What We Do
SHIP has been working in the same community in El Salvador since 2004. We love this place, the people, the opportunity we’ve had to become a part of this community and the lives of our neighbors there. Working in the same area for so long means that we get to see neighborhood children grow up and see lives changing for the better, not just for one brief moment but over a lifetime.
How We Do It
Spiritual RenewalBringing the word of God through Bible studies, weekly worship services, and vacation Bible school
EducationProviding children with a challenging, Christian education that will transform their lives and the future of the community
ConstructionBuilding safe homes for our neighbors to live and raise their families in
WorkCreating ways and offering training for women to support themselves and their families
CooperationLearning from and working with the Salvadoran people to make real, lasting change
PermanenceBuilding up a strong community that will outlast our time in El Salvador
What We've done
SHIP's main ministry focus is a small community outside of San Salvador, El Salvador. We have worked in the same area since 2004. We love this place, the people, and the opportunity we’ve had to become a part of the community and the lives of our neighbors there. Working in the same area for so long means that we've been part of this community's past and present and that God has allowed us to see the ways in which He works through community members to raise up leaders who will help shape the community's future. We get to know the neighborhood children and their families, experience life with them, and, with each trip there, become even more amazed and inspired by the deepening faith all around us. SHIP's ministry in El Salvador has many branches, all working with our Salvadoran neighbors to strengthen different aspects of the community and to bring more opportunities for educational, economic, and spiritual growth. It probably sounds like SHIP does a lot, but we've learned the best thing we can do is let God direct what we do and how we do it.
- We visit El Salvador for the first time to see if a piece of land was suitable to build an orphanage on. We expected to go there only once. Spoiler Alert: God had other plans.
- After that trip, SHIP International is established and becomes a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
- SHIP raises funds and purchases 12 acres of land outside San Salvador. By the end of 2004, it’s obvious that we’ll be taking more than one trip to El Salvador
- We start taking other people to El Salvador and host SHIP’s first mission trip to El Salvador.
- We build relationships and make friends in El Salvador.
- SHIP owns 12 acres of lush, rugged land, but building and fundraising go so slowly that we start to wonder if we’d misunderstood God’s call to build. Spoiler Alert #2: We’d heard correctly. God would make a way.
2008 – 2009
- SHIP’s land had a tenant—the land’s caretaker and his family. Our first construction-focused mission trip? Building a new home for that family, a family that became our lifelong friends.
- When a SHIP Tripper’s heart was touched after meeting four recent high school graduates who lived at the current orphanage and couldn’t afford to go to college, a scholarship program was born.
- Our first interns spend 5 weeks in El Salvador working with the children at the orphanage.
- The building progress moves slowly. Many times, we wonder if we’ll ever see kids living in these facilities.
- While on our Summer 2010 SHIP Trip, we learn that building completion is crucial. If the buildings aren’t completed in a matter of months, many of the children at the orphanage will be sent to state-run orphanages.
- We collectively refer to that trip as “The Worst Mission Trip Ever.”
- We panic. God shows up. A totally unexpected meeting with the mayor of Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, changes everything and makes building possible. God is good.
- SHIP finally moves into the property we bought in 2004. Remember when we said God would make a way? Well, He did.
- We wanted to be good neighbors, so we went to work repairing neighbors’ roofs, painting homes, and facilitating neighborhood cleanup.
- Then SHIP began the search for clean water.
- SHIP received a grant from Rotary Club International, Rotary Club of Aggieland, and Santa Tecla Rotary Club, El Salvador, to drill a well that could supply clean water to our facilities and the community.
- A primary and secondary school scholarship program begins! We provide six neighborhood students with scholarships to attend safe, private Christian schools.
- We continue repairing homes and becoming a part of the neighborhood.
- SHIP’s facilities and the surrounding community get access to clean, safe drinking water.
- SHIP Shop El Salvador opens, offering economic opportunity to neighborhood women.
- The scholarship program keeps growing, and we send 13 additional students to private school and provide them with tutoring.
2014 – 2015
- SHIP works with community members to make local homes safer. Those kids we send to private school? They’re some of our biggest helpers.
- Vacation Bible School becomes part of each SHIP Trip.
- A sewing ministry starts. Women learn a trade to help support their families
- SHIP’s scholarship and tutoring program officially becomes sponsorSHIP and begins connecting sponsors with their sponsored students through letters.
- We celebrate our first baptism.
2017 – 2018
- SHIP hosts our first conference for Salvadoran pastors.
- Outreach services, Bible studies, and Vacation Bible School keep growing and reaching more of our neighbors.
- The idea to start our own school is brought up again and again, but we say we’ll never do that. Spoiler Alert #3: God had other plans. We were about to start a school.
- In January 2019, SHIP opens a school, Escuela Luz de Jesús, which serves students ages four to six, with plans to add one grade level per year. In November of that same year, we celebrate our first graduating class of kindergartners.
- Our sponsorSHIP program now sends more than 85 children to private, academically challenging Christian schools and provides after-school tutoring for them.
- To date, SHIP has awarded university scholarships to 13 students, several of whom have already graduated.
- We begin building a three-story classroom building.
- We add a grade to our school and welcome new students.
- Like the rest of the world, we adapt and learn to work remotely during the pandemic. El Salvador goes into lockdown. SHIP starts a food distribution program and goes online with school and tutoring. After Tropical Storm Amanda hits, we fundraise to purchase supplies, and our Salvadoran friends begin rebuilding their homes.
- While the US part of SHIP is separated from El Salvador, we pray a lot. It’s a frustrating time, but we know we’ll go back. Latest Spoiler Alert: God has everything under control.