Engagement Shots

This is the one that they both chose for their wedding invitations.

Bryan and Lesly are the Transition Pastors at the church. So they are part of the Children's Pastoral Staff. We loose many kids during the transition of 12 years old from being a Guardian of the Vision to 13 years becoming an adolescent. So Bryan and Lesly work with those kids to spend special time with them and keep them involved so when they graduate into the next program they don't feel lost. Bryan and Lesly are also getting married in September and needed a picture for their wedding invitations. I volunteered to take them because I wanted the practice and I thought it would be fun and bless them. Here are a few of my favorites from the shoot we had.


Not Just Another Sunday

Translating for Pastor Phil.
Jonathan, in the red shirt, being prayed for.
60 second challenge-keeping as many balloons in the air using one hand.
Cesar is one of the boys that I used to disciple in Distrito Italia.

Each Sunday is never just another Sunday. It is another day to do all that we can to reach the children of El Salvador who are bussed into our service. This Sunday we had a team from Canada with us and so Pastor Phil from that team preached. The translator on the team had to go do something so I was asked to translate for him on the spot. Since I was in children's church I didn't feel as much pressure and knew I could do it. But usually I don't want to do it. I don't like being in front of everyone and attracting lots of attention to myself. Plus, I want to do the best I can to translate correctly and speak clearly so that the word of God will be understood as the speaker in English is speaking. Translating is much different than just speaking conversational Spanish. You can't translate word for word. You have to focus on what the speaker is saying and immediately turn it around in your mind to make sense in the other language that you are translating into. Regardless, of what I did or said the word of God went forth and lives were touched. Six children, who were visiting for the first time, accepted Jesus into their hearts and to me that is what it is all about. It's not another Sunday; it's another chance to reach the precious kids, here in El Salvador, with the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Bible Breakdown

Taste and See- Like food, try it, let the smell and flavor lure you into eating more. You can't take just one bite of a food you love, you want more. The flavor stays in your mouth tempting you for another bite.

The Lord is Good- Once you try for yourself there is no denying His goodness.

On the Joys- What bliss in the moment of tasting something delicious. For that moment in time you experience pure joy.

Of Those- Everyone can try; no one is excluded

Who Trust In Him- Like eating is an everyday experience those who trust in Jesus trust in Him daily.

Try your own Bible breakdown. In your normal Bible reading when there is a verse that grabs your attention go back and meditate on it, pray it, and break it down.


The Real Salvadoran Soccer Experience

My friend Crisi and I at the game.
The general section where we sat.

All the toilet paper on the field.
Cuscatlan Stadium

My favorite soccer team is Fas, which is from the department of Santa Ana in El Salvador. I have always wanted to go to a game but have always heard how dangerous they are. This past week they played against Toluca, a team from Mexico, at the Cuscatlan Stadium here in San Salvador. I heard a friend mention how he wanted to go and I immediately responded excitedly that I would like to go. So my friend Crici and I met up with some guys from church and we payed $4.00 for a general ticket and watched Fas play. It was definitely a completely different experience than when I watched Haiti/Costa Rica play in Costa Rica. As soon as we walked in the stadium people were yelling, horns and whistles were constantly being blown, drums beating, toilet paper and a myriad of other things were being thrown on the field. It was a lot of fun even though they tied. It was a cultural experience if there ever was one. I was happy I seemed to blend in with everyone because I never heard any remarks about a "gringa" being in the crowd. However, where we were sitting there were hardly any women at all. I think we can be considered die hard fans as we stood there cheering for Fas in the pouring down rain and of course having a cup of beer thrown on me. One more thing checked off my list of things I want to do. Now, I'd like to see the National team play.


