Construction work in Santa María has been a growth opportunity for the Church, for ENLACE, and for the community leaders, reflecting a dynamic, unifying process. Gerson Ramirez, Church Coach
For years, the Santa María neighborhood located in the region of San Martin lamented the terrible condition of its main street. During the rainy season, torrents of water endangered their lives of both young children and older residents. Addtionally, the lack of proper drainage created standing water that resulted in mosquito infestation and putrid odors. Even so, years passed and the road continued to deteroriate. Solving the problem seemd too expensive and difficult for a poor community like Santa María.
In 2010, however, Principe de Paz members decided to take a leap of faith and change their community. After receiving training and coaching from ENLACE, the church led an effort that leveraged the participation of community residents, the support of the mayor's office and two international mission teams.
In the second stage the road was completed with gravel and paving. The church hosted students from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa and members of New Life Church in Exeter (both in California). These missions teams gave Pastor Santiago and his leaders more than just greatly needed materials and labor; it empowered them and gave them more confidence that led to closer relationships with their neighbors.
“Our work is more than building a road; It is really building a community. For us that means having a long-term relationship with ENLACE in El Salvador, where we can work as a family and even as a church to make the biggest impact possible for a single community or a single region”. Cristina Robeck, Advisory board ENLACE USA, Vanguard University Team leader.
By the end of the first stage, the church had overseen the construction of 500 meters of storm gutters. The process, however, according to Pastor Santiago, wasn't alwasys easy. "I remeber the day that we had our first meeting with community representatives, and I told them that it was necessary to work together...to construct the road...We had problems [and] got discouraged. Some wanted to quit during the first stage. I told them , 'I won't quit the project... (but) I can't do this alone. If you work along with me we can do great things."
In the second stage, the road was completed with gravel and paving. The church hosted students from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa and members of New Life Church in Exeter (both in California). These mission teams gave Pastor Santiago and his leaders more than just greatly needed materials and labor; it empowered them and gave them more confidence that led to closer relationships with their neighbors.
According to Pastor Santiago, “...this project represents a great triumph...[the church] now [has] become closer to the people in the community. And people are not shy anymore to come to church...I like how they now see us.”