I had the joy of going to El Salvador with a small group from my church a few weeks ago. The mountains were gorgeous and the people, wonderful. We went to partner with a church in Ahuachapan, a small town near the border of Guatemala. The church was tiny - we doubled their size with our 24 people. We had a major language barrier - they spoke Spanish; we didn't. But, we worked through it with the help of some fabulous translators and, of course, wild hand gestures.
Each day, a group of us would go out and do a puppet performance for the little kids while another group would go to a park and do street evangelism. We traveled through heart-wrenching poverty where families lived in houses made of aluminum siding and a tarp for a roof. Many of those we met were refugees, from where we aren't sure. Many of the people there have nothing. For those who are doing really well, their monthly wage is about $300. It's a different world.
The church in Ahuachapan is wanting to expand to a new site that is closer to their current members and can reach a very impoverished area. We hope to visit again soon to help them build that new church.
While I was there, I felt like a tourist about 99% of the time because I was glued to my camera. It always dangled from my neck and I somehow lugged my 3 pound mega lens with me too. But, my official title on the trip was "photographer", so I guess it just comes with the gig. I'm pretty sure that one of my dream jobs would be to travel with missionary groups and take pictures for the organization or church...just throwing that out there. :)
Here's a sampling of some pictures. You can see plenty more on Flickr.