote St. Fracis ('preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words') one more time as a justification for their unwillingness to utter a word to anyone about Christ as the one true hope, I don't know what I'll do."

Wow. I think in missions its easy to get side tracked and focus soley on the actions of the trip. Building houses, medical clincis, schools, orphanages, food drives, clothing drives. These things are all great, don't get me wrong. I just pray that we never hide behind those things and forget to mention the real reason why we are here. Its because we serve an awesome God and we want to share that joy with others.

Please continue to pray for the work here in LaPalma that we may fearlessly speak the Word of God. Ephesians 6:19

Uncle Park

On a personal note:

Tonight, my great uncle Park passed away. The last of my Grandpa's (Jess Willis) siblings. We are indeed quickly losing an amazing generation of Godly examples and church leaders. Please dont take advantage of this generation. We need to appreciate them and learn as much as we can from them while we still have them.

Uncle Park. I did not know him as well as I would have liked to have known him. But this is what I can tell you. He had an irresitiable smile and unwavering faith in God. Despite his own failing health, he traveled to Missouri to be with my family when my grandpa passed away. I remember him sitting on the front row next to my grandma as they tried to comfort each other during that difficult time. I also know that as soon as he heard that I was coming to work in El Salvador, he called me to say how proud he was and how he wanted to help in any way he could. He told me that with his social security check, his monthly income was around $700, but that he knew that he could help finanically support me. I told him that his love and prayers were all the support I needed, but he wanted to help. He decided he would start out sending $10 a month and if he could, he would increase it to $20 a month. I greatly appreciate everyone who has contributed to make this work possible. But this gift in particular really got to me.
Luke 12:43-44 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on."

This week marks the one year anniversary since my grandma passed away. She has been on my mind a lot lately. I take comfort in this following verse. It was one of her favorites.
John 14:1-2
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."
I can almost picture her quoting this verse with a smile on her face and that soft warm gentle voice saying, "Dont cry over this, dont you know that our Father in heaven is looking out for us? And one day soon we will all be together in heaven. no sense in you crying right now. I'm just waiting for you to get here."


November is here. This month is going to be quite different from my other time here. Its going to be a lot more flexible and a lot less planned out.

Yesterday, I went to Honduras for an area wide church service. It was an excellent time to see our brothers and sisters from Ocotepeque (I JUST learned how to spell that, finally!) and to meet some new brothers and sisters from other parts of Honduras.

Today and tomorrow are holidays here in Central America. And yes, they like their holidays. It seems like theres always a holiday or some special event going on. For example, Monday is the holiday, but school is canceled for Tuesday as well, as a Dia de Descansar. Yeah, thats day of rest. We are taking a day of rest from having a vacation day. Then the school year ends next week. This week the school kids have their English final. After that, I will have a lot of test grading and getting their final grades in order.

Ive been thinking for the last few weeks of what I would do during my last month here before going to visit the States. I was worried I wouldnt have anything to do. But I know God has several adventures planned for me. This week, I'm hoping to visit Casa de Mi Padre. Its an orphanage in San Salvador that is doing some really great things. My plan is to meet with them and see the good work that they are doing. Hopefully I can learn from some of the things they are accomplishing and take that back to the work in LaPalma.

Im also hoping to work in Ocotepeque for a week this month. The goal is to teach a week long English seminar with English lessons and English Bible lessons. Please pray that this is successful. After that, I'm considering meeting up with another mission group to help build houses for a week further into Honduras. As of right now, I'm not sure the exact details and if this will come to be, but I know God has a plan and I'm just trying to be flexible.

We are also recieving a large shipment from the States. I will be working with the Lalli's to take care of unloading the shipment and organizing it.
Also, we have a group from the States coming the first week of December. We are planning a VBS for that week and I need to get working on those bilingual lesson plans for the kids.

A very busy month and I'm so blessed to be apart of all of it. The great thing about living here is you wake up not knowing what you will be able to do that day, and then God surprises you with something amazing. Some unexpected way you can bless someone and in return, you walk away just as blessed.