I have many supporters, and many critics. Sometimes my best supporters are also my worst critics. I guess if I'm going to get criticized I'd rather it be done in love from those closest to me. When you open our website you see a picture of a line of children on a wall. Many have told me that it has been there too long and it's time to update it. I always say no. It's not just that I am being stubborn, but that picture means something to me and to the success of this ministry. When I first moved to El Salvador I looked to surround myself with good Christian friends. Like my Pastor, Curt Seaburg Victory Church, (victorychurch.ws if you are looking for an excellent church home or online sermon) always says "Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future". I looked to surround myself with people who would support and encourage me in this ministry. Sadly I was shocked to see how many people who claimed to love and serve God took advantage of this naive gringa. Not only was I taken of advantage of (more than once I'm sorry to say) but I saw other ministries misusing funds and donations that were being sent to them to help the dear children of this country. It not only broke my heart, but it infuriated me. Of course when you are being taken advantage of, you don't recognize it immediately. It takes a moment (especially when your entire world as you know it has been flipped upside down and you find yourself lonely in a country where you don't speak the language). However, once I realized what was happening to me I quickly made changes and wised up. I asked God to help me to know the good from the bad and you know what? He sent me Oscar, A salvadorean who looks out for me. So, once I wised up I had a staff meeting. Well, it was really just coffee with the one friend who was helping me out at the time. He and I were talking about how messed up it was that so many took advantage of people's generosity. At that moment I told him that I didn't ever want that to be me. I didn't ever want our ministry to lose sight of what God's purpose is. I had no intention of becoming wealthy by obeying God and forming this ministry. I never wanted to take advantage of anyone who supported me. My friend and I prayed right there at the little wooden table in the pupusaria that we were in. We asked God to never let the temptation of money blur our reason for having this ministry. I remember my friend prayed and said "God always remind us where we came from and what our purpose is." So the picture on the first page of this website is a reminder to me. It was taken in the first community that I ever worked in. It includes the first group from Club Abide (although we didn't call it Club Abide back then. We didn't even call it Esther's Heart back then) It is also includes two children from the first mission team that ever visited us. It has our first sponsor children in it. It is a reminder of where we started. It reminds me of what our purpose is for being here. I never want to lose focus on what that is. (In loving memory of Victor whose life was taken way to soon. Your death inspires me to work harder to keep these children safe.)
To learn more about Oscar and Beth Alegria and their ministry in El Salvador, please click here!
My first month in Australia has definitely been quite the adventure. God has gone great lengths to confirm what He has placed in my heart. This first month I have been focused mostly on getting settled, starting school, and establishing a life here. I have met many wonderful people and partners in the faith here; however the need is obvious.
I am blessed to be used to meet this need in a several ways. First and foremost I have the privilege and opportunity to serve extensively at Hillsong Church Hills Campus in a wide variety of ways. I currently serve the women of Hillsong every Thursday by setting up their service serving food during their service and taring down once their service is complete. Sunday I serve three out of four services they have at the campus where I am located.
Second God has also instructed me start and lead weekly evangelism groups to different areas of Sydney. One of these areas is suburb called Fairfield which has a large Arabic population. In recent months Fairfield has suffered significant gang violence from a local Assyrian Gang war between the DLASTHR and The True Kings. Well the work in Fairfield is just beginning I am believing God will totally invade this neighborhood and bring the light of Christ in to the neighborhood and bring a total awakening! I was personally challenged to reach this neighborhood when God showed me that often times we pray for the nations of the middle east and we ask God to intervene and help them. However, when He brings the people of those nations to us and they are suffering we sit back and ignore their pain. Who am I, as the Salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16) to deny them the one thing that can truly transform their lives and give them a new beginning.
In addition to the Fairfield outreach, I am also beginning a weekly meetings. Every other Tuesday I host a time of worship and prayer at my house. My heart for this time is first and foremost that the Lord is blessed and praised and second that as people bless the Lord, He will in turn bless them and reveal new depths of himself to them. My final goal for this time is that students are ministered to, encouraged, and have a safe place to come and be themselves. On the off Tuesdays I take part and support the leaders of growing small group that encourages and trains up students to live in the fullness of what God has for them.
The final weekly meeting I am starting is with a few Muslim friends I have recently made. These new friends have exprecied a great desire to learn more about Christianity and the God I know. During this time we will be discussing our lives and faiths over a warm cup of Coffee.
Please continue to pray for wisdom and blessing for me moving forward in every area. God has warned me many times this season to not limit Him or what he can do. Also I am currently looking and believing for a job.
Zechariah is a WMA Associate Missionary, to learn more click here.
I found my self working through the church directory doing some over the phone ministry. It was mid afternoon and I was getting answering machine after answering machine. By this call I was only half present absent mindlessly reading and dialing in the number waiting for the machine. However this time someone answered. It was a little old lady who lived alone. I asked her if there was anyway I could pray with her. When she responded her words felt like a knife in my gut.
She began to tell me some problems her family was facing and then she said "Satisfied people or so dissatisfied." As she spoke her words carried such weight that the statement instantly left an impact and impression on me.
She began telling me about growing up in the rural midwest during the dirty 30's and great depression and some of the struggles they faced. She told me how she wished her Grandkids could spend a month in the place and time she grew up in. Then she told me "times are not all that bad right now." "Discontent" she would say "it all lies in discontent."
As she continued to speak I began to feel more and more convicted. I realized that I was forgetting my blessings because I was choosing to focus more on on the things I had lost or didn't have, or had yet to receive. I found myself questioning if the only time we DON'T appreciate or value something in our consumer society is when it is in the palm of our hand. We want things we miss things but how often do we give thanks for things in the moment. Like little kids we beg and hope and wish and pray for things until we are given them and then suddenly it's lost its value to us.
It appears to me that all too often we question God's goodness well enjoying His blessings. We cry and beg God to fix and give instead of thanking Him for what He has done or what He has kept us from dealing with.
I can breath, I can see, I can read... I have 3 things to be thankful for right there.
Lets get back to praising God and stop being the dissatisfied satisfied.
Zechariah is a WMA Associate Missionary, to learn more click here.