The Crossing Church (Costa Mesa, CA) has a very special relationship with Pastor Miguel Durán, 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.
Entries in Housing and Infrastructure Projects (22)
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.
Until recently, Maria Francisca Santos (63), lived in a tiny mud dwelling with her two daughters and their children. One of her daughters, Ana Julia (40), is extremely sick and cannot walk. After having to undergo hernia surgery, Maria was unable to continue running a soap business that brought her $25 per month, let alone address the problems associated with a dilapidated home. As a result, Maria began to cultivate corn and beans just to provide basic sustenance for herself and her family.
It was in this situation that Maria had a dream that she would soon live in a new home. Three days later she received the news from the local church that indeed she was on their list to receive a newly built house. According to Maria, whose countenance now exudes a light that she attributes to gratitude, leaving behind the old, crumbling home to live in a new, safe one is “a wonderful blessing from God.”
All her life, Teodolinda Santos (42) has wanted to love, serve and enjoy her life with her family. At one point, she had eight children, a husband, and brothers and sisters. The dream collapsed after her husband left her and one child died. She was forced to live off the begrudging charity of a brother, who allowed her to live in a small shack on his land. Her sadness was compounded when one of her daughters left home and chose not to return.
When the church wanted to build her a new home, the issue of land ownership became an impediment. Teodolinda thought this great opportunity would crumble like the walls of the mud hut she lived in. However, ENLACE Church Coach, Julio Figueroa, invited her to pray with him for a miracle saying, “God will soften his heart.” Teolinda prayed every day at dawn, breaking the morning’s silence with her petition.
Not long after, Teodolinda’s brother sent her everything she needed; signatures, papers, etc., and the church was able to build her her own house on her own land. She said, "This is a great blessing from God, a great joy because I will have my own house, and I will not be...roaming the land. I will have a home with the children I have left."
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.
Sixty-year-old Maria de Jesus Granados (called Chunguita) and her 54 year-old sister Daysi lived in a house they inherited from their father. In 2005 the old house was all but destroyed by the heavy rains accompanying Hurricane Mitch. Both sisters suffer from rheumatism but Daysi’s hands and legs have become deformed making it difficult for her to carry out daily tasks. Members from the local church often provide food and money for the sisters. In this way, between illness and poverty, they lived day after day by the mercy of God.
Chunguita and Daysi grew up working the land with a father who loved and cared for them. As Chunguita tells it, "When I was young I worked in the corn fields with my dad, cultivating corn and beans. He would cut the zacate and I would pick up the piles of grass and collect the corn. As he grew older, he would tell me, ‘You’ll have to do the work, because I can’t anymore.’ And so it was with him. We also planted sorghum. He would cut the sorghum, but eventually said, ‘You’ll have to take over, sweetie, because I can’t do it anymore.’ Age, hard work and rheumatism gradually faded his life until he died.” Chunguita expresses disappointment that she is not able to do more at her age like she saw her father do.
After receiving their new home, Chunguita expressed much gratitude. "[Our new home] has been a gift from God and from you. Thanks to God because He has softened your hearts to help the poor...We will have a party with Jesus, with our family in Him."
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.
Leaders from the local church knew that helping these mothers by building them a new home would transform their lives. After receiving the good news, Marta felt utterly relieved. To fix their old home on their income, said Marta, would have taken an eternity. Using their money for food and other expenses has given her a sense of peace. And Rosa expressed a deep joy--something she hasn’t felt in a long time--because now her daughter, grandchildren and herself would have a real and safe home in which to live, work and grow.
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 the rainy season and painted a recently constructed water tank. The team also enjoyed eating mango everyday, playing with kids, and visiting the homes that returning members helped to build last year. The team continued building the relationships from last year and formed new friendships as well.
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.