Paula lives with her husband and five children in the rural community of La Labor, El Salvador. Several years ago while working with ENLACE, Pastors José & Jenny Molina of the Fe y Gracia Church and several community leaders, approached her and other farmers in their community to see if they'd be interested in creating small chicken farms.
When I moved to El Salvador in 1996 at the age of 25, I was a few months married and had no children. By the time we moved to England and then on to the United States, I was a mother of three teens and turning 40.
Getting up before dawn amidst the growing cacophony of doves, pigeons, droning insects and waking roosters, Erika, a young mother of five children living in the rural village of Caluco, El Salvador, would coax a fire to life over an open cooking hearth in her living room.
March is a month that celebrates many things. If you're Irish, mad about basketball, a women's history activist, or like to open umbrellas indoors (yes, indeed there is a "day" for that), March has something for you. For us at ENLACE, we love to celebrate Women and Water!
"Pastor Santos and his wife, Mari, are a living example of true love--as a couple, and toward friends from all over their community and the world. They are true life partners. The phrase 'Here is love' epitomizes them perfectly."
- Margarita Campos, ENLACE International Service Team Facilitator
In 2018, so many generous donors and short-term volunteers all over the world came alongside church and community leaders in El Salvador, Nepal and Guatemala and transformed the lives of thousands of families! We are so grateful and are just bursting to tell you about it!
Jesus told a story long ago about a man who was planning a wedding feast. At first, he invited "the right" guests, his wealthy and privileged peers. But they all declined the invitation by giving lame excuses. Some sounded like, "I'm washing my hair that night... Sorry." And so the host decided instead to invite everyone and anyone. He invited those who were sick, suffering and lowly in every way. People who offered nothing to him but their presence and willingness to celebrate. They came and had a rocking good time.
This month ENLACE will celebrate its 25th anniversary in Corona Del Mar! We are overjoyed and so grateful.
One of the most important things that I have learned over the last 25 years of working with under-resourced communities is that trust and security between neighbors is even more critical when trying to build long-lasting solutions to poverty.
That day, whether we knew it or not, all of us together, by loving each other through service, we were creating a space in which incredible things were being born.
As a short-term service team facilitator, I get the wonderful privilege of seeing the moment in which everyone–church leader, community leader, government officials, non-government organizations, international team members, community residents and even our staff– come together. It is at this moment that the words, “the Kingdom of God is here,” never felt so real. It is the breaking down of barriers that creates the possibility for us to come together as one, for us to truly love each other and build community.
Right now, there are more than fifty incredible poverty alleviation projects that have been designed and partially funded in communities across El Salvador, Nepal and Guatemala.
Local churches partnering with ENLACE maximize their efforts by connecting strategically with local organizations and local volunteers which provide both valuable resources and labor. These churches have learned how to bring everyone together to create projects that solve very difficult problems such as the need for clean water, waste management, adequate shelter, and food and income security. All we need to do is match their donations.
Celebrating ENLACE’s 25th year means celebrating the Power of With. That is, what is most significant about this milestone for us is that for 25 years we have had the privilege of walking WITH churches as THEY walk WITH their communities to bring about profound change. While ENLACE encourages and equips churches, providing technical support and some project funding during the seven to 10 years in which we walk alongside them, all of us at ENLACE know that the church and community leaders are the ones who, despite facing incredible challenges and daily struggles, live and breathe sacrificial service. As a result, thousands of impoverished people are experiencing better, safer, and healthier lives of economic and spiritual stability.
When people ask me where the idea of ENLACE came from, I have to admit that the vision of equipping local churches wasn't how I always thought things should work.
ENLACE has always relied on the power of volunteers with big hearts and visions. Since the very beginning, three of us met in a choir robe room at a local church in San Salvador. Two of us were volunteers. This ratio has remained rather consistent even as the organization has grown exponentially.