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.
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.
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. Her involvement and direction becomes a highlight of the project for many IMPACT team members.