Unexpected Loan Payback ~ Day 1, Casa de Pan

As our van pulled up I noticed there seemed to be a celebration going on. Outside the windows  I could see a line of people and suddenly I realized that the celebration was actually the people of the church waiting to greet us! The greeters were all dressed in their Sunday best and they were holding balloons, and had excited smiles of welcome on their faces!20150913_102644

As I got off the bus it felt really strange to me to know this welcome was also for me. I felt so unworthy of all of this hoopla. For some reason to me it just didn’t seem right to have a welcoming so grand that seemed more fit for a celebrity instead of just a bunch of normal ladies from the United States who lived normal everyday lives..

DSC_0060 - Copy

Today we visited ‘Casa de Pan’ which is brand new Compassion project in ‘Eternal Rock of the Century’ church in Caserio Singuil, El Salvador.  The people greeting us were Pastor Carlos and his wife Candy, the staff of the project, the congregation, the parents and the children who attend the project.  Our group has been busy since May searching for sponsors for the children of this project and now today the moment had finally arrived when we would get to meet the children in person who we have only seen in pictures!

As we stepped out of the van and began making our way to the church, the line of people seemed to be never ending. Mothers and fathers, and their children all saying good morning to each of us as we passed by. 20150913_104000Many shook my hand and many hugged or even kissed me.  I was a complete stranger yet they were so welcoming and seemed to be genuinely happy to see me. 20150913_104003The thought struck me…. “This is what it is to be part of God’s family and these are my brothers and sisters who I am meeting for the first time.”  I wish I had the words to explain the feeling I felt, it was such a good feeling and at one point I remember wondering if this is what it will be like when I enter heaven one day? Will my brothers and sisters I haven’t met yet be waiting for me to welcome me into God’s Kingdom in this same way?
DSC_0105 - Copy

Eventually we made our way to the church, but just before I reached the door a little girl met me and gave me a handmade gift and then she walked me to my seat. 11999684_10206630175887140_5893302335322566785_o

She then sat down beside me as the service began and she kept smiling sweetly at me.

Isn’t she beautiful?

20150913_104229The service started with the children singing, “Open the eyes to my heart Lord. Open the eyes to my heart! I want to see you, I want to see you!”  And they were singing in English for us!

As  I started singing along the words of the song took me back to my journal entry that I had written on the plane yesterday,  “Father, Please open my eyes and heart to what you want me to see…’  I found it no coincidence that today the children were singing those very same words.  Suddenly I realized I already could see Him in a big big way. 20150913_104516

We were told that Pastor Carlos and his wife used to be police officers but they had left their police jobs when God told Carlos to become a pastor. They gave up their old lives and came to this place to start a church.  We were also told that at the first service in their new church that they only had 5 people who attended and that those 5 people included their own family! Today the church was packed full with people! I could see God again!

Pastor Carlos had a wonderful message today which came from Proverbs 19:17

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”

In his message Pastor Carlos talked about how those who are kind to the poor are actually lending to God.  I never really thought of that verse in the way He brought it to my attention today. I never really thought of being kind or helping others as if it were ‘Lending’ to God.  I guess I always looked at it as if everything that I have already belongs to God and I think I thought more of it as if I were giving those things away more than from a lending type of perspective.

Lending to the Lord was a concept I had never ever thought about.

The service continued and somewhere along the way I got lost in the worship. Though now the songs were being sung in Spanish for some odd reason I felt as if I knew the words, I know this may sound strange but I felt as if the words were on my tongue, and that I knew them.  I was moved in a way I have never been moved in church before.  Oh how I wish every church service felt that way!  I didn’t realize until later in the day what had really happened and how much I  had seen God today and in a way I have never seen him before.

