1. What was it about El Salvador that made you want to move there?
Sometimes I hear people say they feel "called" to a particular place, and I think that's great. For me it wasn't the place but the people and the relationships that drew me to El Salvador. My first trip in 2003 opened my eyes to both the extreme poverty, as well as the people that fight against it through the local church. I worked with a pastor named Miguel who inspired me to see the church and it's people as powerful forces of change. I wanted to join the effort to support them and learn from them . . . Oh, and the pupusas, haha.
2. Can you tell us some basic information about ENLACE?
Enlace is the Spanish word for "link." The organization's main purpose is to support local churches by linking them with partners and resources so they can better reach their communities. ENLACE is made up of some of the most dynamic and committed followers of Jesus who desire to see God work in the lives of the most vulnerable people in El Salvador. They humbly provide support behind the scenes, so the local people, pastors, and leaders can be the face of change in the community. For example, they have teams of specialists (doctors, engineers, planners, businesses, etc.) as well as church coaches that walk with them day in and day out. When we started to serve with ENLACE in 2005 they were working with around 6-10 churches. Today they are working with close to 100. I can't say enough great things about their ministry.
3. What advice do you have for people who feel called to move overseas to volunteer or do missionary work?
Pray. Pray. Pray. Make sure that your motives are right. Check this by taking time to think through WHY you feel called and what specifically you feel called to do while you are in the country. Identify how you are gifted and how those gifts can be used to serve a specific cause or ministry. Bring in trusted friends and advisers to look at your decision. Don't be afraid to take in other points of view. After you have gone through that process, you will still need to take the step of faith. When you do, do it boldly and trust God to bring the outcomes He desires.