In 2019, Haggai leader Claudia Castillo Blanco was discouraged. Troubling social issues were emerging in El Salvador and she was personally burdened for the women in her country. Together, she and a group of female Haggai leaders began to pray for their nation, and they were given a vision for how they could affect change.
“There are fights that can be fought only by women; if this attack is against our family, it will find us, women, in the middle!”
Some of the women in that group had been part of the first Latin American Haggai Leader Experience in Guatemala, where they met Haggai CEO Dr. Bev Upton Williams. Inspired by a message she gave, the women began to plan an experience specifically for Christian women in El Salvador.
Motivated to share this message in their own country, Claudia and her team began the organization of the first National Seminar for women. They collaborated with Haggai leader Jendry Perez of Costa Rica and hoping to replicate their experience in Guatemala, they invited Dr. Bev to speak.
“[We] invited Dr. Bev to help us launch this mobilization of women in El Salvador because we were organizing the first National Seminar for women in the country. We couldn’t believe it when she said yes!”
The Gospel impact that emerged from this event went beyond Claudia and her team’s wildest dreams. Jendry helped them build a model for sharing the Gospel with women facing abuse and other traumatic circumstances. A new committee was formed to plan regular events ministering to women in the region. Six women from the first seminar traveled to Costa Rica to be trained by Jendry and since then they have started a new ministry for female victims of abuse in El Salvador. Together, they are working alongside local officials to connect with women in need throughout their communities.
(Photos from the first National Seminar for women.)
When the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, plans for a second National Seminar were quickly adapted. Claudia and her team prayed for direction to move forward, and within just a few months they launched a Virtual Haggai Leader Experience (VHLE).
“The result was incredible! We have a board in process of legalizing [us] as [an]NGO, we have a team who are experts in managing technology, [and] we have trained a team of women who are facilitating these experiences. We have a team of around eight to 10 women and eight to 10 men [facilitating virtually]; many of them have also been invited to facilitate regionally. This has become a model for the region.”
Since launching that first women’s seminar, Claudia and her team have continued to support VHLEs for female leaders, inviting leaders from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica to come alongside them.
“While we were thinking about just having a seminar, the Lord was thinking about launching a movement!”
This story recounts the investment of the following women (Haggai leaders):
Carolina Portillo, EL Salvador October 2019
Rosario de Navas, El Salvador October 2019
Rocío Cárcamo, El Salvador October 2019
Jendry Perez, Costa Rica, October 2019
Lorena de Velásquez, El Salvador, October 2019
Nelly Aparicio, EL Salvador March 2020 to October 2020
Evelyn Solórzano, El Salvador October 2019
Evangelina Funes, El Salvador Jan-Feb 2021
Rubidia Campos, EL Salvador February 2021
Aura Ivania Garcia, Nicaragua February 2021
Rosemary Córdova de Henriquez, El Salvador, October 2019