El Salvador, Mission Trip Spring Break

A few images of the people I spent my week with!
Our sponsor child, Rene, and me at his home in El Sunza.
Our team in El Sunza – stonegate women & el sunza women!
My roomie for the week, Genesis, and our house mom, Suyapa!
Me & Suyapa! What a joy it was to stay with her family for the week.

I am so excited to finally start telling you about El Salvador. It has been over two weeks since I’ve been home and it’s taken me that long to proccess in my mind & also get all my photos together! I took over 1,600 images, and narrowed it down to 750 that I liked. So…I will put some here, but you can see them bigger & better at my photography blog here (http://wynneelderphotographyblog.com/) and then I’ll put a lot up on my personal Facebook page here (http://www.facebook.com/wynne.elder). I am planning to do a series on my photography blog telling the stories of the people I met. They are too good to just show you the image, you have to hear the story!

Let me just tell you it was a pretty amazing trip. The people there have changed my life – I will never be the same. Traveling to a different culture & getting to see the same God at work among them was amazing. As you know, I love to write. I’m not a writer, but writing is a great way for me to put my life into words and help me process. So the trip back from El Salvador, I had my computer on the plane & after my iPhone died and I couldn’t listen to tunes while I wrote I got my laptop out and decide to write that way. What came next was 4 pages of writing in 9pt font. I thought I’d share some of that here and then over the next few weeks share more with the images on my WEP blog of the stories I heard. Thank you for listening and being a part of the story!
As you know, my main “role” on this trip was to take photos & video. I think mentally & emotionally that’s all I thought I would do. But it was so much more. God allowed me to see so many parts of this trip & our mission through taking photos & video. But I was a part of the mission too. The first night, honestly I was in culture shock. I hadn’t ever been on a trip like this, staying with a family. And the way they take “showers” scared me, I was almost in tears the first night. But after taking a “splash” the first night, I realized that I’m still clean. It’s still the same. It was so amazing to get to see and experience life in another country.
On the plane….this is what I wrote. First thoughts from El Salvador. Most of it is written like a prayer to God.

I think the biggest thing I am taking away is that love is the universal language

i couldn’t’t communicate by myself this week at all but i still am walking away feeling like i know these people so well and love them so much.

getting to stay with suyapa and willberto and annayi was amazing – it made the trip, getting to really be submersed into their culture and get to know them as a family. we had some really hilarious times at meals and at night watching “novellas” (Spanish soap operas….)


getting to see ken & vikki {the missionaries} in action was a great experience. they truly have willing willing spirits and hearts to serve you lord. they are a great example to me. god, if we are willing you WILL use us. i really am praying about what you have for Stephen & I. if we are “go-ers” or “send-ers”- I’m thankful for this season of life that we get to go into the world to make you known. it might not have been what we planned or wanted (you know we would love to have a family right now) but you work all things together for our good and i see a lot of good that came from just this one week in el salvador. i will never be the same. getting to see these people who have so little compared to our rich lives in the states – yet they are so rich. they are so rich in your love. it doesn’t matter what they have or don’t have because all they / all WE need is you. you are the great physician, you are the great provider and protector and giver of life.


thankful for the people of el sunza, el salvador. i just know that when we go to africa and i get to see in person the people that have already touched my hearts so much- i will be overcome with emotion. i didn’t know anything about el sunza before, and to already have such a bond and a love for the people after one short week is amazing. god, that is so you just knitting our hearts together as only you can do. you give us a bond because we are brothers and sisters in christ. i LOVE how they use “hermana(o)” so much. brother and sister in christ. the way that the salvadorians greet each other, with a kiss on the cheek & hug and “hola hermana” is beautiful. why don’t we greet each other like that? and the way they say “dios le vin dega” – god be with you. why don’t we part by saying that? some other things i love about their culture: they are so family oriented. every single meal was eaten with everyone at the table. no phones, no tv, just sweet time together. all the families live so close together, most of the time the grandparents live in the same complex. family is everything to them, they cherish their time together. I think something they have that we don’t, is they don’t have all the distractions from “the world” like we do. It seems like there, at least for me, it was so much easier to HEAR God to communicate with Him, to see Him at work. There weren’t as many distractions!


