Life { Faith } Tea

and ramblings on everything in between

Úsame al máximo



Three months ago when I signed up for a mission trip to El Salvador I told God that I wanted to work hard to pay for the trip instead of relying on donations. Not that asking for donations is a bad thing, it just wasn’t the approach I wanted to take. It was my decision to go on the trip and I felt responsible for financially making it happen.

And oh how God has provided.

After a ton of babysitting, overtime at work, writing resumes on the side, organizing photos, and cleaning out basements, I’m just $120 shy of the $2,200 I need. Talk about God’s provision! And I still have one more month to come up with the difference.

As I was contemplating going on this trip I wondered if the work I did there would equal more than the $2,200 could do for the sister church we partner with. I even thought about asking the missions pastor if my money was more valuable to the church than my time because I almost couldn’t justify it. But the selfish part of me who loves to travel came marching forth and declared that if I was going to drop that kind of money then I at least wanted to see another country while doing so. Humbleness only gets me so far…

Then I picked up a copy of Hope Runs by Claire Diaz Ortiz and Samuel Ikua Gachaqua. (Claire is the reason I created my dream board.) In the book, she talks about traveling the world, her work establishing a non-profit in Mexico, and the journey that led her to an orphanage in Africa. I wish I had written down the exact quote, but her take on the concept I was contemplating is this:

If money was enough to change the world, then the world would already be changed. That not being so, what does have the power to change the world is people who becoming life-long givers of their time, money, gifts, and resources. 

She feels that situations like volunteering in a third-world country for a week has a greater and lasting impact on a person than writing a check ever will. And once you look the need in the eye, how can you ever turn away? The experience is what creates a lasting impact on the person, who can then continue to make a lasting impact on the world throughout their life. Perhaps what I experience and witness will make a much bigger splash than the money ever would.

I don’t sponsor a child in El Salvador like many families at my church do through Compassion International, but I have been informed more than once that I won’t be able to come back without falling in love with one of them. With this in mind, I’ve already started praying for the boy or girl God wants me to sponsor. I pray for a rich and lasting impact on his or her life. I pray for a heart that is open to the world and all of its people. I pray that I will be used to the fullest while I am there. And I hope I get to see this child’s face in person.


Speaking of cute faces, this little guy, along with my mom and sister, helped me put together sugar scrubs that I will sell during the holiday season to put me over the finish line. We mixed and tested and mixed and tested, and then mom put the finishing touches on each jar.

photo 2 (33)

photo 1 (33)


I’m still anxiously awaiting to hear what our project will be and how we’ll spend our time in Majucla. Things change so often that we might not know until we board the plane, but my excitement grows every day. I’m ready to go out and DO.


5 comments on “Úsame al máximo

  1. Claudia {SparrowHawk}
    November 7, 2014

    Ashlee I am so excited for you! Did you decided if you are going to go on the trip after all or are you still praying about donating the money instead?

    I have volunteered as a Spanish translator for a church in Canada, that visit San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico yearly, and I have personally seen the impact and last impressions the youth from the church in Canada have left on the children in Mexico. I have also witnessed the aftermath of the culture shock in the Canadian youth. It’s all so beautiful and personally, an experience that one cannot put a price on.

    • Ashlee
      November 18, 2014

      Thanks, Claudia! I decided to go on the trip and am counting down the days! 70 ( I think 🙂 ). That’s wonderful that you have been able to see the difference in their lives. I’m starting to see that those differences are what change the world when we hold onto them. Even though the pastor and team members who have been there before have tried to explain what the experience will be like, I know there is no way to prepare for it until I am there.

  2. Sam
    November 7, 2014

    Ashlee this is so exciting! I’ve always thought about going abroad to volunteer my time but never took the final step to do so. I’ve volunteered my time locally but as you say, there’s a small part inside you that wants to go and see the impact you’re making.

    My brother did an engineering outreach program in Guatemala a few years ago and it was amazing to see the impact he made while he was there and the impact the experience had on him. I hope you also have a wonderful experience while you’re gone. Buen viaje!

    • Ashlee
      November 18, 2014

      Thank you, Sam! I’m an excited nervous ball of energy about it, that’s for sure! And thank you for your well wishes. I hope whatever my takeaway from the experience is, I can bring it home and live it out here every day.

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This entry was posted on November 6, 2014 by in Do Good, God, Jesus and tagged , , .

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