We encourage U.S. churches who share our mission of alleviating spiritual and physical poverty through the work of local churches to explore, invest, experience, and engage in what God is doing in El Salvador. Since 1993 ENLACE has been equipping church and community leaders to identify, design, and manage sustainable poverty-alleviating projects throughout the country. Over the years many foreign and local churches and institutions that have identified with ENLACE’s vision have worked alongside rural communities in El Salvador to bring hope and transformation.
Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington Illinois is one of our new church partners. This church has committed to walking with churches in the the Santa Ana region of El Salvador as they reach out to transform their communities. Willow Creek first became involved when they sent a vision team comprised of church leaders to explore the work that was already going on in El Salvador. After committing to invest in ongoing training and community projects, they experienced El Salvador by sending down work teams to build relationships with the people of San Jacinto while physically helping them to build up their community.
Recently, Willow Creek has gone a step further to engage its entire congregation through a year-long Celebration of Hope, during which the whole church has the opportunity to better understand, pray, give, and get involved with the transformation they are supporting in El Salvador and around the world. Through the sharing of stories like those of Alex and Anna who received new homes through church and community projects in El Salvador, and through peppering their lobby with photographs of hope and change, Willow Creek is opening their congregation's eyes to the tranformation that is possible when the church reaches beyond its four walls.
Mark Haugen, the Latin America Operations Director for Willow Creek's Compassion and Justice Ministries, was quoting Bill Hybles, the senior pastor of their church, when he said that “God, in a unique way, prepared the local church to be His community that is to bring hope, healing, and restoration.¨ Willow Creek's effective engagement encourages us at ENLACE because we know that the communities where we work are being covered in prayer, and that God’s church--in which we all serve different functions for the same body--is healthy, united, and bringing hope to the world.
If you are an individual who has experienced ENLACE and would like to engage the rest of your church by hosting an event or leading a campaign, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how!