As the breeze gets cooler, the nights get longer, and the difficult year of 2020 comes to an end, I am reminded of how hardship can sometimes bring out the worst in us. But it can also bring out the best in us and make us more beautiful and connected. No doubt, we have endured a tough year collectively and individually and on top of things, it is easy to get lost in the hustle and stress amidst the Holidays.
Burger King and beans. That these bookended the life that my family and I shared with others while living in El Salvador may prompt you to think that this post is about the gastronomical changes we experienced while living abroad. To be sure, our eating habits were altered a bit. But this is not a culinary tale. Rather, it is a story about the transformative and lasting impacts of hospitality.
If you were to travel to the southwest region in El Salvador, you would find a small fishing village called Metalio. This beautiful fishing village gets hit with an immense amount of rain each year that causes long-term problems for its residents. In a community where 40 percent of its population lives in extreme poverty (making less than $2 per capita per day), these severe weather patterns impact the daily lives of people.
As many of you know, a core aspect of how ENLACE operates is by building local and international partnerships in order to transform communities. From the beginning, we have seen that community transformation can only happen when people collaborate together to identify the physical and spiritual needs of a community.
With the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, ENLACE began a major pivot in our year’s community development plan and began to provide relief as early as April in Central America. It’s been an incredible effort by hundreds of devoted people. One of our superheroes during this transition has been Dr. Eva Berdugo. Dr. Eva is coordinating all relief and efforts in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nepal. Not only has she been instrumental in designing and managing day-to-day operations and communications, but she has also helped to provide solid and capable leadership as ENLACE turns now toward recovery.
For many of us during this pandemic, there have been many dreams that have not gone the way we planned or hoped for. Dreams have been put on hold, re-oriented, or lost altogether. Not only can it be daunting to have to navigate a new world and reality that does not have a firm structure, but it can also be deeply sad to have lost something you were counting on or excited for.
Meet Joel Kelderman. He is a real estate investor and ENLACE Board Member. Read on to learn how Joel began to work with ENLACE and why he values its work of transformation in the world.
While growing up in a small, Midwestern farming community I vividly remember asking myself often, “Is this as good as it gets?”
Finding trustworthy non profit organizations that truly make an impact in the world is as important today as ever. Even as the problems associated with the recent pandemic combine with long-standing issues of poverty creating a devastating blow to extremely vulnerable populations, opportunist organizations demonstrate a credibility gap, a vast difference between what is promised and what is delivered.
ENLACE was established in 1993 and has always strived to demonstrate its trustworthiness both financially and operationally. Every year, as our funding has grown alongside the number of churches and communities we serve, we’ve been so grateful to our donors for their faith in us and in our reporting. We are so thankful to be at the top of their charitable organizations list. This transparency will never cease. To this end, we invited ENLACE CFO Frederick McGough to address our most common questions with regards to ENLACE’s use of gifts.
For many of us there have been times in our lives that we’ve heard a story or met a person or come upon a situation and been moved to give money or donate from our own resources. At other times we have been so moved that we want to take on an even bigger role by advocating the cause to others. We have a conviction that if more people knew about this need, they would also want to help. The vision of seeing more and more people combine their resources to make an even greater impact is both exciting but also daunting.
“When our focus is on serving others, our differences become
meaningless and our love for each other prospers.” - Jayger McGough
My childhood lessons and experiences have been paramount in setting the direction for my life. I still remember visiting orphanages and homes with kids who had disabilities when I was nine years old. Every weekend for many years, we would drive 30 to 45 minutes each way to spend time with these children, feed them, hold them, deliver donations to them, and give them gifts we had wrapped for them. Seventeen years later I can still picture my mom carrying and pouring love into the babies, especially a baby called Adonai who suffered from microcephaly.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42 - New International Version (NIV)
It was crazy that just one talk with Mark Haugen would change everything.
Mark Haugen is the Head of Development at ENLACE, and when he mentioned to my mother and me about running a half marathon in October of 2019 to raise money for poor communities in Central America, everyone thought it would be crazy for us to run. But Mark didn't. Mark believed that the race wasn't just about running. It was about the change and difference we would make for communities in need.