The El Zonte Community Build is an extension of missionsake and meets our desire to care for and support the people of El Salvador. missionsake Community Build endeavors to make education accessible in order to equip kids to create a sustainable future for themselves. The hope is that the community of El Zonte in El Salvador will be impacted by the love of God and through the value of education.
The Paulson family
In 2016 Erik and his wife, Jenny took their three boys, Jude, James and Jonah on a trip to El Salvador to visit missionary friends. On this trip, the Paulson family was asked to host a surf camp for some local kids in the community of El Zonte. It was then that Erik met Jorge Valenzuela. He and Jorge Immediately connected over their love for surfing, Jesus and giving.
Twenty kids showed up for the first surf camp! They were amped! They all got to surf together, play by the pool, eat and then hear Jorge give his testimony of being a surfer who loves Jesus. That day changed Erik’s life!
Over the course of the next year Jorge started meeting with several of the kids from the community. This led to him engaging in Bible studies, mentoring, guiding and instilling the value of education into the lives of the children. As Erik has walked with Jorge since then, he has been moved to see that this group of kids has grown from 20 to over 100. Erik has been moved to come alongside Jorge and his group of kids to equip them for the future. As Erik looked at his own boys and the hope he has for their future, he was impressed by the need for education in this community. The Paulson’s hope is to give these kids another option besides joining a gang. Through Jorge’s mentorship in Christ and his value for education we are able to help provide a better future for these kids.
The Valenzuela Family
Jorge, an El Salvadoran national, was born and raised in El Zonte where he still resides with his wife, Ana Cristina and their two children, Jackelynne and Samuel. The Valenzuela family has long been an integral part of the El Zonte community. Long before Jorge accepted the Lord, God laid it on his heart to positively impact the lives of the many children from dysfunctional families in El Zonte. But he didn’t know how.
When God put Mike Peterson in Jorge’s path, Mike began praying over Jorge’s life. God’s love began to penetrate Jorge’s heart and soon he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. It was at this point that God unveiled His purpose for Jorge’s life. With his family’s blessing, Jorge has reached out to the most marginalized corners of El Zonte to touch the lives of children and youth in desperate need of hope. The epidemic amongst these kids is that their father is addicted to drugs or alcohol, in prison, is deceased, or is simply absent. The children have little respect for their mother, and with no adult guidance they grow up in the streets, typically living on less than $2 a day. As a means to survival they turn to thievery and gang affiliation. As the kids grow to adulthood, they follow the patterns set by their parents and the cycle of poverty, hopelessness and crime continues.
God has revealed to Jorge that each child has a need to find hope and be loved. Jorge has a three-pronged approach in his ministry to the children and youth of El Zonte:
“Walking, walking, walking”: In order to fill each child’s heart tank with the love of God, Jorge and his family offer constant companionship, teaching each child that they have value and purpose.
Setting an example: As Jorge learns and grows in his relationship with the Lord, he is transparent with the kids. By sharing his journey with them, they can learn by his example who God is and that He can change anybody’s life!
Teach the youth the value of education and honest work: Jorge sees work as the key to happiness and helps kids envision a future full of promise and purpose.
Jorge is praying that God will raise up more mentors like himself because there is a great need. But he is not in a hurry and he is not stressed. He is just blessed to be part of God’s plan for El Zonte.
Let’s walk with kids to help give them a better life outside of gangs. Let’s walk with kids to help them fulfill the purpose that God has for them in the Kingdom. Let’s walk with kids to help them change their world. The only way to do this is through discipleship and education.
Many kids are not able to finish high school because there is not a local one in town. They must travel 30 minutes by bus outside of their town to go to school. This makes education out of reach for many because:
Public transportation exposes them to recruitment by gangs
Public transportation exposes them to violence
Cost! Families do not have the means to pay bus fare let alone for any other type of safe transportation
Systems Waterproofing has purchased a truck to transport kids to high school. Will you honor their gift by joining us to cover maintenance and fuel costs? Please consider giving $100, $250, $400, $500 or some other amount to help transport these kids to school.