The Walls Fall Down

Wow! What a weekend. Thursday evening started a four day campaign in zone 7 which is an area in San Salvador. Yesterday morning we had a Mega Fair, which consists of inflatable games, space walks, and fair type games. It is absolutely free and it starts with a service for kids and then they can play games for a few hours to win tickets so they can buy stuff in the store. The discipleship staff is in charge of the logistics and preparations of the whole thing. It is quite a bit of work but so worth seeing over 1,000 kids having a blast. After the fair we took about 50 of the Guardians of the Vision to the King's Castle International Training Camp in which we practiced and prepared until 12:30 am. My part of the dramas for Big Day was a mime drama with a group about 10 kids. We practiced a few times and spent about 30-45 in prayer interceding last night. One of the coolest things about the group of kids I chose was they are in the lower levels of the Guardians program so they are younger and possibly haven't been in church very long. In fact, one of the boys I was teaching a few months back in a very dangerous zone recently graduated and now is a Guardian and he was doing the mime drama. While we were all praying together he started singing a worship song and we all joined in and it was a very special time in the Lord. Tatiana one of the Guardian's who has Epilepsy was also part of the mimes and it really made her feel special. I am and was so proud of those kids; they did a great job. Today after the preaching all the Guardians went up to minister and pray for the people with needs. The theme of Big Day was "The Walls Fall" and we did a whole drama about Joshua and the walls of Jericho. The mimes represented present day situations which create walls around us. The ministry time was amazing! The presence of God really fell in a powerful way. As I was praying for different people I noticed Enrique, one of the Guardians who was in the mime drama, sitting by himself looking sad. I went over to talk to him and he told me he doesn't know his dad and his mom is not a Christian. I talked to him for a little bit and we prayed for his mom to be saved and I just prayed over him for protection. He is a great kid and lives in a gang infested area. I really see great potential in him and I know God is going to use him in mighty ways. I told him that and kept praying with him and I just began to weep. I felt as if God was letting me feel his burden, the weight he carries daily. It was another special time and I know that the Lord really touched his heart as well as mine.


Training Future Leaders

One of my responsibilities as a Missionary Associate with King's Castle and part of the discipleship staff is training others in our children's discipleship programs which consist of Castle Club and Guardians of the Vision. Yesterday, Sulma Serrano, who is the creator of the material, and I finished up the Castle Club training for the new Master's Commission students. I love how God gives us the desires of our hearts when we follow His will. When I was an intern in 2005 I wanted to come back as a missionary to work with the kids and to train others so they could take the program to their churches and other nations. Now I am doing both of those things. Master's Commission students are future leaders, pastors, teachers, and missionaries. It is such a privilege to be a part of what they will be doing. One of the Master Commission students shared with me yesterday that she is the only christian in her family, she has not talked to her mom in two months, her father is completely closed off to christianity and no one in her family is supportive of her decision of entering Master's Commission. She asked me to pray for her family and I ask you to do the same. If you think about it pray for Sandra and that her family would come to know Christ.


Pastor's Retreat

Today was a special time for our entire Pastoral and Missionary staff. We all went to the beach for a time of rest, relaxation, and receiving. King's Castle has a really big staff and we never are able to get together all at the same time to hang out. Today we were able to do that and it was much needed. Pastor Doug Seaman continued his leadership teaching and it was about maintaining and guarding your integrity within your relationships with others and most importantly with God. As we closed the teaching sessions we all took hands and prayed and it was such a awesome time because I just felt so much love and unity with each and every person there. I am so privileged to be a part of this ministry and amazing pastoral staff.


Making the Kingdom of God Our Primary Concern

Adolescents from our church doing a drama.

There is a team, from the United States working with King's Castle, that is specifically here to do campaigns in the streets. The difference between a campaign and a program is our street programs are geared toward children and a campaign is an evangelistic style service. Last night was the first one and as bus loads of people started pouring in I new God was going to do great things. It was wonderful worshipping the Lord with people from our church but also from other churches and knowing there were many people in the crowd who were not saved, who needed freedom, and healing. The message was on breaking free from your past, breaking free from the fear and hurt that is trying to hold you back. Many people responded and accepted Christ and also received inner healing from their past. Not only that but our church members and leaders were refreshed by the presence of God that filled that place. This morning as I was doing my daily devotions a book I was reading made a reference to Mathew 6. So I turned into my Bible and read Mathew 6 but what really grabbed my attention was verses 25-34. Even more so verses 30 and 33 which says, "And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you?" I have read this verse a thousand times and today it just comforted my heart and I felt like I truly grasped the meaning of how the Lord wants to and will take care of us if we let him. Then in verse 33 it says, "...and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern." We so nonchalantly quote bits and pieces from this portion but if you read the full context there is a promise and we know we can trust and fully believe God's promises but you have to fulfill the IF part. Are you making the Kingdom of God your daily, primary concern? You can start by simply praying for the ministry team that is working on the streets of El Salvador this week and pray for a revival to begin in El Salvador.


