Weekly Hope: The Work Continues

Dear ADRA Family,

This week, we are pleased to share a wonderful message of hope amidst the pandemic, as told by our friends in the ADRA Connections program. ADRA Connections (CNX for short) offers short-term volunteer experiences to groups of young adults and adults, with opportunities to visit and work at ADRA projects all around the world.

As you can understand, those opportunities have been shut down during this global health crisis. Though ADRA’s work continues in the field, we are currently unable to offer volunteer trips to our many eager volunteers—some of whom had to cancel travel just days in advance of a big trip to El Salvador.

That trip to El Salvador was set to take place during spring break in March, a time many of our college-aged volunteers were looking for a break from academia and a chance to connect with their global community. Unfortunately, that was also the time COVID-19 began to shake the world.

Sadly, we canceled the trip. Many volunteers, however, continue to ask about how the El Salvadorians are faring during this crisis. Though they cannot be there in person to help improve the lives of those in need, they still send their thoughts and prayers.

Adam Wamack, the ADRA Connections manager, shares the successes happening today in El Salvador, and the many blessings still to be found during this time of great loss and confusion.

In early 2019, ADRA Connections Coordinator Cassie Hales led a CNX group from Rocky Mount SDA church into the Dry Corridor of El Salvador to build greenhouses.  They tilled the ground, installed irrigations systems, built the greenhouse structure, and planted baby plants. 

In late 2019, I led a CNX group from La Sierra Academy into the same region of El Salvador to build chicken coops.  We leveled the ground, built the walls and the roof, put up the chicken wire, and gifted each family with 100 egg-laying hens, complete with feeders, feed and everything else they could need.

Additionally, we had big plans to host 5 groups simultaneously in Spring Break of 2020 to continue working with these communities. As you can understand, we had to cancel.  I was devastated by this cancellation, but obviously it was the right decision. 

Today I had a Zoom call with our team in El Salvador and they shared with me a story that touched my heart.  Just for context, the greenhouses take months to actually produce crops, and the baby chicks have to grow for a few months before they are ready to lay eggs. 

Would you believe it if I told you that the very day that the Salvadorian government shut down all businesses and declared a shelter-in-place order was the exact same day the greenhouses were in peak production and the hens began to produce eggs?

I am nearly in tears just thinking about this.  We installed the greenhouses at exactly the right time. We built the chicken coops at exactly the right time. God led us to choose these projects and communities, preparing them for what only He saw coming.

Those typically vulnerable communities in El Salvador are now running their own micro-businesses and are able to consume green beans and vegetables mixed with eggs, a level of nutrition for the entire family that would be otherwise unachievable.  On top of that, they are able to sell the remainder in local markets for far less than the exorbitant prices that this economic shift has caused, helping the entire community.  Not only that, they are able to hire workers to sell on their behalf, further extending the impact of our project. The ripples go further than even we can see.

I don’t want to go on and on, but I am so happy right now, I had to share. Because of our work blessed by the Lord, many families are supporting themselves and protecting themselves during this difficult time.

Adam and Cassie are both devastated to see these life-changing volunteer experiences comes to a temporary end, but they are already planning for the future when we can once again travel and connect with our global communities.

To learn more about ADRA Connections, visit www.adraconnections.org. To continue to support communities like those in El Salvador, donate today at the button below.

May God bless you all.

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