2019 was a topsy turvy year for many of us. It was a year full of heartache and hope across the globe. From ENLACE’s vantage point, the humanitarian crisis on the U.S. border was an endless source of grief.
Over the years of working in international missions, I’ve had a chance to meet so many incredible people who want to make a difference in the world. They often tell me how blessed and grateful they are to live in the U.S., and so, as a result, they want to join a mission trip hoping to spread God’s blessings. After raising their money and going to serve, they come home expressing they received so much more than what they feel they gave.
But I also have found that they emerge from the life-changing missions experience with something else: a measure of despair.
There was a time early on in ENLACE’s history that Ron and I would host service mission teams without the incredible staff we now have. Those years were extremely demanding and, as in all small businesses/organizations, it was all hands on deck much of the time. So it was quite common for our children to accompany us as we navigated the roads and byways of El Salvador, facilitating service teams.
“You are the light of the world... Let your light shine so that people everywhere see your good deeds and praise God!” - Matthew 5.14-16
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.