Classified Ads

Boots on the Ground: Meet Fabiola Ramírez



Picture of Fabiola


If you remember typing on a typewriter in college, then you might remember searching for jobs in the newspaper or on a physical job board. If I had come across this posting, I might have thought twice before applying.


Classified Ads


Fabiola Ramírez de Rivera has been working for ENLACE for more than 10 years and is currently the Head of the Church and Community Program in El Salvador, but before that, she was an ENLACE Church Coach.  


When Fabiola first started working for ENLACE she said it was a dream for her. But not in the sense of what we think when we think of a dream job with a good salary, great benefits, and vacation days. Fabiola says the dream is to work in an organization that helps the church transform its communities. “I know that the church can preach the gospel, but [we can] BE the gospel.”



For more than 30 years, ENLACE has had the privilege of walking WITH churches as THEY walk WITH their communities to bring about profound change. Whether the local church is nestled in mountainous areas, a farming region, or along the coast, the poverty experienced by the local population is extreme. Generally, families living in poor rural areas lack adequate living conditions, school and community infrastructure, good jobs, or viable economic opportunities. And that’s where the ENLACE Church Coach comes in.



ENLACE Church Coaches provide on-site coaching and consulting to church leaders on how to organize one’s church to serve effectively, how to build relationships with community leaders, associations, and organizations, and how to identify and develop sustainable collaborative initiatives and projects that alleviate poverty in their neighborhoods. ENLACE Church Coaches work tirelessly on a daily basis, coaching and offering technical support, and are committed to walking alongside the church for seven to 10 years. 


“I used to do everything by myself, and my ministry to the community was simply visiting the elderly and helping children. My church coach helped motivate our entire church and showed us how to work together to make a significant impact.”

– Pastora Marta Vaquerano
Palabra de Poder Church, Anemona, San Martin 


After being trained to listen to their neighbors, take surveys, and engage with organizations already present in their community, the church breaks out of its shell and becomes a powerhouse of transformation! And every year, as the projects become more technical and require stronger leadership skills and collaboration with the community, ENLACE coaches walk with the church as they develop and strengthen its relationships with water boards, health committees, public schools, and mayor’s offices as well as with the community associations of nearby hamlets. 


Community Meeting



“I have received so many hugs from people who are suffering but are still giving and being generous to their communities. I have received more than what I have given.”


When she first started working as a Church Coach, Fabiola said that she learned many things from a woman she was training. Rosita was one of the leaders of the community and a member of one of the first churches that ENLACE started to work with. Rosita was a single mom with two children but was still very involved in her church. Fabiola was impressed that she had a clean house, knowing that Rosita didn’t have access to clean running water. 


At that time, Fabiola was still in school and was trying to complete her homework while staying at Rosita’s house. Rosita said that Fabiola could have the light on to do her homework. Rosita and her family only had one light in the house, but she was willing to give her the light. 


Fabiola recalls that Rosita made it seem so easy. Simple tasks like doing the laundry can seem so “hard” when you have children, but for women like Rosita they are hard. They have to walk to the river carrying the dirty clothes of the entire family, wash them in the river, and then come back carrying the heavy wet clothes to hang outside their home. Fabiola admires these women who come to the ENLACE meetings even after they have already done so many time-consuming tasks in their homes. 


“These women are doing a lot with less, but they are always faithful.”


Women Working


Fabiola remembers early on when she was working with a remote community where they were planning on building latrines. They had to walk for 4 hours around the mountainous terrain to visit all of the people who would receive a latrine. She remembers staying with one of the leaders in the community who was a seamstress. The woman was sewing school uniforms, and on one particular night, there was a lot of work, so Fabiola offered to help sew. In this moment and so many since then, Fabiola recalled her mother’s words, “The more you learn things, the more you can help people.” 


Composting Latrines
A serving team from the U.S. comes to help build and bring the additional funds needed to build these composting latrines for this community in rural El Salvador.


Another moment early in her journey as a church coach, with her mother’s lesson in mind, Fabiola started a class to teach English to a group of children in the community. “I don’t know much, but I can teach a little bit,” she thought. Eleven years later, one of the boys in that class has a bachelor’s degree in English. When recalling this story, Fabiola laughed and said, “Now he knows more than me!”


Fabiola’s admiration for the people living in the communities ENLACE serves has not waned. Recently, in the middle of a housing initiative, the local mayor’s office did not come through with the funding that they had promised. Two 70-year-old women were so set on finishing this project that they spoke boldly, “We’re going to build these houses, no matter what!” 


Salvadoran Woman


Salvadoran Woman


To Fabiola, these lovely, fragile women are shining examples of what happens when we are committed to loving people. While they could be relaxing in their old age, instead, they are moving mountains to serve their community. Fabiola said she wants to be like them when she grows up! 


“Sometimes, as women, we feel we are not seen or heard, but I am so grateful that I work with men who know the value of women in leadership.”


Woman Leader and Mother


Fabiola is now in charge of all the ENLACE church coaches in El Salvador. Ron Bueno, ENLACE’s executive director, described her as “all terrain.” When asked what Fabiola means to ENLACE, Ron replied, “She was a great coach and now is a great leader. Fabiola is deeply committed to seeing the local church flourish and wants to see ENLACE be a healthy and encouraging place to work.”


When asked what she loves most about working on the ENLACE team, she said, “What I like most is talking to people, listening to their stories, [and seeing] the faith they have in a better future. I love seeing lives transformed and relationships restored when the church takes on the challenge of loving its community the way Jesus does.”


Large Family


Salvadoran Family
Fabiola is also a professor in the Community Development department at the Christian University of the Assemblies of God and serves in her local church as a teacher of adults. Fabiola and her husband Wilmer have two beautiful children, Nicolás and Ezequiel. She likes plants, drinking coffee, and spending time with her extended family.


Other ENLACE colleagues echoed Ron’s words. They described Fabiola as a servant leader who cares deeply about people, a dedicated mother and friend. She is reflective and funny, and cares about justice. Fabiola demonstrates the love of Christ and ENLACE is grateful and blessed for her leadership and friendship. If you’d like to give to support projects and people like Fabiola, click here.


Related Posts