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Decent Homes, Safer Future
In its tireless work to improve their community, Emanuel Church located in El Triunfo, San Miguel, and its community conducted a survey that identified the urgent need for housing in more than ten families. Most of the houses were made of plastic, adobe, mud and shell. The church, community and ENLACE worked in the review, approval, and design of new homes. From June 2012 to January 2013 ten houses were built benefiting 43 people. With this initiative the lives of these families were powerfully impacted, ensuring a safer future and decent housing, and strengthening existing relations between church and community.
The Gospel in Action
Over one week this summer, 10 members of Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, IL) joined the Puerta del Cielo Church in El Progreso (Santa Ana) to participate with them in the construction of 12 eco-stoves. New friendships emerged and others were strengthened. The community had the opportunity to experienced the testimony of the gospel in action!
Providing Healthier Homes
Broadway Christian Church has worked with Salem Church for three consecutive years. This year they joined the Fe y Gracia Church in its efforts to serve the community of La Labor. The group built nine eco-stoves providing many families with a healthier home and increased income.
Designing a Better Future
A group of six engineers from Cornerstone Church (Orange County, California) visited La Estancia community for five days in order to assist in the design of a new water tank. The current water tank was built 25 years ago to provide water to 70 families. Now the population is 243 families. The increased supply of water is a vital meet the additional 173 families.
Ministering in Las Delicias
In the second week of August, and in its ninth visit to Las Delicias, San Martin, 27 members of The Crossing Church (Newport Beach, CA) joined with Good Samaritan Church in ministering to their community. The team provided a workshop on leadership development for the youth of a local Christian school and two local churches. They also worked hard on the construction of a street in Las Animas, shared with neighborhood children through a development center and provided dental care.
Serving our Neighbors
SeaCoast Grace Church has been walking with the churches of the region in San Jose El Naranjo for 9 years. In recent years, they have stayed at the Villa Esmeralda Hotel in Metalio, from where they traveled to the workplace each day. This year, for the first time the team had the opportunity to stay and work within the community, getting to know the neighbors and how they live. It was an incredible experience that enriched both the 13 members of the group and the community.
One Mission in El Progreso
A team of six people from One Mission came to join the Puerta del Cielo Church and the Community of El Progreso in building an adobe home for a very needy family in this community. The team also visited other families that will receive a new home in the near future.
Building a Better Future: Willow Creek Chicago in El Progreso
From 8 to 15 June 2013, a group of 8 people from Willow Creek Church worked hard to collaborate with the Puerta del Cielo Church on improvements to two classrooms in the local school in El Progreso. Students, teachers, and the principal of the school enjoyed a week getting to know their new friends, working to improve the school and bringing a brighter future.
Labor and Love: Willow Creek Church (Crystal Lake) Serves with the Arca de Dios
For the second time in 2013 Willow Creek Church (Crystal Lake) joined the Arca de Dios Church in its effort to bring transformation in the community of El Ranchador. From June 15 to 22, a 15-member team repaired and renovated two extremely dilapidated homes, ministered to children from the local school, and visited homes, delivering food to needy families. During the week the bonds of friendship between team members, the church and the community were built and strengthened.
Building to the Next Level: Next Level Church Works with Two Salvadoran Churches
From June 2-5 a 12-member team from Next Level Church (Fort Myers, FL) visited El Salvador for the first time and worked alongside the Siloé Church (Sirigual, Morazán) building 9 eco-stoves and caring for the community. Insodoing, the team directly changed the quality of life for 40 people who now can breathe cleaner air and spend less money on wood. The team also ministered to many other local families by bringing them food, listening to their stories and praying with them. Additionally, the team led leadership training for the Getsemaní Church in Pajigua and provided children’s Bibles donated by the ministry of OneHope.
Crossway Christian Church joined the Siloe Church in Sirigual in their tireless work towards a better community. For five days the team was part of the construction of a new home for Florinda Zelaya and her four children. The church and the community are working together in the construction of 25 new homes in the area.
Blessings through medicine, glasses and eco-stoves
Northeast Christian Church in El Espino
Northeast Christian Church from Louisville, Kentucky, sent its first serving team to El Salvador to accompany the Tabernaculo Biblico Salem Church in El Espino. The nine-member team worked at the Miraflores Public School to help prepare the foundation for a perimeter wall which will make the property more secure and safe. The team also enjoyed spending time with community members during home visits and an even had time for an impromptu baseball game.
Water and Hope in San Jacinto
Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois sent their final serving team of 2012 to San Jacinto in the Santa Ana Region. The dedicated six-member team joined Zurisadai Church, helping with a water project and ministering to the people of the community as well. Team member Joy Bork said, “This experience really helped me see how the local church is the hope of the world. Through pairing together with ENLACE and Zurisadai, I was able to be a tangible representation of Christ’s hands and feet in the community of San Jacinto.”
