We made our way through customs and met up with our new friends from King’s Castle, loaded the bus and headed to the home base in the incredible Lago Coatepeque area – a large crater lake surrounded by beautiful mountains. It was shortly after our arrival (4:00) that the first major event happened. After seeing what was happening in other countries, the President of El Salvador decided to close the airport to any incoming passenger flights. That’s right, the last missions team in El Salvador/King’s Castle was the FMCS team – can just seven eighth graders make a difference? Well, this was something that no team had ever faced on one of our missions trips.
Another new plan for the afternoon was a Facebook live program by King’s Castle for kids. (Castillo Kidz) Don Triplett, the head of King’s Castle Ministries, asked for our team to be included in the program. We were asked to do one of our dances and create a brand new skit that no one had ever seen before. No team had ever create a skit from scratch on a missions trip. Pastor Aaron got us started and then Patrick Pereira (alumni), the Castle team and the Lord took it from there. Our kids stepped into their parts, we practiced it many times, and we were ready to go.
In their free time, the students did not have their phones. Social connection Is very critical for teens (adults too). Therefore, instead of spending connecting through texting, using Instagram and Snapchat, they met at the pool and the Snack Shack and had an even better time eating, playing ping-pong and foosball! Note: they may also have set a record for the most ice cream purchased that week by a group of students!
After our sharing time Maria and Gabi helped lead us into worship songs. Words cannot describe how amazing that was – seeing young people step up in boldness serving the Lord is one of my greatest loves in life. It was truly something special!
March 15: This day will stick in my mind for a long time. The news of the morning was that the El Salvador President changed the maximum gathering numbers to 50 people. The Assemblies of God in El Salvador made the decision to cancel over 2000 church services across the country because church services would break the guidelines of the 50 people maximum that could meet. The consequence: if we had church we would be arrested and sent to prison. They would not be messing around there and that concerned King’s Castle. They did not want to do anything to put the ministry and our people at risk. They thought about just doing a Facebook live service without a crowd in the gym. It was some time later that a decision was made to cancel the Facebook live service. Even if they had a live program with a small group, they had concerns about the government coming to the property wondering how many were in the crowd.
We had no services to do and no street ministry we could do. What do you do now – pray! We were able to spend a couple of hours in the Prayer Castle. The idea had come earlier because some of the guys wanted to go back and pray. No team had ever done this before! It was a blessing to pray and worship rather than worry about what was going on around us. We had talked previously about going to the market to let the kids shop and then go to Pizza Hut. With the situation in the country, we thought it would be best to stay on campus. The Triplets brought Pizza Hut to us along with brownies and ice cream – a great treat for the day.