Arnoldo and Maria Elena Alvarez
Honduras Clean Water Projects
A native of Honduras and the very region IMPACT has targeted, Arnoldo has become a leader in developing gravity-based water systems that bring fresh, clean water to these villages. An engineer, he selects sites for the systems, prepares the tanks, and outlines the trenches that PVC pipe will take to bring water to the villages. Involved in this kind of work for 23 years, he directs the village volunteers for weeks in advance of the IMPACT groups’ arrival so that the U.S. men can partner with the locals to complete the project. Arnoldo works on Staff as Impact’s Honduras Director. His wife Maria Elena, handles all the logistical arrangements for all the incoming teams from the U.S. They have two sons living in Tegucigalpa and two who live in the U.S. The Alvarez’s expertise, tireless dedication, and gracious spirit are invaluable assets to the success of IMPACT projects in Honduras.
Al and Connie McElheran
Honduras & Ecuador
Al and Connie graduated from New Tribes Bible Institute in 1967 and headed to Ecuador as missionaries. Al started as a recording engineer for Back to the Bible Ministry, then went on to HCJB in Quito, where he worked as director for medical caravans and then as director for community development. As a veteran missionary for over 30 years in Ecuador, Al’s first love has been taking the gospel to nationals in the Andes Mountain communities and the remote Amazon jungles through medical missions. In 1993 Al joined Impact Ministries and began a ministry on the largest river in Ecuador, the Napo. During Al and Connie’s years in Ecuador, Al built a Bible-teaching seminary on the river. He opened nine communities on the river to the gospel and trained nationals to take over and lead the ministries.
Honduras Clean Water Projects
While Gustavo serves as a translator of language for IMPACT teams, this Tegucigalpa, Honduras, native also translates the heart of his people to the North American volunteers. He’s stood at the bedsides of dying villagers, while IMPACT leaders prayed with the family. He’s played volleyball with the local children and IMPACT volunteers. And when IMPACT leaves, he stays behind, working on his own projects to help the poorest of the poor on the remote Mosquito Coast of Honduras. Educated in the U.S. at John Brown University, Gustavo graduated in management information systems. But rather than pursuing the American Dream, he returned to his homeland. Gustavo lives in a humble home in Tegucigalpa and ministers to his people with a servant’s heart.
Honduras Clean Water Projects
Marisabel helps the men of the IMPACT teams connect with the village children and families through engaging programs, games and educational activities. It’s on the children that the clean water has perhaps the greatest benefit. With a child dying every 15 seconds from water-related illness worldwide, the miracle of fresh water can transform a village’s future. School attendance rises as health improves. And without having to walk for a mile or more to retrieve water in jugs, children can focus on schoolwork and playtime that develops them socially and emotionally. As IMPACT brings clean water to these villages, they get to know the kids with Marisabel’s help. She serves full-time as Children’s Ministry Director for a church in Tegucigalpa. Her involvement and direction becomes a highlight of the project for many IMPACT team members.
In Quito, Ecuador, special needs children get marginalized – hidden and neglected by families who feel overwhelmed or needless shame. But in the early 1990s, Elena Vasconez – young and disabled herself — developed a partial solution to this problem. The Lord gave her a vision for a special program that would offer help, activities and encouragement to Ecuador’s poor, disabled children. Summer camps designed just for these special kids – That’s how Camp Hope began in 1993. By 1995, Elena recognized the need for a day care center — a safe place where poor parents could leave handicapped children during the day so they could work. The day care grew and started providing physical therapy, schooling and meals.
With the support of Impact Ministries and Fellowship Bible Church, we began the challenge of opening an office of family support 16 years ago. Our team consists of professionals in clinical and educational psychology, systemic family therapy and family counseling. In our country rates of divorce, abuse, and infidelity are alarming. This triggers gain in the depression and psychosomatic diseases. Children are affected by these situations, which results in high rates of alcohol and drug consumption, mainly in adolescence, as well as improper handling of sexuality. Acceptance of unhealthy life patterns is increasingly common, so family welfare is at risk.
A young boy grows up in war-ravaged Uganda, Africa, in the 1970’s, during the brutal rule of Dictator Iddi Amin Dada. He experiences abject poverty, disease, fear and rejection from his own family after becoming a Christian. When he is disowned by his father and chased away from his home because of his faith, he starts wondering the dangerous streets of Kampala. A destitute child seeking refuge, water, food and a loving family, he came to a crossroads with himself and the world. It didn’t seem possible that this boy would survive, much less accomplish so much for himself as well as his community when he became a man. He was once a desperate boy on the verge of oblivion, but today he is a responsible adult with great opportunities for God’s kingdom, and his name is Gerald Sseruwagi.
Julie and Vincent Mbalangu
In 2007 the Lord called us to work full-time with married couples. Broken homes in Africa have produced very many helpless children who are not well-nurtured or provided for, setting into motion a cosmic catalog of problems. Because our own marriage continues to benefit from the premarital counseling we received in 2002, and because we see training and counseling as a big necessity among couples in Uganda, we are convinced that loving marriages display the Glory of God and that God-fearing couples can work hard together to provide for their children, teaching and raising them up to the glory of God.