Eight Years and Counting in San Jose El Naranjo
A team from SeaCoast Grace Church in Cypress, California, returned to Nueva Jerusalen Church in San Jose El Naranjo for the 8th consecutive year. From July 22-26, the team, ENLACE staff, along with church and community members, worked together on the construction of 20 latrines which will improve the health of many families in the community.
A Special Bond: The Crossing Church in Las Delicias
The Crossing Church (Costa Mesa, CA) has a very special relationship with Pastor Miguel Duran, El Buen Samaritano Church and the people of Las Delicias. For the past seven years, teams have come to support the ongoing work in this community. The team has watched the church’s influence grow as it has taken on a number of projects and have witnessed Pastor Miguel become both president of the Water Board and superintendent of his denomination. Last year, Pastor Miguel and his congregation partnered with Compassion International to open a development center which now helps 150 children. This year the team helped repair a road, provided dental care, and hosted a variety of ministry events including hosting a group for mothers. Before final celebration, the team challenged students from the private school in a soccer game which has become an annual tradition. After working with Pastor Miguel for so many years, the team feels like they are visiting family when they come to El Salvador, and Las Delicias excitedly welcomes them.
Shared Blessings in La Estancia
“We all thought we would be coming to change peoples lives, but in reality it was quite the opposite, they changed our lives and gave us an experience we will never forget”-Justine Phillips. Service, prayer, faith, were some of the lessons each member of the team could learn during their first mission trip to El Salvador in La Estancia. Despite the fierce heat, every team member did their best to join the church in building a health clinic that will serve around 2000 families, and bringing transformation to an entire community. The strong relationships created during the week impacted the team as well as the community involved in the construction. As Justine said, their lives and the community will never be the same.
Timberline Church: Students Serve Students in El Espino
A dynamic and dedicated group of 13 youth and 4 leaders traveled from Timberline Church in Colorado to spend a week encouraging Pastor Santos and the congregation of Tabernaculo Biblico Salem Church in El Espino. On Sunday, the team presented a children’s ministry workshop for the Sunday School teachers and church leaders of El Espino. The team also taught a few games, which helped break the ice on the first day as everyone played and laughed together. For the rest of the week they joined volunteers from the church and community to help complete the final phase of a perimeter wall for the public school. With so many kids around the work site, team members couldn’t help but join in games of soccer, jump rope, and tag. In addition to participating in the Sunday service, the group also attended a midweek service where many team members shared their testimonies. One of the team leaders, Maura Buckner, shared the great impact of her trip to El Salvador the year before. She recalled the story of how Nuria Reyes, ENLACE Church Coach, told the team that for three years she had been praying for the church that would accompany the church in El Espino and that they were the answer to her prayer. Maura was shocked that someone had been praying for her trip to El Salvador for three years–even before she attended Timberline. She said, “My world expanded that day. My understanding that God is so much bigger, so much more intimate, and so much more in control than I had ever understood…I feel like a little part of my heart is now a part of this church and this community and it is now yours. God so changed my life because of the prayers of people here. People who didn’t know me then but whom I now consider part of my family.” At the end of the week, the team, the school, and church and community members all celebrated with a special dedication. The school’s band played and the students gave the team cards they had made. A note, outlined by a heart, written on the board in a classroom expressed thanks saying, “Thank you for your visit. You will be in our heart. PLEASE PRAY FOR EL SALVADOR. We need it.”
Health and Hope for El Ranchador Part 2
A second group from Willow Creek Crystal Lake came to support and encourage Pastor Francisco Mendoza and The Arca de Dios Church in El Ranchador. The team continued the work started by a group of students from their church in March, assisting the community with the construction of a new medical clinic which will serve 5,000 people. They also visited the nearby Compassion International site sharing a Bible story, songs, and other activities. The week was filled with joy and friendship as the transformation continues in El Ranchador.
Healthier Homes in La Bendición: Willow Creek First Visit to El Salvador
As part of their ongoing partnership in the Santa Ana Region, Willow Creek South Barrington sent a team to serve in La Bendición for the first time. The team worked alongside Cristo Vive Church to build eight eco-stoves which will provide a healthier home environment and reduce expenses for many impoverished families. During the week, the five team members also visited homes identified by the church as most needy bringing food and having a special time of prayer and encouragement. The team’s enthusiasm, friendship and hard work motivated the local church and its members to press on and continue to preach the gospel, not merely with words but through action and service.
