Motivated by Death

On June 14 Ruben was invited to preach at a district youth event in San Martin.  San Martin is a city and what we would call in Louisiana a parish but for everyone else a county.  San Martin is a very dangerous city and plagued with gang violence.  Of all my years of working in El Salvador and in really "dangerous" areas I have never once felt fear.  NEVER.  Always confident that the Lord was with me and that I could go wherever He leads with confidence.  Well, that confidence was all shattered when my husband was assaulted last year.  We are not bogged down with fear but there is more fear than ever was before.  God has brought us a long way since the attack.  However, for me, there is still an uneasiness every time I leave the house or Ruben goes somewhere by himself.  It has definitely caused me to trust in the Lord much more and cover ourselves in prayer constantly.

The night before the youth event I had a disturbing dream that we were in a church, at a youth event, and some gunmen entered the church and started shooting people.  The dream caused uneasiness in me but we had already committed to the event so I just covered us in prayer and trusted in God.  On Saturday as we were driving out, about a 30 minute drive to the city of San Martin, we encountered back to back traffic on a main highway.  As we slowly moved along I checked twitter to see what the deal was. The traffic was backed up because a man had been murdered in the street.  As we were poking along we finally got to the crime scene and there were police everywhere and yellow tape.  What happened next was something I was not prepared for.  There, right in front of me, was a murdered body, just laying on the street in a pool of blood.  I lost it and immediately started crying.  Then came all the questions for Ruben, "Why don't they move him?" "Why don't they at least cover him up?" And the answer, "Kristal, this is El Salvador. This is how things are done."  After living here for 7 years you'd think these kind of things wouldn't take me by surprise.  Then I started saying, "Why is it that seeing all the death doesn't change us?"  With so much death around us all the time shouldn't that motivate us to live our lives differently?"  Thankfully, the church we were going to was a good 30 minutes farther in the country so I was able to calm down and regain composure before the service.

We walked into the church filled with 200 young people and immediately started dripping with sweat as the heat was unbearable. Then Ruben was called to the pulpit to preach. (We arrived late because of the traffic.)  He started off by asking the young people to intercede not only for San Martin but for El Salvador; it was a beautiful and emotional time of prayer.  Ruben preached and many young people were touched by God.  It was a blessing for us to be able to minister and pray for these young people of El Salvador.

 The following day I read in the newspaper that 4 people were murdered in that same little country town that we  were in. It really broke my heart. Maybe because the death was so close to me.  It is so easy living in your little bubble to get hardened to the multiple murders that happen daily.  To read the newspaper or listen to the news and just shake your head in disgust.  When are we going to shake our head in disgust and be motivated to make some real changes?  To live everyday like it's your last isn't something that is that far out of reach. Many young people, who live in these difficult areas, just want to make it to 30 years old.  But instead of getting used to it let's be motivated to change.

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