Story of Transformation: María Ercilia Zelaya

María Ercilia has a physical abnormality and has struggled with walking her entire life. She can’t go anywhere without her crutches. This struggle was made more acute when, after God touching her heart, she wanted to return as a congregant to the church she had attended as a child. In her joy she wanted to go as often as it was open, but because the walk took over a half hour she could only manage twice a week. “The worst of it,” said María, “was that I had to go through a ravine that was full of water in the winter and full of rocks in the summer. With the problem I have with my foot, many times it was impossible for me to cross.”

Sometimes María would arrive at the river but realize it was too difficult to cross on her own. “The only thing I could do was wait for a sister from the church to carry me because I was afraid of falling.” And once at church, if the rains came, her return would become a problem. “Since my mother is already older [she couldn’t carry me] so the pastor had to hire a pick up truck to take us home. This was difficult because it would take more than an hour because the way was long...This discouraged [everyone].”

“Thank God that many sisters’ and brothers’ hearts were touched and through the church ENLACE was able to come to this community and see all of the needs that we have. It was with them that we proposed that they could help us build a pedestrian bridge to facilitate access of the two communities. They told us that the work would be up to everyone, not just them and that’s how the mayor’s office and everyone began to work on the project that lasted almost six months. I saw how the brothers and sisters came to work every day in the sun and with the heat. Even if it rained they were there. It was difficult...Everyone worked hard together to get the materials...When I saw the project moving forward I only thought about going to church every day, not just when it didn’t rain or when someone could help me cross, but every day I could be there early.

“When they inaugurated the footbridge I felt so happy...That day many brothers and sisters came to celebrate with us. Everyone in the community was very grateful that this enormous project had been finished. I remember the first day I tracked how long it took me to get to church. Within 15 minutes, I was already there.”

Click here to learn more about María and the churches engaged in the eastern region of El Salvador!


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