Willow Chicago Paves the Way to El Progreso
A team from Willow Creek Chicago traveled to rural western El Salvador to serve with Puerta del Cielo Church in El Progreso for the second time. Despite a recent transition in leadership, Pastor Orlando Majano has only been there two months, the relationship between the churches remained strong. The team helped repair the main road in the community and brought great joy to the people of El Progreso.
New Life Church: Work, Passion and Dedication
New Life Church from Exeter, California joined Principe de Paz Church in Santa María during the last week of June bringing change, hope and transformation to the community. On their fifth visit, 11 members from New Life Church worked alongside the church and community to build a mitigation wall. Their hard work, passion, and dedication to serve the local church with their talents and abilities has brought new life to the community and a safer neighborhood.
Vineyard Christian Church 2012: Hope and New Life for San Jacinto
Vineyard Christian Church from Pataskala, Ohio has worked alongside Zurisadai Church in San Jacinto since 2006. During during their fifth visit to the region, they supported the work of the church in its effort to give shelter to one of the most vulnerable families identified by the church and community. Through this housing project, the church has further strengthened relationships with the community and also ties of friendship with the Vineyard Church who collaborated in the building of a home for Rosa Estrada, her daughter and six grandchildren. During her six days working with the community in San Jacinto, Vineyard Church members also directed activities for the church, men and children, and visited eight homes to those in need of food and prayer.
Vineyard Christian Church 2012: Hope And New Life For San Jacinto
Inauguration of Houses in Pajigua: Uncountable Blessings
On May 24 Getsemani Church in Pajigua, the community and its leaders held a dedication for 25 homes that were built over a six-month period. The project not only provided safe and secure homes for 136 people, but also provided an opportunity for the church and community to collaborate and to bear witness the movement of God in Pajigua.
Talent in God’s hands = This is love
Give Prints is a for-profit company which donates 50% of its profits to various non-profits. Recently, when Give Prints founder, Cristina Robeck wanted to make an even greater impact, she decided to share talent not just profits. She assembled a team, called Give Media, which consisted of two photographers, two videographers, a media consultant, and a writer. They traveled to El Salvador to artistically capture ENLACE’s work and support the ENLACE Communications Department. We are grateful for the team’s passion, dedication, willingness to share their knowledge, and the way God spoke into their lives during their time in El Salvador.
Broadway Christian Church Caminando Juntos in El Espino
Broadway Christian Church, from Columbia, Missouri, continued “Caminando Juntos” (walking together) with the Tabernaculo Biblico Salem Church in El Espino. The team shared friendship and laughter with the church and community as they built a new home and visited families with special needs. The team also had the opportunity to help with the home garden project in a neighboring community. These churches share a special relationship that continues to deepen each time Broadway visits.
A New Road to Transformation in El Ranchador
In 2008, community leaders in El Ranchador decided the bridge that provides the only access to the community desperately needed to be replaced. They struggled, however, to get the project off the ground until leaders from the Arca de Dios Church joined them. Together, the church and community worked to fundraise and design the project. At one point, divisions within the Community Association threatened the project and leaders called Pastor Francisco to help mediate a resolution. On May 8, members of El Ranchador, the Community Association, the mayor, and ENLACE staff celebrated the bridge which not only provides safe passage, but also represents a bridge of restored relationships.
CrossWay Christian Church Visit Sirigual
The centerpiece of ENLACE’s mission is to help and support local churches in El Salvador as they engage effectively in service with their impoverished communities. Building and renewing relationships between each other and God, therefore, is at the heart of what we do. ENLACE’s Church Partnership Program broadens that relationship building as it joins U.S. and Salvadoran churches in long-term partnerships that equip the local church to fulfill God’s plan of wholeness for its community. Along with helping a poor church reach out to its neighbors, U.S. partners that send teams to El Salvador experience first-hand the transformation that is taking place. They often return home with a renewed sense of who they are in Christ and who they are to their immediate and global neighbors. Recently, CrossWay Christian Church, a U.S. partner church, sent its second team to meet and serve alongside churches in the Abelines region. Together with home recipients and church leaders, the team helped to build two homes. The week was full of laughter and friendship that spurred both partners to continue forward in the work to which God has called them.
Spring Break 2012: Health and Hope for El Ranchador
Another group of students from Willow Creek Community Church came to El Salvador for Spring Break. The team from the Crystal Lake campus spent the week with The Arca de Dios Church in El Ranchador helping begin construction for a new medical clinic. The team ministered to children in the community by visiting a Compassion International site and challenging students from the public school in a soccer game. They served with joy as they took part in the ongoing transformation of El Ranchador.
Spring Break 2012: Students Serve in San Jacinto
A group of high school students from Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL, came to El Salvador to spend their Spring Break serving with Zurisadai Church in San Jacinto. They helped build a storm drain to prevent dangerous flooding during rainy season and painted a recently constructed water tank. The team also enjoyed eating mango everyday, playing with kids, and visiting the homes returning members helped build last year. The team continued building the relationships from last year and formed new friendships as well.
