October 7 – Arrival

The El Salvador Project team 2002 arrived at the International Airport in San Salvador this morning…in two segments.  Whitney Evans, John Saguto and Doug Webster got in around 6 AM, followed at around 9 AM by 9 others…all met by Guillermo Gonzalez who had flown down ahead of the team to check on final arrangements. John quickly tried to catch up on the sleep none of us got much of on the overnight flight in from San Francisco and LA

Guillermo had arranged transportation for us in the form of a bus, with our luggage all going in the back seats.  It was a long climb over the hills from the airport to San Salvador itself and then north to Sonsonate and the hotel compound at Agape where we are staying for the next week plus.

The countryside in El Salvador is lush and green with palms and tropical foliage….as well as fields of sugarcane.  The skyline is dominated by several large dormant volcanoes.

We arrived at Agape a bit before noon and checked into our rooms before heading for the compound restaurant for lunch.  The waitress patiently took down orders as Guillermo and Cam translated menu terms into English and relayed menu choices to her.

During lunch we experienced our first afternoon thunderstorm El Salvador style…not just a downpour but a DOWNPOUR.  We had noticed large half-pipe drains along the sidewalks and we soon learned why they were so large.  Water poured off the roof, across the lawns and down the stairs leading from the hotel to the restaurant.

Kitty Klingberg jumped up from the luncheon table and proceeded to take a brisk run around the red ginger bush outside the restaurant….in the midst of the downpour.  We attributed it to the excess humidity and heat.

After lunch, several of the group took time for a siesta to try and make up for lack of sleep on the overnight flight

At 4, many of us gathered to begin rearranging the contents of the 20 foot container which is here on the grounds at Agape.  (The contents of the 40 foot box — most of it the pieces of the building we will be constructing, have already been trucked to the village.)  The 20 foot box is too heavily loaded to be driven to the site, so we we unloaded it this afternoon to get at tools and other items we need to begin construction and then reloaded it with materials we will bring to the site later in the week.

One discovery…the keys to the locks on the gang box full of tools are likely in Mike Collier’s truck at SFO.  John Saguto spent part of the afternoon trying his skills as a locksmith.  And of course, the tools which we could use to cut or drill the locks……are inside the locked box.  Mike Collier is confident he can get help tomorrow morning from Agape to drill the locks.  As someone said today, with all of the things which have gone right so far, this is a minor challenge.  Late in the afternoon, an impromptu game of Frisbee broke out.

10:30 PM:  We are now back from dinner, and a group meeting to plan for tomorrow and share our feelings.  As a group we share a sense of responsibility on behalf of all those who have given us their support in the church and the community.  We shared a sense of spiritual strength and a collective sense of purpose and look forward to discovering what God has planned for our lives over the next week.  Whitney Evans said he had opened his Bible at random today to see what it might reveal to him and found this passage which seems so prophetic in light of the tools which have helped us get this far:

God never leaves us shortchanged.  Quite the contrary…we can’t round up enough containers to hold every thing God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Another heavy thunderstorm just arrived, knocking out power to the hotel.  This is being written on battery power by the light of the computer screen….the electricity may be out temporarily, but God has the battery to make sure the message is always conveyed.  With your generosity over 20 TONS of donated materials are about to change the lives of people who have endured much for many years and who want a better life for their children.

We plan to meet for breakfast at six AM Tuesday and head for Buenos Aires before seven.  We will return for dinner sometime in the early evening.  Our first full day of work at the site will be sorting out the main beams for the building, drilling holes on the slab to bolt upright beams into place, setting up scaffolding and then raising the peak beams and bolting them together.  No telling whether another thunderstorm in the afternoon will slow our initial work.

We hope you enjoy these reports.  Given work schedules, daily updates will likely be happening in the evening and may not appear until the following morning.  Again, our thanks to everyone for your support and prayers and commitment to this project.  We hope we can justify your faith in us.  Our work is not possible without it…..and the power has just come back on.  Peace…The El Salvador 2002 Mission Team.