August 2015 Update

Highlights

  • I got to hug some Salvadorans at Gabi & Victoria’s Wedding!
  • I spent a weekend getting FAT with my fellow Rock City Youth Leaders!
  • I now have robot eyes with lasers!
  • Everyone loves fried chicken. I love San Salvador. Let’s put ‘em together!
  • In the past 5 weeks, we have increased my regular support by 22%!

Hola Hola, amigos!

This past month has been awesomely busy! I’ve been having fun, finally enjoying our Ohio summer and persevering through my first few months of building up my San Salvador support team!

At the end of July, I got to go to Toledo, Ohio for the wedding of Gabriel and Victoria Valle! Gabi is a friend I met in San Salvador. He used to drive one of the vans that would take our mission team from the hotel to the Children’s Center in Guayabo and around the city in the evenings. When I met Gabi, I knew that he was learning English, but I didn’t quite know why. It turns out, for our driver extraordinaire, English was his language of love! Gabi was learning so that he could move to the US and marry Victoria, a beautiful woman he met while she was on a San Salvador mission trip! Their wedding was beautiful and it was a breath of fresh air to be able to see not just one Salvadoran friend, but TWO! Albi was able to come up for the wedding! I hugged her so tightly that I think all my friends in San Salvador could feel it!

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The Rock City Youth leaders spent some time up at Indian Lake for a weekend of fellowship, silliness and learning. We are a “Student First” organization, but sometimes we need to focus on the friendships amongst the leaders and bond over s’mores and smiles. We started our days with leader-led lessons teaching us that FAT is beautiful! That is Faithful, Available and Teachable! We also reinforced that as followers of Christ and leaders of His half-grown humans, we must eliminate our “Say/Do Gap.” What we profess with our mouths must match what we do with our lives. Our afternoons were spent on the water of Indian Lake. I had the INSANE privilege of accompanying Youth Pastor Amanda for her first ever tube ride behind a jet boat! We had a blast, but were no match for the guys at the wheel! After a few hours of tubing, jet skiing and sunbathing, by starlight we sang worship songs to the Lord and giggled until sleep was inevitable.

It is a true blessing to live and learn alongside the leaders of Rock City Youth. Their hearts are on fire for teenagers and I will carry that fire in my own heart to San Salvador.

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As of yesterday morning, I have robot eyes!!! Okay…not really, but after years of waiting and whining, I was able to receive Lasik eye surgery in both of my eyes yesterday! I have worn glasses since I was 3 years old and contacts since I was 13, and I am over it! Not only are contacts an expense I am excited to no longer have to pay, but more importantly, I am relieved that the eye issues that have plagued me at least once a year for the past 17 years will no longer be a problem! I want my time in San Salvador to be as healthy as possible, so avoiding the eye doctor is definitely exciting!

My vision is still a little blurry, but I am told that is normal and in the next week or so I will notice a drastic difference. Huzzah for modern technology!
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Last week I had a fundraiser at a local Chick-fil-A restaurant! Waylon, the owner of that franchise is a fellow Rock City Church goer and was gracious enough to not only help set up the evening, but give a few lucky Rock City Youth kids a behind-the-scenes tour as well! By the end of the evening, Ashley’s Amigos helped to raise $100 towards my San Salvador Ministry! Ain’t nothin’ better than fried chicken for a mission!
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As I continue on my support-raising path, God continues to affirm that I am on the right path – His path. Since I wrote you last, I have gone from 42% of my monthly goal raised to 64% raised! That’s a 22% increase in 5 weeks! Dios es bueno! God is good!

As I make phone calls and meet with people to share my story, I am continually in awe of people’s support and encouragement towards my ministry. The Bible reminds me that, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.” Luke 1v4-5

I may have 99 problems, but knowing my purpose isn’t one!

The purpose of my life is to help make Heaven full, and God has appointed me to reach out my hands to the Youth of San Salvador.

I know that God will get me to San Salvador in His timing. Before I can begin to live out God’s calling on my life with the Youth of San Salvador, I must reach 100% of my support-raising goal. I have in my spirit a fire of urgency because my days on this earth are numbered and the Youth of San Salvador are at risk. By the age of 20, the statistic is that 20% of Salvadoran youth will have joined a gang. Please consider becoming a monthly partner in my Salvadoran ministry so that God can use me to make a change in this statistic. Many of us spend $20 a month on drinks at the local coffee shop. If just a handful of you commit that amount each month, I’ll be able to spend my days in Salvadoran coffee shops sharing Jesus with students who desperately need Him. Please consider giving. You can get set up in five minutes by going here: reliant.org/ashley.arend

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.

You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.
Psalm 39v4-5

Please Pray:

  • That our Rock City Youth students would be shining lights of God’s love as they go back to their respective schools
  • That the Salvadoran youth ministry (180 Juventud) would continue to reach the young people of their city
  • That God would give me perseverance to continue along His path towards San Salvador by continuing to open hearts and minds of the people I get to share my story with
  • I am able to check off the long list of logistics that must be completed before I can move!

be cheerful no matter what // what pray all the time // thank God no matter what happens.

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