Unity and Fellowship Bring Transformation to Pajigua
On a hot February afternoon, the community of Pajigua celebrated the realization of a dream four years in the making. As part of a project to improve the local public school’s infrastructure, the Getsemaní Church, the school and the Community Association worked together to build two new rooms for preschool students. Before the church became involved in the project, the school had been tirelessly working to expand and renovate but to no avail. The church uniting with the community, however, proved to be the necessary impetus to achieve success. At the inauguration, the community, students, Community Associations from two other hamlets, and a team from Crossway Christian Church gathered to thank God for the new addition. Joy and excitement filled the air because the classrooms guarantee a new and better future not just for the children who will soon attend school in these rooms, but for a whole community that will also enjoy deeper, more meaningful relationships.
Celebrating Transformation In San Jacinto
On February 22, people gathered at the Zurisadai Church in San Jacinto, to celebrate a recently completed housing project. Church and community members, workers and ENLACE staff joined 29 families to thank God for the blessing of new homes, which were constructed during the final months of 2011. The celebration united the church and community as they continue to build relationships and transform San Jacinto.
Thy Kingdom Come: The Gateway Church's First Visit to El Salvador
A team from The Gateway Church in Des Moines, Iowa, traveled to El Salvador for the first time to spend the week of March 3-10 with Pastor Marta Vaquerano, her church Palabra de Poder and the community of Anemona. Their task was to help build tilapia tanks, but from the very beginning the team was just as focused on building relationships and connecting with the community. While making great advances toward finishing tilapia ponds, the group also held a children’s program and brought food and encouragement to the poorest families in Anemona. Both the team and the community eagerly await Gateway’s next trip.
Crossway Christian Church Brings Blessing: First of Three Mission Teams
Between February 25 and March 3, 14 members of Crossway Christian Church (New Hampshire, USA) joined Getsemaní Church, located in the village of Pajigua in eastern El Salvador, to bring two families new homes and an entire community renewed hope. The group helped build the homes and also participated in the inauguration of the public school’s two new classrooms, which will allow 150 new students to attend school every year. They brought encouragement and food through home visits to single mothers and elderly women. They formed a strong bond with the community. Two more teams from Crossway will return this year to continue supporting the work of the local church in the region.
Serving with Love and Sacrifice: Meadowbrook Team February 2012
Last week, 20 members from Meadowbrook Community Church in Champaign, IL came to El Salvador, many returning for the seventh time. They worked on two different projects with the Principe de Paz Church in Santa Maria. Eleven team members worked at a health clinic caring for over 600 patients. The remaining nine team members helped dig the foundation for a retaining wall that will prevent erosion and landslides. Throughout the week they worked extremely hard side-by-side with local church and community members to serve the residents of Santa Maria.
Pastors and Leaders Retreat 2011
On December 1-3, 110 pastors and church leaders joined the ENLACE staff for the Annual Pastors and Leaders Retreat. Leaders with diverse backgrounds and experiences traveled from all over the country to participate. The theme of this year’s retreat was “Renewing Our Communities” and the retreat afforded these pastors, who work tirelessly throughout the year, a chance to be rejuvenated. Pastors took the time to better understand God’s vision for their communities, to form friendships with other churches, and to recommit, with renewed strength of vision, to transforming their communities through serving their neighbors. When all was said and done, they celebrated the culmination of God’s great work in 2011.
Pasarela Inauguration in Comecayo!
November 10th, Nueva Jerusalem Church and the Comecayo community celebrated the long awaited and newly finished pedestrian bridge (or pasarela in Spanish). The bridge allows people to safely cross the Pan-American highway at the intersection of two schools and the church. Given the heavy traffic and high speeds, several accidents and deaths resulted from people trying to cross the street. The collaboration of the local church, local governement, and the schools created new relationships, unity, and transformation in Comecayo.
Global Leadership Summit in El Salvador
The Global Leadership Summit, hosted by the Willow Creek Association, is a two-day leadership conference held throughout the year in countries all over the world. Its mission is ”to transform Christian leaders around the world with an injection of vision, skill development, and inspiration for the sake of the local church.” The summit has grown to over 75 countries, over 30 languages, and serves more than 100,000 leaders. This year, ENLACE coordianted with the Willow Creek Association to help host the event in El Salvador, one of 18 summits in Central America and Mexico. All of the ENLACE staff attended as well as several of the pastors with whom we partner. Each participant was challenged, inspired, and motivated to become effective leaders in the place God has them.
