Greetings from El Salvador!
After writing last night, we had an adventure – dinner! We were served a fantastic meal of cream of asparagus soup, and an entree of chicken with some veggies and a baked potato. I know…that doesn’t sound like much of an adventure.
The adventure came when we ordered drinks. We had a choice of many different drinks – bottled water, orange juice, lemonade, watermelon juice, or strawberry juice. Being the adventurer that I am, I ordered watermelon juice (see photo). Man. It was delicious!!! Several others ordered lemonade, which was the best I had ever tasted!
Fast forward to today. It has been a wonderful day full of new experiences and information! Through several conversations, I have found out some fantastic information about Enlace, the organization that we are working alongside this week.
The name of the organization, Enlace, means “to link,” in Spanish. Their organizational goal is to come alongside churches in various communities in El Salvador and help them affect positive change in their communities. So far this year, Enlace, paired with 52 local churches, has worked on 106 projects that affect more than 100,000 people. The cool thing about Enlace is that they aren’t just another organization that waltzes into an area of need and assumes that they have the right answer. Enlace comes alongside churches who have a passion for helping their communities, and empowers and encourages those pastors to network with community leaders to solve problems.
Another interesting perspective that Enlace holds is that every penny that comes into their hands for projects goes directly to that project. Enlace is simply the middle man. They do fundraising on the side to cover their organizational costs. This keeps an honest approach.
The key words that Enlace focuses on are relationships, church coaches who listen, and working together.
We met one of the church coaches today. His name is Marvin. He told us today about their process for coming alongside churches. First, they have to see that the pastor is full of passion towards serving their community and is seen as a leader, both inside and outside of the church. Enlace then comes alongside those pastors and empowers them to do more. Those pastors then, with some guidance from Enlace, partner together with the community leaders to do projects for their area. The goal: to show the love of God to those outside of the church through being the hands and feet of Christ. We have already heard many stories about how prior to Enlace pairing up with churches, there were many community leaders who were against the church. Once the churches began to pinpoint and address community needs, the naysayers began to turn. Many of those who opposed the church initially are now leading several initiatives in their communities and are asking for more! Pastor Mauricio, whom we are partnering with this week, said it best, “We don’t kick [the non believers] out. We bring them in and help them know the love of God through our actions.” Through the church being unified with the community, great good is happening in El Salvador!
(Photo caption) The beginning point for our project tomorrow. Only 450 meters to go!
Now that you know more about who we are working with, let’s talk about what we are doing this week. One of the projects that Pastor Mauricio and Enlace have taken on in the San Jacinto area is water. Prior to this project, only 20% of the town had water in their homes. Because of this project, over 70% of the San Jacinto people now have water! We will be continuing this project by running PVC pipes down a 900 meter stretch so that a whole new people base can have water! Over the past few days, a group of about 30 has completed 450 of those meters. Our goal is to dig a ditch and lay pipe for the remaining feet, completing the project! We will be working on this project for the next four mornings alongside members from pastor Mauricio’s church and others from the community.
We had the privilege of attending pastor Mauricio’s church, Zurisadai, this morning. According to Walter, our guide, translator, and chauffeur for the week, the church’s name, Zurisadai, is Biblical. Five points to whoever can find it in the Bible! It was so wonderful to be welcomed as part of the community. Everywhere we went, we were met with handshakes, hugs, and the Spanish translation of “God bless you!” Walter said that it is important for the community that serving teams keep coming. Many see it as an answer to their prayers for someone to come help them! It is such an honor to be here, to see this beautiful culture, and to be able to serve.
After church, we were served a fantastic traditional lunch of beef, rice, fresh tortillas, and pico. Oh man was it good! We all left the table ready for our next adventure, but really needing a nap. Aother difference in El Salvador – instead of diet Pepsi, they have Pepsi light…Scotty models it here for you:
After lunch, we embarked to see some of the projects that last year’s serving team from Willow helped with. Mainly, the team from last year built houses. We were able to visit one of them:
Along the way, we had some experiences, which I will illustrate for you through photos 🙂
At the church, we wash our hands in a fascinating way. First, we dip the bowl into the water on the right, then get soap on our hands and rinse them in the bowl, then dump the bowl down the drain. Fascinating process!
It has been a wonderful day! Next up: dinner at Pizza Hut, then a relaxing evening before digging tomorrow!
Have a fantastic evening!