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 of many churches paving the way to transformed communities in El Salvador.
María Gladis Valladares has lived on 24th Street in the neighborhood of San María for more than 14 years. Over the years Maria and her neighbors have experienced countless difficulties due to the horrific condition of their street. The youngest and oldest community members are most effected and rarely attempt to walk during or after a rain storm because of the great torrents of water that cut through the dirt street. Many areas of the street do not have proper drainage and the storms leave behind stagnant water that breeds insects and causes foul odors. The street has been detoriating in its condition for many years and community members have been actively looking for ways to fix the road for more than a decade.
Santiago Alfaro, pastor of Principe de Paz in Santa Maria, has become well-known to his neighbors. When Don Santiago, as the community respectfully calls him, announced that his church would collaborate with the Community Association, the mayor's office and ENLACE donors to finally fix 24th street, the community was thrilled. As Maria explains,
“It is Don Santiago who has been working hard in all of this. We all want to see the street repaired and our community improved. That is why I decided to volunteer with the Community Association. This is a great opportunity to bring improvement to our community."
Gerson Ramirez, ENLACE's church coach in the region, explains the importance of the church making positive connections with its community. “For years the community and the church said this initiative was impossible because they didn’t have any help from the mayor’s office. But when they decided to work together to manage the initiative and went back to the mayor’s office as an entire community, they found open doors and a quick answer. They consider it a miracle from God."
Maria Valladares and other community members are excited now that the first stage of the process is nearly complete. This stage consists of more than 500 meters of cement drainage as well as the construction of septic tank. Nearly 60 percent of this first stage was financed by the local government entities. The remainder was supplied by the local church and ENLACE. Maria, Pastor Santiago and the entire community are eagerly awaiting the completion of such an important initiative that will significantly improve the quality of life on 24th Street.