The torrential rains and subsequent flooding from October 9th through October 20th led to the death of 33 people from landslides, the evacuation of 35,000 people from their homes, the loss of bridges and roads and enormous destruction of agricultural crops. The Salvadoran government declared the floods to be one of the worst disasters in the country’s history. Since the beginning of the storms, ENLACE has supported the efforts of our local church partners. Monte Horeb Church, an ENLACE partner since 2010, lost almost an entire church family buried in a landslide. The church has been caring for the small child who survived and multiple other families who were displaced from their homes. ENLACE has helped Monte Horeb Church, as well as other churches, serve their communities by providing food, basic supplies, medicines, mattresses and blankets for displaced and affected families.
Broadway Comes to El Salvador!
A team of seven members from Broadway Christian Church in Columbia, MO came to El Salvador October 22-29 to begin a partnership with the region of San Pedro Perulapan and join the efforts of Tabernáculo Bíblico Salem Church. Together both churches discovered opportunities for friendship and support, especially in their internal ministries that assist people with special needs. Along with helping to build a home for a community members Gaby and her family and construct a perimetrer wall for the local school, the team forged bonds of friendship that will continue to encourage the local church and inspire more transformation in the region of San Pedro Perulapan.
Home Gardens in Anemona, San Martin
Anemona is a shanty town located just outside the capital of San Salvador in the municipality of San Martin. Its residents, who have migrated there over the last 25 years (originally due to the civil war in the 1980s and now due to the search for jobs in the capital), are extremely poor and experience gang violence on a daily basis. The makeshift-turned-permanent dwellings (often made of tin, plastic and cardboard) are crammed between the Panamerican highway and old railroad tracks. Nevertheless, a local church and its pastor, Marta Vaquerano, are growing hope in a community more familiar with desperation than tomatoes.
Willow Creek Church Builds Homes and Friendships in San Jacinto
A group of volunteers from Willow Creek Church in Chicago came to build relationships with the people of San Jacinto and construct two adobe homes, supporting the current efforts of the local church to serve those in need in the community. Their presence was not only a great service to those who needed a home but also a great encouragement to the local church as it continues to walk with their neighbors on a road toward transformation.
Building Relationship in El Ranchador
During their last visit, Willow Creek Church from Barrington, Illinois experienced a special relationship with the Arca de Dios Church in El Ranchador. For five days, the five members of the team met people from the community, helped with the work of the local church at the Integral Development Center, and brought bags of basic food to families in dire need. They also started the construction of three cement block homes which served to strengthen the work of the church and its vision to provide secure homes to families in need.
Achieving Transformational Goals through New Homes in El Espino
By working with ENLACE over the years on smaller to bigger projects, the Tabernáculo Biblico Salem Church has steadily increased its ability to manage projects on their own. The church is now at a point to accomplish projects that were once just future possibilities. This is due to the church leaders’ ongoing commitment to learning the process of transformation: listening to God and walking with their community toward sustainable change. Pastor Santos estimates that nearly half of the members of the church are actively at work in El Espino. He says, “God has shown us that our community is an open field in which to work and each member must help in the work that God has entrusted to us.” Pastor Santos feels that they are achieving those early hopes and dreams, especially through the housing initiative in which 24 families from three hamlets received new homes. In this way, the local church has become a strong and engaging witness to God’s desire to heal and bring peace to the poor.
Witnesses of God's Mercy!
Vineyard Church from Pataskala, Ohio returned to support Zurisadai Church in San Jacinto this year. In 2010, during their first visit to the region, they joined the work of the church to help construct a retaining wall which prevents landslides along one of the area’s main roads. This year, they supported the local church in its effort to give shelter to one of the 25 families that the church and community identified as being the most vulnerable. Through this housing project, the church has further strengthened relationships with the community and also ties of friendship with the Vineyard Church who collaborated in the building of a home for Jose Marroquin and his family. While in San Jacinto, Vineyard Church members also helped move materials for another housing recipient, directed activities for the community’s women and children, hosted a marriage seminar, and visited homes to those in need of food and prayer.
Two groups from Seacoast Grace Church in California came to the region of Ahuachapan to work hard and create friendships with the Nueva Jerusalen Church in San José El Naranjo and Voz Que Clama en el Desierto Church in San Antonio En Medio. The first team repaired more than 300 feet of a steep road that had been prone to mudslides and endangered the lives of pedestrians and motorists. The second team completed digging almost 300 feet along the community’s main road. When finished, the water channels will prevent road erosion, keeping the road safe and clear. Not only do these projects generate safety and more opportunities for agriculture and other economic activities, but they also help the local church reach out to their neighbors in ways that create profound connections and long-term transformation.
