ENLACE serves churches in El Salvador , a nation located in north eastern Central America and bordered by Guatemala , Honduras , and the Pacific Ocean . It is the smallest and most densely populated Central American country. The country continues to struggle, recovering from a devasting 12 year war (ending in 1992.) Most people live on less than $5 a day, and the economy continues to divide the wealthy from the poor creating a society that has sent more than 2.5 million people to the North looking for work.
With its tropical climate and rustic landscape, El Salvador is a beautiful country. However, after Haiti , El Salvador is the most deforested country in Latin America (with only 5% remaining). Most of the country's water is polluted, and many fear that at the current rate of destruction, the country will run out of drinking water in less than 15 years.
In terms of the people of El Salvdador, the soil for ministry is rich with opportunity. There has been consistent growth over the last 30 years in Christian churches. In general, there is an openess to the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, people are increasingly losing hope in the future of the country. Stories of the opportunities in the North (the United States) discourage many people's desire to stay and invest their efforts at home. This is understandable because few have seen their hard work pay off.
Many are looking to experience the claims of Christianity, that a life in Christ can change the way people treat one another. Too often, people are left to fend for themselves, and churches often strive to grow in numbers forgetting to “be” Christ to their neighbors. Yet, we are experiencing a move among the hearts of many Christian leaders who want their churches to embody the Kingdom of God that we read about in the Bible. It is because of this movement that ENLACE exists, to encourage and support those who want to serve their communities so that the Church can be the Light Jesus called it to be.
6,470,379 (2003 est)
8,124 sq miles
(21,040 sq km)
Textiles, coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oil seed,
cotton, sorghum; shrimp; beef, dairy products
Earlier statistics identify as much as 83% of the population as Roman Catholic. However, one recent source estimated as many as 40% protestant Christian (with the majority being Pentecostal and Baptist denominations).
LITERACY / EDUCATION
Literacy in rural El Salvador (%)
Average Schooling received (grade completed)
42% are in poverty (not able to provide adequate shelter, healthcare, education or clothing). As high as 65% in some departments
19% are in extreme poverty (not able to provide basic food necessities). As high as 36% in some departments
Average annual income (rural) $1382
Average annual cost of basic food supply $1320
ACCESS TO BASIC SERVICES %
Potable Water 47.6
Trash Disposal 5.2
Sanitation facilities 84.3
41% of rural homes use contaminated water
82% of “potable” water is considered contaminated by U.S. standards
OTHER INTERESTING STATISTICS
In 2002 2,778,286 Salvadorans lived outside the country
22.% of homes receive financial support from outside the country
the outside money makes up 46.2% of their income
Use of support from the exterior (%)
General Consumption 91
General Investment 6.9
MAJOR SOCIAL CONCERNS
Gang activity, exported from the US , has taken a major hold in El Salvador . There are two rival gangs; Mara 18 ( 18 th street gang from LA) and Mara Salvatrucha (MS). Gang activity accounts for a majority of the violence in the country. In January, 2005 there were 290 murders (more than Costa Rica had in all of 2004).
Resources: CIA World Factbook - El Salvador https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/es.html
United Nations' Informe sobre Desarollo Humano en El Salvador 2003