What We Do
It all started with surf camps!!
In 2017, Jorge and Erik put on a surf camp in the town of El Zonte…
Our camp was on a Saturday afternoon in June, and was so much fun. We had a group of 20 kids come out to participate. We spent the day surfing, barbecuing, skating and swimming. Towards the end of our day Jorge shared his story with the kids, of who God is and how Jorge had encountered him in a crucial moment in his life.
Prior to the surf camp Jorge felt God calling him into a different type of living, one in which he came alongside the youth of El Zonte. This journey began after he met a boy who had just lost his Father, a tragedy common within their community. Jorge felt a pull to walk alongside side this young boy as he grieved the loss of his father. He felt God asking him to be a leader to the youth of this beach community.
The next morning changed my life. Jorge and I met for a cup of coffee with plans to surf afterwards. As we watched the surf, I felt God tell me, “don’t surf, ask Jorge to take you to his house”. I asked Jorge to show me where he lived to which he agreed. As we began our walk up to Jorge’s house, we walked by the homes of the kids that had attended the camp the day before. Most of them were just waking up and had come out to greet us. The kids were carrying brand new skate boards that had been gifted the day before during the Camp, their smiles reached from ear to ear!
It was during this walk I began to take notice of the homes of these kids. I was taken back by the living conditions, most homes were made of corrugated tin roof, with dirt floors, and no running water. Jorge began to tell me the story of each individual family. The stories were full of tragedy and hardship. The stories varied, but the common theme was absence of a father. Some families had fathers that had been murdered by the Gangs, while other fathers left the country for work and failed to return or provide financially. Often leaving mother and children vulnerable without an income and with little hope of escaping their situations.
Before I got on the plane to return home, I was at a friend’s house in San Salvador thinking about my walk with Jorge. While I was thinking my friend asked if I was okay, I had become very quiet and was staring off into space. I shared that I couldn’t stop thinking about the stories of Jorge’s community in El Zonte. I needed to do something to help alleviate the poverty and oppression that was so common to El Salvador. He assured me that poverty and oppression has been present for thousands of years. He also shared that to make an impact it would require patience, for the journey would be long and hard. I continued my relationship with Jorge throughout the year with weekly phone conversations.
After the camp Jorge had begun to lead weekly groups. The group time consisted of a short bible lesson followed by fun but, competitive soccer tournaments with the kids. The groups soon grew from 20 kids to 70 kids. Jorge began spending three nights a week leading bible studies and showing them what it meant to live a life that follows Jesus. as Jorge says “Filling the love tank”.
In 2018, I asked Jorge what we can do to help change the difficult situations that most of the youth found themselves in. Jorge quickly replied, Education. As we thought about how to support the kids with their education, we made a decision to invest in a vehicle to safely transport the kids from El Zonte to High school. We had a generous company financially support this decision, Systems Waterproofing Inc. We currently have a reliable vehicle and a responsible driver to drive the students of Playa El Zonte to school and help support their education.