When God Acts Through Us, We Can Do Great Things
The local church, together with four neighboring communities, worked hard over the past six years in order to construct a bridge that would provide a safer river crossing and improved school attendance during the rainy season. This is the third bridge built in the area and helps 422 students and 1,776 residents in five different communities. This project also has provided an opportunity to increase community organization skills, unity between the church and community, and above all, lasting ties that will encourage future collaboration in Abelines. Along with forging new friendships and bringing safety to the area, residents will experience the economic improvements that come with better access to local markets and education.
A Church is More Than a Building
The Miraflores Public School is one of the only public institutions that exists in the area of El Espino. For years, the school’s only security was a wire mesh fence tethered by concrete posts. This substandard security left students, teachers, and the infrastructure itself exposed to outside disruptions such as animals, passersby, and gang members. Since 2008, the need for a perimeter wall has been a priority to the administration, parents, and community members. Stregthened by their work with ENLACE and the newfound confidence in their ability to transform their community through cooperation, Tabernáculo Biblico Salem Church partnered with the local community association and the councillor of San Pedro Perulapán to work on this project. Timberline Community Church from Fort Collins, Colorado came twice this year and was an integral part of the first stage of this project. They helped build the wall and supported local health initiatives by bringing a short-term medical team.
24th Street, Santa María
A year ago, Príncipe de Paz church began to help organize its community to address the problem of eroding roads in their community of Santa Maria in San Martin. The road conditions had gotten so bad that safety during the rainy season was a chief concern to all who lived in the area. Príncipe de Paz church successfully motivated neighbors and the local government to work together to solve their problem. But they still needed more help. New Life Church from Exeter, California and students from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA, volunteered. The road was dramatically improved providing safety and a better quality of life for hundreds of people. The impact that the improved road has made in the community has been a result of restored relationships, authentic local and international teamwork, and a closeness between the church and its community. The pastor and his congregation now have an opportunity to express in very concrete terms the “good news” of the gospel.
Willow Creek Chicago visit El Salvador
A group of volunteers from Willow Creek Church in Chicago came to build relationships with the people of El Progreso and construct two adobe homes, supporting the current efforts of the local church to serve those in need in its community. Their presence was not only a great service to those who needed a home but also a great encouragement to the local church as it continues to walk with their neighbors on a road toward transformation.
Willow Creek Youth Visit El Salvador
A group of young volunteers from Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago came to help the Zurisadai Church build homes for local residents of San Jacinto. They arrived with many language and cultural barriers. After a week of team work, dancing, playing, crying, and praying together, they left with many barriers broken and powerful examples of God’s love. The youth group brought energy, excitement, and encouragement to the Zurisadai Church and the community of San Jacinto, while receiving a clearer picture of what God has called His Church to be–a place of love, a source of a light, and a spring of hope and healing for its neighbors.
Willow Creek Crystal Lake Visits El Ranchador
Volunteers from Willow Creek Church Crystal Lake in Chicago spent a week this summer building relationships with the people in El Ranchador and constructing two cement block homes. Their work provided an incredible support to the local church as it continues to reach out to the neediest in their community through a variety of projects.
El Espino Housing Initiative
The opportunity to build 25 block houses in El Espino, Miraflores and Limon communities was an amazing time to show how important it is to work together as a community in order to build cooperation. Pastor Santos said: “I feel happy and fulfilled for the happiness families are experiencing. This is one of my goals, to bring blessings to the families in our community, because now they see the church as an agent of development, as friends, and they trust us now…” The local church leaders and community members helped to coordinate the construction of houses that drastically improved the quality of life for 125 people in this region.
Life Transformation Through Micro-loans
Since 1996, ENLACE (through sister organization CREDATEC) has helped to start or expand over 1,000 small businesses by providing credit and training to micro-entrepreneurs. We believe that financial coaching is just as important as the actual loan and emphasize its importance to our members. The training and coaching is given to all of our diverse clients, from single mothers and small-scale merchants to pastors and even church leaders, and it is provided throughout the term of the loan. Entrepreneurs have found great success and the number of CREDATEC clients grows every year. Just this year, 23 new clients have been added to the list of hardworking entrepreneurs whose lives have been transformed through micro-loans in El Salvador.
Meadowbrook Continues Impacting San Martin
Since 2004, Meadowbrook Community Church has come to El Salvador on six occasions, five of which were to work alongside the Good Samaritan Church in San Martin. This year was no exception and 7 of the 15 team members came for the first time. The group also served a new ENLACE church partner, the Prince of Peace Church in Santa Maria. They brought a medical team, as well as a work crew to help repair the road in front of the church in Las Delicias. The week was filled with love, joy, enthusiasm, and a passion to serve El Salvador.