As I sat there in that church feeling his blessings filling me to the top the Lending to the Lord concept hit me like a ton of bricks! It was like WOW I think I may have been lending to the Lord all along and now here is my payback, and it is WAY more than I ever gave in the first place.  Suddenly it dawned on me how we have to power to help God’s gifts multiply.  Not everything we have to give are physical things. Things like. Love, kindness, friendship and our time are all things that can be shared (lent). Today the children had given us the gift of their songs. Their parents had shared their children with us. Pastor Carlos gave his gift of what the lord shared with him in his words. Candy gave in her prayers and the work she had done with the children. We all had different gifts to ‘lend’ and today what we all had lent to the Lord was already being returned back to us as way more than we had lent in the first place.

As I write this It takes me back to 5 years ago…2010….That was the year I ‘loaned’ $38 a month to the Lord.  The truth is I never really thought of it as a loan.  I just felt the nudge to sponsor a little girl and I never really expected that I would get anything back from that sponsorship… but I did and it was immediate.  And as I sat today in a little church in El Salvador I realized that I hadn’t really given anything away at all, it was all a loan and God has been paying me back big time over and over again. The words ‘whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done’  make perfect sense to me now..

My heart is so full and I feel blessed and rewarded way beyond anything I ever could have imagined!

Terri Siebert

 

 

To be continued….

P. S. If you would like to lend to the Lord, I brought back a couple of children with me who are in need of sponsors. Meet Heissell Nicolle Cristales Perez and Luis Antonio Ventura Rodriguez.  They are both praying for a sponsor, if you feel God nudging you to help make a difference in one or both of their lives leave me a comment and I will email you more information.

ES7920513

Heissell Nicolle Cristales Perez

ES7920524 Luis Antonio Ventura Rodriguez.

Luis Antonio Ventura Rodriguez.

 

 

 

 

And the Answer is…Yes!

And the answer is...yes!

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

Hola! As many of you know I was in El Salvador last week with a group of women and Compassion International visiting a new Compassion project ‘Casa de Pan’ and various other projects, with the highlight of the trip being the meeting of my sponsor child ‘Ericka’.  This week I plan to share with you a few stories from the trip.

My time in El Salvador was a really fun time that was packed full of God’s love and many, many blessings.  I experienced some really hard things this week too, but even though some things were hard, God was still so very good and he was there with us on this trip in a mighty big way.  At this moment as I am writing this I still feel as if I am overflowing with a whole lot of stuff and I’m still in the process of sorting through the many thoughts that are swirling around inside of my head.

Getting ready to go.

The time leading up to the trip seemed to be an emotional roller coaster at times. There always seemed to be something trying to get in the way.

Things started with me having some pretty bad  knee issues going on and I worried I would not be able to keep up on the trip or that they maybe wouldn’t want me go if I couldn’t keep up.  At one point I even told the trip leader that I was not going to be able to go because of the knee issues.

I also I worried I wouldn’t have the funds and also that I may have another trip that could possibly conflict with this one. When I told the trip leader I wasn’t going to be able to go she offered to call me. While on the call she prayed with me and then I continued to stay in prayer as much as possible after our conversation and God just kept telling me to trust that I was supposed to go on this trip.  So I kept my answer as a YES and God reassured me time and time again after that, that YES most definitely was the correct answer.

After making the decision that the answer was Yes I got really excited about going but the week right before my trip was a really hard week. It seemed like a whole lot of things kept happening that week that kept getting in the way of my getting ready to go. Things that played on my emotions and left me feeling as if I was not physically or mentally prepared to go.

My dad is very sick right now, so I was worried about leaving him. I feared something would happen to him while I was gone and I would not be here for him or my mother.

I also had some family things going on that affected a child that is close to me and I worried about leaving in the middle of all of the drama that surrounded a situation that seemed to be developing daily with no end in sight.

It was also a busier than normal at work that week and I seemed to have many things that were distracting me from getting my work done and caused me to be at work longer than normal. I kept wondering if I would ever have time to get finished with my packing and also finished with all of the things that I needed to get done around my house before I left.

