Student Impact Makes an Impact in El Salvador


A team from Willow’s Student Impact Ministry spent their spring break in El Salvador. Far from the glamour of a spring break spent vacationing abroad or even at home, on this trip, 16 students chose to roll up their sleeves instead. Their mission? Build homes in San Jacinto. Working alongside Zurisadai Church, a Willow partner in El Salvador, the team worked at such a fast pace that they surpassed expectations. On average, a new home in San Jacinto takes 20 days to complete. On this trip, the team was able to complete a home in just eight days.

The Impact on One Student

In order to construct the homes, students moved dirt and bricks, mixed cement by hand, and carried heavy water containers from the well to the work site. “It was strenuous carrying the water,” recalled 17-year-old Jordan Jensen, one of the team members.

Twice a day, they made a 15-minute walk to the well. The water, though sufficient for mixing cement, was unpurified. Using a rope and a bucket, the students filled water containers and struggled to carry them back to the construction site. Because no one on their team could carry the water containers on theirs heads, Jordan explained “eight-year-old girls took them from us and carried them.” For Jordan, whose access to clean water is easy and unrestricted, that was “one thing that really stood out.”

Jordan also described the homes they replaced. One woman lived in a home greatly affected by the rainy season every year. It is the equivalent of “camping and having all of your clothes, bags, and belongings soaked, for almost six months of the year,” Jordan said. The inhabitants of those homes endured bugs “year round,” as there was no way to keep them out. But what impacted Jordan the most was the size of people’s homes in San Jacinto. In a home no larger than her own bedroom back in Illinois, a family of ten lived and slept under the same roof.

A Lasting Impact

This was not Jordan’s first mission trip and, undoubtedly, it will not be her last. Comparing her own life to those she was helping, Jordan said spending her spring break in El Salvador was “not sacrificial. It was just what I wanted to do.”

For next steps, consider taking a short term trip.

Category : Celebration of Hope

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