New Houses in Sirigual
In El Salvador, 32% of household heads are women (UNDP 2004). In the small hamlet of Sirigual, near Abelines, this statistic is exemplified in the lives of three poor women: Miriam, Olga, and Josefa. Each of these women have struggled for years to provide for their families. However, the local church is striving to break the pattern of poverty that has marked their lives by providing a home for each of their families. These homes will mean more than a dry place to sleep at night; The homes signify the beginning of a new life full of joy, dignity and hope.
Pastors and Leaders Retreat 2010
For the past seven years, ENLACE has hosted an annual retreat for the pastors and leaders of our partnering churches. This year nearly 140 men, women, and youth shared in activities, fellowship, and an enthusiasm for learning to “Lead Like Jesus,” which was chosen as this year’s theme. For the first time, the partnering pastors led several of the workshops and their powerful example reflected the choice they have made to be servant leaders, impacting their communities in a significant way.
El Triunfo's First Medical Team
A medical team from the Church at Briargate spent 5 days and 4 nights in El Triunfo, located in the department of San Miguel. Working with two medical doctors from El Salvador, and bringing a pediatrician, an optometrist, an EMT, a nurse, and an assistant, they saw over 360 patients who came for consultations, medications, and glasses. Far from their home in Colorado Springs, the team spent their nights away from home in a community without clean water or electricity, but they left with new friendships, lessons in gratitude, and a new-found peace they received from the community members in El Triunfo.
The Hope Harvest in La Loma
Over 500,000 people in El Salvador struggle with malnutrition and hunger every year. A home garden is the most effective solution to this problem. In the past two years ENLACE has helped plant more than 350 home gardens, and we plan to help start at least 400 new home gardens next year! Your donation, no matter how small, helps ENLACE give training and supplies to church and community members all over El Salvador who desire to feed their families and generate income through home gardens and small businesses.
Covenant Family Fellowship in San Antonio
“My first trip, I knew that what was happening was exciting but I could not exactly see the big picture. My second trip, it began to make sense and I became familiar with the community and some of the people. This year, my third trip, I can honestly say that I see the transformation in the people and the community.” -George Thebarge of Covenant Family Fellowship Church
New Homes in El Ranchador
The opportunity to build 25 block houses in El Ranchador and El Jordan Communities was an amazing time to show how important it is to work together as a community in order to build cooperation. The local church leaders and community members helped to coordinate the construction of houses that drastically improved the quality of life for 91 people in this region.
Paving the way to Better Relationship
ENLACE aims to encourage, equip and accompany churches through the process of becoming effective agents of change in their communities. The Principe de Paz Church in San Martin is one church that is paving the way to transformed relationships in its community.
SeaCoast Grace Church in El Salvador!
SeaCoast Grace Church from Cypress, California continues to have a incredible impact in El Salvador by maintaining an ongoing relationship with the churches and communities in the San Jose El Naranjo region. This year, two teams came and partnered with the Voz Que Clama en el Desierto church in San Antonio to dig water channels and plant hundreds of trees. This reforestation initiative is vital in order to preserve the community’s primary water source for years to come.
Project Milagro 4th Phase Inauguration
Beneath the shade of trees in Las Delicias, hundreds of community members as well as ENLACE staff and local government representatives gathered to celebrate the newest milestone for Project Milagro: the completion of the fourth of seven stages necessary to bring clean water to thousands in the communities of Las Delicias, Las Animas and El Rosario. The initiative has seen much progress in 2010 with the completion of an additional distribution tank, installation of the main pumps, testing of the first 3 km of piping and a filtration system. The church and community members are motivated and committed to see their milagro become a reality.
Building a Healthy Future While Building Relationships
On their third visit to El Salvador, New Life AG of Exeter, California worked on latrine initiatives in the community of Las Animas. The two families that received latrines were excited about this step toward a healthy future and grateful for the meaningful friendships that were created this week.
Vineyard in San Jacinto, Santa Ana
Vineyard Christian Church on her second visit to El Salvador. “This trip,” a member of the team explained, “was more about relationships. It was a perfect mix of work and being with the people.”
El Ranchador Housing Initiative
Representatives of the 25 families who will benefit from the new houses in El Ranchador gathered to listen to the church and community leaders as they told the crowd about their new homes.
Success Stories with Micro-Loans
Success stories from ENLACE’s credit program (through sister organization CREDATEC) in the San Martin area. A donation of $100 will be leant nearly 30 times in the next 15 years totaling more than $1,500 of credit for ambitious entrepreneurs in El Salvador.
Visit to Santa Ana
It was a wonderful time with Pastor Rafael, Pastor Mauricio and their families. It is amazing to hear their testimonies and see their example of leadership and service as they impact thousands.
Water Flowing to First Milagro Tank!