Another thing that happened and that I think bothered me the most that week was that I had conflict with someone two days before I was supposed to leave.  What was said left me feeling very sad and very emotional and I began wondering how well I knew myself and also caused me to start second guessing myself and before I knew it my social anxiety was kicking in again.

If you are a long time reader of my blog or one of my friends or family then you already know that I have this social anxiety issue that rears its ugly head from time to time and leaves me very uncomfortable with people, especially people I don’t know. There have also been times in my life that I have found myself running out of meetings and avoiding social occasions with even those people I do know and are usually comfortable with.

I have never really been a very brave person when it comes to being around other people and now here I was soon to be traveling to an airport I had never ever been in to meet a group of ladies that I had never met except for in an online Facebook group.  I was going to be with those ladies all week long and most likely be in very close contact with them all week long too. The last thing I needed was for my social anxiety to kick in.

Though my confidence was shaken up a few times, no matter what happened that week I still knew without a doubt that God’s plan was for me to go on this trip and I was determined I was going to go!

And I did…

My journey started with my husband dropping me off at the airport at 3:30 am and as I confidently walked into the building I talked to God.  I remember saying to him, “well God, this is it, you have me now so YOU  lead and I will follow.”

And he did.

Everything went smoothly and before I knew it I was sitting on my plane.

As the plane began to taxi down the runway I closed my eyes and continued to pray.  As we lifted off I remember thinking ‘there’s no turning back now’ and as I opened my eyes to look out the window I saw that the sun was beginning to rise…And the Answer is...Yes!

and the answer is...yes!

And the answer is...yes!All I had done so far was get on the plane and God was already showing up in a huge way.

How could I see something so beautiful and not know that God was right there beside me?…Actually He was surrounding me at that moment showering me with his amazing love and beautiful gift.

He had told me from the moment he asked me to go, from the moment when I had said yes, and now as I was officially on my way he was telling me once again, that He truly had this whole trip under control. Everything was all going to go according to HIS plan, all I ever had to do was just say yes and and then just show up.

Our trip guide had a place inside to fill out while were were enroute. One of the things we were asked to do was to write a brief prayer to God telling him exaclty how I was feeling right then and ask him to show me what he wanted me to see.  So while on my way to Houston to meet my group this is the small prayer that I wrote.

Father I am feeling a little nervous but also really, really excited.  I wonder will I fit in with the group, will I be a useful part of all of this? Please open my eyes and heart to what you want me to see.  Help me to boldly go where you lead me.  

With all my Love,  

Terri Siebert

 

 

To be continued…..

 

Music Monday ~ I Will Follow….to El Salvador!

In less than a week I will be in El Salvador with a group of ladies and Compassion International.  20150814_131551While there we will be visiting a brand new child development center and I will also get to meet Ericka who is one of my sponsor children.

11850908_10205554545716210_904552180_nI’m soooooooooooooo excited about this new Journey I will be adventuring out on but at the same time I can’t allow myself to think about it too hard because this is something that for me would normally be waaaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone!  

I can barely believe that in just a few short days I will be flying alone … with God … across the country to an airport I’ve never stepped foot in, meeting up with people I’ve never met before and then hopping on another plane and heading off to El Salvador!  I have never been your social type of person, I’m awkward around strangers and actually a bit of a loner.

I also know that while I’m there I may see some things that might be hard to see and though I know I won’t want to see those things I also know from past experience that its in the hard places that I tend to see God the most.

It seems like I keep finding myself in these so unlike me sort of settings more and more often here lately and like I said in the beginning I can’t let myself think about it to hard, which is what I just did!  I now I have a  few butterflies fluttering around in my stomach but I still feel really really excited about going on this journey and I can’t wait to see what God has planned!

All of this excitement is why this week my Music Monday song is ‘I Will Follow’ by Chris Tomlin

It’s really amazing the places you will find yourself when let God lead.

Now its time to get to the packing… I have to figure out how to get all of this stuff into one suitcase!

20150828_135600Have a great week!

 

Terri Siebert