Solidarity and Spiders (big ones)
By Adam Nestor
In June 2015, I was blessed to spend five days at COAR with three other seminarians as we experienced the work the Cleveland Mission is doing in El Salvador.
Our first night staying in the guest house we found a tiny, yet still frightening, tarantula in our shower. To be honest, this freaked me out. I was about to sleep less than 50 feet from a shower that had a tarantula. And, even though it wasn’t that big, its presence suggested the likelihood that there were others, possibly even full-grown (provided this one was still growing.) The only thing that calmed me down was this: amid my prayers that God would protect me from these creatures, I was graced with the realization that this wasn’t a scary stunt aimed at freaking me out on a game show.
Adam, experiencing solidarity, center, with fellow seminarians Kevin, Chris, and Eric
Rather, this was real, daily life for the kids of COAR and was probably the least of what concerns nearly all of them. After spending time getting to know these children and their stories, I knew they could only dream of their biggest concern being a small tarantula in the shower. I believe that God used the presence of that spider to make me attentive to the fact that these children are living drastically different lives than anything with which I could identify.
This summer I find myself graced with the opportunity to share the needs and concerns of the children of COAR by doing Mission Appeals. I know that the time and energy I give to sharing the stories of the children I encountered will help to provide necessities and create more opportunities for them.
While I have since returned home to Northeast Ohio (that is, away from the threat of tarantulas in the shower), I realize that certain conditions in El Salvador, such as gang influence and violence and education challenges, have remained or have even gotten worse. Consequently, COAR’s mission has become all the more important and it has become essential that the mission and spirit of COAR is shared with everyone.
I sincerely thank all who support COAR, especially those who will hear or have once heard a Mission Appeal on behalf of these children. We might not be able to rid every shower of tarantulas, but we can help provide a safe environment for these children to grow and to hope.
Watch Adam Tell his story here