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."
Entries in Santa Ana Region (24)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.