The saying “A woman’s work is never done” is true the world over. Perhaps this is because most women are highly connected in a variety of ways to their families and communities. The number of roles they inhabit, that of daughter, wife, mother, friend, leader--can be plentiful, rewarding...and taxing. Whether a woman has biological children or not, I think all women who “mother” (the word is in fact a verb as much as it is a noun) can relate to both the hard work and the rich bounty of wisdom that their lives give them.
Such is the case with our lovely friend and co-worker, Yeni. She and her husband pastor a church together in rural El Salvador in the aptly named community called La Labor, “The Work”. This church has been a partner with ENLACE for many years now and has walked with its community identifying challenges and creating sustainable solutions to poverty with their neighbors.
In a recent interview, Yeni shared with us some incredible wisdom gleaned from a life spent as a servant leader within her community. In celebration of all Mothers and Women Who Mother on this Mother’s Day, we wanted to share her seeds of great wisdom.
1. Life is an adventure.
“Being a pastor's wife is a difficult job as I have to balance the role of mother, counselor, friend and much more. I find joy every day when I look at my life as an exciting adventure.”
2. Breaking down barriers is essential to creating community.
“I always saw that working with ENLACE was an opportunity that God gave us to become more efficient in service to our community. But as we’ve learned more through the work, I’ve realized that ENLACE helps to shine the light on patterns within the church that created barriers in relating with people outside our walls, but in our community. Now, I am so happy to say, we work hand in hand with our neighbors and that is essential to communicating our faith.”
3. Knowledge is key to real change, and it’s why we should never stop learning.
“In our work as a church, we’ve learned that biblical knowledge is important and there’s always something new to learn. But that is not the end. Learning how to approach and serve one’s community effectively is the basis to knowledge that produces results in physical/material life. Being open to learn something new and to be willing to humble ourselves in service is the most important thing we can do.”
4. Get your hands dirty.
“With every project, I have had the opportunity to participate in, I have been assigned the role of general coordinator. What I’ve learned is that if I get involved with my hands, I’m always aware of how much progress is being made. I work right alongside my husband and every member of the church. We share the burden and witness the results.”
5. Serving people is the best way to demonstrate God’s love and blessing.
“Creating community isn’t easy. But it is impossible without service. Service enables us to create a community full of peace and harmony. With each moment that we serve, with each project that we work on together, we all derive deep satisfaction when we see families reconnected to health and hope.”
6. Loving my community means to be well-organized and to involve my children.
“By getting involved in all these activities (of community transformation), I must know how to organize my time in order to be able to fulfill each role in the best way. That is why I have taught all my children to do household chores so that they support me. Even though we are performing different age-appropriate duties, I make sure that they know we’re working as a team.”
7. Words are not deeds.
“Putting the needs of the community before those of the church was hard at the beginning. There was a sense of ‘who will take care of us?’ But now I know that this was the ONLY way to preach the gospel. The world is tired of words.
8. Be thankful for support.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported ENLACE’ because at the beginning we were afraid. But now we see so much fruit and we hope to continue to work!”