This past Feb. 13-20, I went on a service trip with a group of high schoolers from Young Life throughout central New York. We went to the village of Rancho Grande in the Bajo Lempa Region of El Salvador.

Young Life has been taking teenagers and adults to Rancho Grande for 14 years and the impact has been incredible. Rancho Grande is a village in one of the most rural areas of that country. When we arrived in El Salvador, some people from the village had made us food and greeted us at the airport which gave me even more of a drive to do amazing things for these people all week.

While in the village, we ran a major medical clinic making available dentist visits, physical check-ups and eye exams for the families in the village. I worked in the medical clinic one day and the sense of community between the people of the village was extremely evident in how they would help to watch each other’s kids while the parent was being checked on and how they supported each other.

We knocked down and began rebuilding a house for a man and his family. I helped with building rebar and pickaxing for the foundation of the house. We also helped another man move his house from one piece of land to another. We began to build a greenhouse for the village and provided personal hygiene items and shoe giveaways for the entire village. We built a porch for a man and his family and we played with the children throughout the whole week.

The people in the village that I met throughout the week were the happiest, most joyful people I have ever met in my life and they live in the worst conditions I’ve ever seen in my life. That reality is an amazing testament to how grateful they are for everything that they have. We had Mass while there and everyone happily came together to worship. It was so beautiful to see. I saw God in the people in the village but I also saw God every day in the faces of the teenagers who came with me who truly were on a mission to help these people and were on a mission to live out a life of service just as God has intended for us. I am so grateful for this amazing journey and it was the best experience I have ever had in my journey of faith. I loved serving the people of El Salvador and I can’t wait to go back to Rancho Grande next year to continue to serve. I hope to have many more Bishop Grimes students join me on this mission in the future!

As the COVID-19 spread has shut down CNY, El Salvador has been on lockdown as well.  Sadly, our friends in Bajo Lempa have been ordered to stay out of their fields, ruining their crops and leaving their families with no source for food.  All of the nearby grocerers are closed as well.  

Thankfully, Young Life was able to shift some project money from our trip in February to meet this most basic need for hundreds of families who were on the brink of famine.  Those supplies were delivered in early April.  

Plans are being developed for participants from our trip to sponsor families in need over the coming months.   We are all motivated to give back to God's people who gave us so much.  

Please pray for them and if you would like to support our efforts, please email me at abigail.docos@gmail.com.

Abigail Docos is a sophomore at Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High School. She lives in Oswego.

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