May 25 was a day of great joy for the communities of Las Delicias, Las Animas and El Rosario! The goal for the day was to test the main water line and all the components of the system involved in bringing water from the well site to the first distribution tank in El Rosario. Dozens of community members and ENLACE staff were on hand. When the water arrived at the tank there was a great celebration applause, shouts of joy filling the hearts of the community members with the encouragement and motivation necessary to continue with the three final stages of Project Milagro.
Joni and Friends in El Salvador
In November 2009, Joni Eareckson Tada visited El Salvador with her ministry to partner with ENLACE and other local organizations. 20 families participated in a family retreat; 8 pastors received training, 10 custom wheelchairs were distributed, and the local universities met to explore providing courses to equip leaders to reach the disabled.
Disaster Response Photos
Churches that ENLACE works with responded to help 150 families affected by the rains of Hurricane Ida.
More Ida Damage Photos
First hand pictures of damage in various communities ENLACE works with.
November Rain Damage in Las Delicias
The community of Las Declicias and surrounding areas were hit hard by the recent rains caused by Hurricane Ida. Here is some of the damage.
Damage Caused by Hurricane Ida rains
El Salvador experienced disastrous rains causing damage in three main areas of the country.
Los Abelines Interviews
ENLACE began working in Los Abelines region in 2000 with the Cornerstone Church in Abelines Community. Since that time, this small church has made amazing progress. In addition to many other initiatives, they formed an active health committee, are managing a health clinic, installed hundreds of latrines, built pedestrian bridges, and implemented a clean water project serving thousands of people. Over the past two years, more than 10 churches in the region have also expressed interest in working with ENLACE, desiring to get involved in community transformation. We recently took a few days to ask some members of these new churches what their experience has been like.
The Crossing in Las Delicias 2009
The Crossing Church came down this week to help build a protective wall around a pump station, (rebombeo #1) and serve the community in a number of ways including dentist services, women’s Bible studies, and free haircuts.
Briargate Church in Comecayo 2009
The mission team from Briargate Church in Colorado Springs visited the community of Comecayo, where they helped paint a school and in the evenings facilitated an Alpha training seminar at Iglesia Nueva Jerusalen (New Jerusalem Church), a local church and ENLACE partner. Alpha is a community outreach and education program that equips the church to engage new-comers and to serve new-believers. One Hundred church leaders from Comecayo and the surrounding area attended the evening seminars. Iglesia Nueva Jerusalen (New Jerusalem Church) is a beautiful, newly constructed and growing 1000 member church. The church, mobilized by Pastor Rafael and an impressive body of church leaders, is emerging as a powerful agent of change, whose heart for service has become a unifying and healing force in the community.
Sea Coast Grace Church in San Antonio 2009
The mission team from Sea Coast Grace church in California visited the community of San Antonio, where they helped build a water tank, delivered food to families in need, and distributed 600 hats to school children and community members.
Sea Coast Grace Church in San Antonio 2009
The mission team from the First Assemblies of God Church in Orange Country, California visited the community of San Jose El Naranjo (SJEN), where they helped build a sidewalk and a road. These were preliminary and mandated projects that will make way for the construction of a new government-funded steel bridge. The government’s decision to invest $80,000 dollars (the cost of the new bridge) to improve infrastructure in SJEN has resulted from local development initiatives and has been viewed as a major victory by church and community leaders. The new bridge will benefit 3000 community members.
Orange County First Assemblies of God Church 2009
In June the Children’s Health International Medicine Project of Seattle, CHIMPS, arrived for its annual medical trip to Abelines, a remote, rural village in El Salvador’s northeastern mountains. Since 2003, groups of doctors, pediatricians and medical students from Washington have collaborated with ENLACE to support its ongoing efforts in this region.
CHIMPS Medical Team 2009
In 2008, multiple churches in the Abelines region combined forces to create a housing committee and managed an initiative that benefitted 22 families so far. By June, 2009 they will construct an additional 11 homes and hope to continue the project.
Abelines Housing Recipients
First Ditches Dug for Project Milagro
Trip to Cerro Cacahuatique (Abelines)
2008 Pastors and Leaders Retreat
South Hills Corona
Faith Christian Fellowship
Church at Briargate
Seacoast Grace Church
River West Vision Trip
STOA Eye Clinic
First Assembly Fort Wayne in San Jose El Naranjo
Medical team from Colorado visits Abelines
Visalia First Assembly visits El Salvador
Oak Hills Church from Minnesota visits Las Delicias
Newsong Church collaborates in Las Delicias water project
Union Church of San Salvador supports El Tinteral with mitigation work
Faith Christian Fellowship visits Las Delicias
Pupusa eating contest in Las Delicias
ENLACE staff enjoyed a saturday afternoon “pupusiada” hosted by the las delicias church and community leaders. the two winners (israel and evelyn) both ate 15 pupusas!