Trip to El Salvador leads to life of service for David McGee

“He is Mr. Teamwork,” said Tim Carson, pastor at Broadway Christian Church in Columbia, Mo.

David McGee, the communications director at the ENLACE El Salvador outreach program, has the uncanny ability to create lasting relationships with whomever he comes in contact with.

“He is always engaged with people,” Carson said. “He feeds on relationships.”

McGee’s life is devoted to helping the lives of the less fortunate and improving the communities around them.

“I’ve known Dave for three years and became fascinated with Dave’s part in the organization at ENLACE,” Carson said.

The ENLACE outreach program works in conjunction with the churches and impoverished communities in El Salvador to better the lives of the people and their communities.

“What ENLACE is all about, is to be a support or back office to churches and communities that have a desire to help their communities,” McGee said.  “We help connect the local church to the community.”

In 2002, McGee was attending Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., where his path toward ENLACE and El Salvador began.  McGee managed a rock climbing gym where he met his wife Jenny.  Jenny was traveling to El Salvador for graphic design. With McGee by her side, the initial trip was, inevitably, a life altering and inspirational experience for the two.

“I saw people without many resources helping other people with even less resources,” McGee said. “My passion came from seeing first-hand how rural pastors and community members were working towards improving their lives.”

McGee became involved with ENLACE. He and Jenny stayed in El Salvador for eight years. During that time they had their two children.

ENLACE is derived from the Spanish word “Enlazar,” meaning to link, connect and form a relationship. McGee lives by these words and expresses them through his works with the organization.

McGee’s affiliation with ENLACE has given him the inherited duty of getting others involved, and spreading the message throughout churches in Columbia, Mo., and across the U.S.

“It has given me a way to be a part of something significant and meaningful, to bring change to people’s lives,” McGee said.

One of the partnerships McGee has helped establish is with Broadway Christian Church in Columbia, Mo.  McGee was able to create a strong bond with the people within the church and has inspired them to help with ENLACE’s movement in El Salvador.

“We are very lucky to have him with us,” said Debby Graham, communicator of outreach ministry at Broadway Christian Church.  “Dave is a great person. His passion for his own life translates into a passion for making other people’s lives better.”

McGee leads teams to El Salvador, who in turn works with and helps the people rebuild their communities.

“The growth has been way beyond what is just happening in El Salvador, it has been an awakening,” McGee said.  “The churches use to think the only interaction was converting people to the religion of the church. The churches in El Salvador are showing love through their actions and collaborations.”

Just as important, the teams also help restore the faith lost in these communities.  The ENLACE organization and associated teams give the people in El Salvador the tools and training to help themselves and their families, and sustain a healthy living and lifestyle for the future.

“The response to our groups has been incredible,” Graham said.  “Working with the same church for a long period of time has allowed us to establish relationships.”

McGee has led and been a part of many projects that have helped the communities in El Salvador. Some of these projects include, home gardens, community economic development, housing, infrastructure, water and sanitation, and eco-stoves to name a few. With the assistance from dedicated teams, McGee is similar to a landlord serving the greater good of communities in other parts of the world.

“He is essentially always working, always trying to come up with a better way of doing things, and finding ways to teach,” Graham said.  “We support their program financially, and we send mission teams to El Espino in El Salvador.”

ENLACE has eight core outcomes which include:

  • Develop leader churches
  • Build the organizational capacity  of community associations
  • Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
  • Improve enrollment rates and increase access to education
  • Assure local environmental sustainability and bolster community health
  • Improve infant and maternal health
  • Prevent the spread of infectious and viral diseases
  • Strengthen community infrastructure

McGee’s current plan for ENLACE is to put more emphasis on the eco-stove implementation in El Salvador. He plans on helping increase the overall health of communities and prevent the deaths of many children.

“This fall we’re doing a big campaign for eco-stoves in Columbia to help with donations,” McGee said.  “People are cooking over open-fires, and it’s not a safe environment.”

McGee cannot be summed up with one phrase or nickname, however, “Mr. Teamwork” could be a title we all should strive to achieve.

“I’ve had a chance to go down to El Salvador,” Carson said.  “What Dave does is great; he is always super positive and a great support for us.”

For more information about ENLACE go to www.enlaceonline.org

By Matt McCormack
Corner Post Staff Writer