Santa Ana, El Salvador (Saturday)

I took my seat next to mother Griselda and her two year-three month daughter Natali in the sanctuary of the 10,000 member Elim Church in Santa Ana, El Salvador. Together with our pastor group and dozens of women and their children we sang worship songs, then listened to the story of a former gang woman.

Eighteen months ago she came to Christ because her son was in the Compassion child survival program for infants and preschoolers. At first she couldn't participate in church because of her gang commitment, but through her son's involvement she learned to love him and grew spiritually. She urged the women it's never too late to seek the Lord.

Elim partners with Compassion to care for 1000 mothers and babies in 21 projects across El Salvador. The women learn crafts, hairstyling, and other skills as well as caring for their children. The women are given prenatal care and the children are monitored from birth to five years old in physical, spiritual, intellectual, and social development. We looked through the files with pictures, check ups and charts.

For lunch we visited the home of Sandra, 13 year old Paola and 15 month old Angel. Sitting in their one room house located on an alley like road, Sandra shared how her character and behavior has changed since knowing Christ. She has learned to love Angel, and she's growing her relationship with her daughter (also Compassion sponsored) who was jealous of the attention she lost to her baby brother. She loves science and practiced her beginners English with us.

Sandra tearfully shared her prayer request for her undocumented mother in the U.S. whose husband was deported and she fears her own deportation. Communication is not good and she doesn't know where her mother is.

Outside in the corrugated fenced yard was the shower shack, the toilet shack and the shack for her aunt. The blue shirt project staff spent most of the day hosting, explaining and connecting us to the women's stories.

Like other Compassion churches, Elim believes reaching children is the key to reaching families and making a difference in the community. The director's husband led us through the in-process building project for the children's ministries. :)

At dinner we heard from Pati and Veronica who are college students in the leadership development program. They receive scholarships to go to school and become leaders in their churches. Impressive, faith-filled, courageous young women climbing out of poverty with hope and vision for their future.

Pati's mother sat at our table beaming and tearing up with gratitude and pride in her daughter.


  1. This is an awesome glimpse into what looks to have been a powerful experience! Thanks for sharing, and gracias for being a part of what God is doing in El Salvador!


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