Two small, rural churches in El Salvador are making a huge impact in their communities. They are listening to their neighbors, walking with them and helping to create sustainable projects that alleviate poverty. The very humble congregations are installing tilapia farms, planting home gardens, building eco-stoves all the while demonstrating God's love in both word and deed. You can join this momentum and change lives in radical and life-giving ways!
The ENLACE staff in El Salvador surprised the Bueno Family with a video of appreciation during the 20th Anniversary Gala. The Buenos were incredibly moved by this and especially loved the soccer-cheer at the end! Ole!
ENLACE began in 1993 and is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. We have grown from a staff of three to over 50 in El Salvador and the U.S., and from one church to over 70 churches in 120 communities serving 125,000 people...and counting. We are so appreciative of all the pastors, leaders, community members, missionary volunteers, Salvadoran staff and donors like you! Thank you for making our first 20 years absolutely amazing!
Our long-time friend and advocate, Bill Manwarren, was one of the first supporters of ENLACE. He, his wife Marilyn, and friends, Hal and Juanita Adams, gave $1450 to the first cohort of entrpreneurs in the credit program in 1996. Over the years they have leveraged over 2 million dollars of impact for impoverished communities in El Salvador.
Antonia and María Trinidad are two hard-working and courageous women living in El Triunfo, El Salvador. Like many other rural women, their lives have not been easy; the long days of working in the sun are etched on their faces. Making ends meet for themselves and their children means farming, cooking, cleaning, gathering wood and hauling water every day.
Antonia, has four children. Elmer is 11 years old and attends school. Jefferson Isaias and Jefferson David (eight-year-old twins) remain home with little sister, Keiry who is seven. Their father has long since left the family and they survive from what Antonia can make farming, which is about $5 a day.
Similarly, Maria Trinidad (photo) is a single mother raising two children, Jaqueline (13) and Eldi (10). Maria Trinidad has raised them on her own since they were very young. She works from sun up to sun down trying to make ends meet.
The dwellings that both families lived in were terribly run down. During the rainy season there was always a strong fear that the houses would collapse. The daub and wattle was so old that the walls would crumble at a mere touch. The rusty aluminum sheets and plastic roof provided little in the way of protection from small animals and the rain.
As ENLACE helped the local church work with community leaders to respond to the needs in their community, the need for adequate housing was identified as well as possible beneciaries. These two women and their children were among the first on the list. Many members of the church live in similar situations but they were excited that they could show God's love to their neighbors who were living with such extreme need. Both women worked alongside the church volunteers as their new homes were built and they established new and deep friendships.
Antonia and Maria Trinidad were so appreciative that even though they are not part of the church, they have joined the church team that is creating an eco-stove project with the community. This development of friendship and connection has dramatically changed Antonia and Maria’s experience of life and the possibilities for their children. Truly, a home is more than a home!
(Antonia and Maria are just two of the many beneficiaries to receive new homes in El Triunfo. A complete picture gallery is coming soon!)
Projects such as these wouldn't be possible without ENLACE walking alongside the church and community providing technical assistance and support. Click here and Let Your Light Shine this holiday season by making a donation to families like Antonia and Maria's!
In rural El Salvador, the lack of income-generating opportunities make it a huge challenge for many men to remain rooted to their locality and to their families. Other challenges such as the lack of education and health care along with poor access to nutritious food sources, create situations of chronic stress and anxiety.They often have to leave their homes to find work in a city or in other countries. Many men, unable to provide for their dependents, leave the family altogether.
Some, like José, turn to alcohol as a way to escape these realities. José, now 33, described his life as a “lake of sadness” wherein he smothered his despair in alcohol. His dependency grew and despite being a part of a loving family, he believed there was no hope for him. Out of desperation in mid-2011, he reached out to Mauricio, a pastor of a local church to ask for prayer. Mauricio and his congregation welcomed him in with open arms, and José, finding in the church a place of refuge, ceased drinking.
Soon after, a church member and neighbor invited José to join him in a home garden project that ENLACE had helped the church to start. Since José had no land and no consistent way to provide food for his family, José joined the project with gratitude and hope. For the last two years, José has not only planted and harvested a variety of nutritious vegetables with his neighbor, he’s remained sober and become a leader of an another ENLACE development project where he teaches community members how to build and use eco-stoves.
The story of José and the Cristo Vive church is not an isolated one; in fact, all over El Salvador rural churches are straining towards their communities, desiring to minister effectively to their neighbors. ENLACE is currently walking alongside over 69 churches which are transforming the lives of thousands. These churches are reaching out to their neighbors through home garden, eco-stove, home building and community safety projects, meeting both physical the spiritual needs.
A growing number of churches in the poorest regions of the world are doing the impossible!: They are reversing the conditions of poverty and bringing renewal to their neighbors. Become part of the Momentum Builder Team! For just $200 a month for two years ENLACE can take on one more church in one more community!
Before the installation of her eco-stove, Alicia would have to visit a health clinic every week because of respiratory problems. Now she enjoys cooking for her family again.
Nohemy's entire family used to get sick from the smoke from the open cooking fire they used to cook in their home. With the eco-stove, now their home is a healthy place to gather.
The Abelines region in El Salvador is one of the poorest in the world. More than two thirds of the population live in extreme poverty. But local churches have inspired amazing change! The daily lives of thousands of people have been transformed. Watch this short video to see the miracles!
Cooking with wood on open fires inside their homes has caused illness, deforestation and loss of income in poor communities around the world. A $200 eco-stove is a simple and appropriate technology solution that directly addresses these problems in El Salvador. ENLACE works with local churches, helping to train leaders to serve those of greatest risk and need in their communities. You can help a family breathe easier and live longer by giving to the Cooking Up Love campaign!