What I Do

Some of you may wonder, "I know Kristal is working with children in El Salvador so what exactly does she do?" So for all of you wondering souls here is what my normal week looks like.

Monday- Pastor's meeting
Tuesday-Ministry free day
Wednesday-Friday: In the office working on whatever needs to be done. Preparing for our Saturday and Sunday programs, translating materials, working on whatever our next big project is
Sat-Sun: I teach level 11 in our Guardian of the Vision program and also help out in level 6 of Castle Club, lead worship in children's church, and teach Sunday School.
And we are always trying out different things during the week such as going into the neighborhoods doing discipleship, giving English classes, or just hanging out and visiting the kids and their families.

So that is a normal week. However, during the summer I, also, work with World Warriors. World Warriors is a 6 week intense mission trip for students ages 16-21 in which we work within 2-3 countries in Central America. There are also times I work with teams translating and such. And any time we have campaigns or special events or anything that has to do with the children the Children's Discipleship Staff is there prepared and ready to help.

I love my job and all that it requires which is much patience, creativity, love for children, and most importantly God.


Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Yesterday as the children's leaders were meeting together to work on the Big Day evangelistic campaign service that is coming up this month it started raining with the sun out. We are divided into different committee's and I am on the committee that is creating and teaching the songs and dramas. As we were discussing the theme and talking about the only hope for the world is Jesus Christ we look into the parking lot and there was a complete rainbow in front of our very eyes. We all just looked and stared because not one of us had ever seen a complete rainbow so close and so bright. We were all in complete awe and just thanked God for his sign and promise that He is with us and He is the hope for all. It was one of the coolest things because it was so close; you could see the beginning and the end. It was as if it were just for us.

The rainbow appears twice in the Bible: in the first and the last book. (Gen. 9:13,14; Rev. 4:3, 10:1) The rainbow represents God's mercy and his covenant with men.


Vacation Time

We have started fiestas de agosto (August vacation) which is always the first week of August in celebration of the patron saint of San Salvador, Salvador del Mundo. Basically, everyone is off of work and everyone goes to the beach. This coming weekend is when the real festivities take place in celebration of the saint. We decided to take a few of the kids from the Guardian of the Vision program to "Termos del Rio" which is a water park and it also has thermal pools from natural hot springs. It is a fun place and it wasn't super crowded. The two girls sitting on the outside of the picture are in the level I teach and are also in my Sunday School class. The kids and the leaders all had a great time just hanging out. I had been to this water park before, with friends, and it wasn't near as fun. There is something about watching children have a blast and being able to have fun with them.


Steppin' Out

This little girl came to me for prayer because her Aunt is sick.
Leading worship in Children's Church.
Giving an example on the faithfulness of God using
my sister's story of raising funds for her mission trip.

Although I can speak Spanish I'm still very fearful speaking in front of a large audience. However, I feel comfortable with the children I work with. Usually, I have kept my speaking, in front of everyone, to a minimum. I usually lead games and teach classes but I was asked to do worship for the kids. My first reaction was "No, I can't." But then the Lord quickly reminded my of my prayers which have been something like this. "Lord, please take away my fear of man. Take away my fear of speaking in front of people in Spanish. I want to be used by you in a greater way. Help me to step out in faith and do what you want me to do." So, I relented. I picked out a few songs and I was super nervous. But this morning before church I spent time in prayer and just asked the Lord to help me and that His presence would rest on all of us; and it did. We had a great worship time with the kids and you could feel God's presence. For me it was a great feat and I give all credit to God.