getting to document such a trip has quickly become a dream of mine. ever since i took the class at church. which lord i still think is pretty humorous that the only reason i got in was because bruce lowe (the missions pastor at our church!) dropped out. you opened my eyes that class to the ways that photography could be a ministry. you showed me that simply taking someone’s photo is a ministry and there were so many things i could do with it. that’s what i love about it – the business came about, which I am so grateful for the flexibility and opportunity to meet some amazing people. lord, I pray that you are going to continue to open doors like this trip for me. it sounds like you might be – and lord is that’s what you will – make a way. i am willing. i have said quite a few times in 2011 that if the opportunity arouse for me to use photography stricktly for humanitarian/ministry than i would leave the business behind. {that is really scary to think! what God will do!} i already can see so many opportunities this summer: honduras maybe, op camp, and who knows what else. lord the fear i have is how will we survive and make money if all i do is work for free? you know and if that’s what i’m supposed to do than i have to have faith that you will make a way. i don’t know if that is in fact what you want – and i learned my lesson with Camp, I can beg you all i want to make my dreams your dreams for me – but it won’t change anything. you are the author and perfecter of my faith and my life and where you lead me i will go. i want to have, like ken & vikki, a willing heart and spirit to say “yes, lord send me, i’ll go”. so lord – once again, i give my business over to you. do with it what you may and please speak clearly to me about what you want me to do with the gifts and abilities that you have given me.

the life lesson that you keep teaching me, or trying to teach me over and over is simply this: my life is not my own, it’s not about me. it’s all about you. my time on this earth is short but precious. there is so much you can do through my life if i just am willing. what is it you want to do? i don’t want to be satisfied or still with what “i’m doing” now, because everything is a step to something else. you can and will use me and i want you to. whatever that looks like. please keep reminding me lord that my life is not my own and do with it what you want. i want to have mountain moving faith, i don’t want to have fears, i want to trust and believe that you are who you say you are and you will do what you say what you do. i want to know the promises you have given me in your word. i want to hide them in my heart. i want to shine you to the world. to everyone in my little corner of the world. i have influence because of how you’ve made me. it’s nothing about me but all about you. this term – “fore runner” keeps coming up and lord i still don’t exactly know what that means in my life but i want to embrace it. i want to run ahead and do things for you that will make a diffrerence in your kingdom and will encourage others to do the same. may it be nothing about me but all about you lord. what do you want for me/us this summer and this next year – how can we serve you more in midland texas and worldwide. speak to us, but let us also “just do it”. i want to be missional – to live a mission focused lifestyle. i want stephen & i to take the perspectives class – so lord i pray that you would make that possible with our schedules and businesses. provide the time and energy to do it. just talking about the class with shea, julia, ken (who have all taken it) makes me so excited. they were saying at the end of the class you say if you are a “send-er” or a “go-er” and i really just can’t imagine myself being a send-er. i am a go-er by nature. people energize me. meeting new people, building new relationships, that is when i am happiest. that is when i’m in my element. having a common ground with someone and getting to share in that – is the best. right now, i’m listening to my favorite lacrea song, send me, and it’s been my fave since we heard him at RTD 2009. i don’t know why, but maybe it’s because i’m a go-er. lord, do a work! lord, who knows what you are up to! i’m just happy to be a part of it.


these the wonderful people I will never ever forget: ken & vikki, suyapa & will, nuria, moses & juanita, carlos, rafael, sandra, carla & hoell, santos, morena,

these people have their priorities right – god first, family second, self third. the could care less about material things, and only need what they need to get by. they speak to each other with blessings all day long, they greet each other warmly, they call each other their brother and sister in christ. they way the live their lives and the things that are important to them are what should be! i’m sure they have the business as usual just like we do, but their lives look so diffrent. they are so simple yet so rewarding, so impactful and so special. i have been honored to get to meet and know the beautiful people of el sunza. i pray your blessings on their small village – that it will be advanced for your kingdom, that you will continue to move there and the people will only fall more and more in love with you.


my life will never be the same. thank you lord for the week i had in el sunza.

I hope to tell the stories of the people I just mentioned & show you images from the work we did this week. Stay tuned!


Hey, I'm Wynne!

Hi, friend! First, I truly am so giddy that you are here. I want you to know I believe in you and all the ways you are growing towards living a more intentional life.  I genuinely hope you are encouraged from our time together here.

A little about me, I’m a type 7 on the enneagram, a total extrovert + people lover, entrepreneur, connector, storyteller, people gatherer, and passionate wife, mama + friend. I feel most alive when I’m exploring new places and surrounded by people I love. Give me a day in the outdoors disconnected from wifi, and I am a happy girl. I run on oat milk lattes, Jesus, gratitude journaling and kitchen dance parties with my four kids.
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  1. Amanda says:

    This is amazing!!! I am so happy you went and had such an uplifting experience. You can do so much with your talent.

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