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.
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.
Imagine a world in which curiosity and respect for others different from us were normal. What would it be like to live in a community that enjoyed diversity and welcomed a multiplicity of cultures? In some ways, it’s easy to imagine. I like being valued. I enjoy seeing others experience a life of peace and happiness. For me, as soon as I imagine it, my heart expands and my breathing actually feels deeper and easier.
ENLACE’s international church partnership strategy is the backbone of how we support ongoing community transformation efforts in impoverished communities. As part of this strategy, we love to work with international mission partners who want to go deep with a region of a country to partner with multiple local churches to make a true impact. We are always looking to work with partners who want to come alongside ENLACE to support local churches and communities as they are working to transform their communities.
One of the coolest things about working in community development for over 25 years is that you get to see and experience moments in which the world truly acts like a global community.
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.
Many of you who know my wife Jenny and I are familiar with our story.
We met in college and were married in 2002. For our honeymoon, we were invited to volunteer for a few months in El Salvador. After seeing the incredible work of rural pastors, our three-month honeymoon turned into nearly eight years of living in El Salvador. Our children were born in El Salvador, and we’ve now been involved with ENLACE for more than 17 years. I would have never imagined what God had in store for us when we said yes to a trip to El Salvador.
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.
“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.
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.