It is so great to tell you about the work that we are doing for the Lord with Teen Missions. Many things have happened in these months here at Teen Missions Ecuador. One of the biggest was the decision of Teen Missions to move the base from the mountains in the Sierra area of the country to the coast. Yes, we are trying to sell the property up at the mountains and are in the process of moving to property on the coast of Ecuador. The new place is located to an hour and a half from the biggest city of Ecuador, Guayaquil. We will be located in a place called General Villamil, Playas. It is a beautiful place about 10 minutes from the beach on the Pacific Ocean.
So as all this is going on, we had an adult American team in March that came from Lancaster Community Church in Ohio, with Pastor Joe Barber, the son of Richard and Gina Barber who are staff with Teen Missions in Florida. Richard and Gina came, too. We did some work at the new place putting some poles at the coordinates of the property to start fencing the property. Also they got the metal rebar ready for the columns of the first building that we are going to build—a pole barn. We are trying to have that done by the end of the year because we want to run the first Boot Camp with the kids from the coast then.
Another team from Lancaster Community Church is coming in June to continue helping with the construction, as well as two teams from Teen Missions in July—a preteen team and a teen team. Richard and Gina will be leading the teen team and then staying here in Ecuador for six months. Other staff and volunteers are coming to help start up the base here on the coast. Before all this happens, we are gettings some things ready: putting some posts in the property, meeting pastors and churches sharing with them about what Teen Missions does and getting a tractor to clean up the property. There are a lot of bushes that we need to remove, but the bigger trees are going to stay.
For now we do have Dunia and Alicia helping us to take care of the base in Latacunga. Things are going well there… Alicia just came back from Honduras after finishing her internship there, and she is going to help us as staff here in Ecuador. She is the first Ecuadorian girl to do her internship in another country and come back to join staff. We are now sending Pablo, an indian guy from the Shuar tribe from the jungle of Ecuador. He will be the second student graduated who go to another country for his internship and is the first Shuar guy missionary of his tribe. Praise the Lord for that! We also have another young man from Spain, Tadeo, who is volunteering and helping us doing some work here too. He is still a young guy, but we are also training him and hope he will join BMW.
About our family, as some of you know now we have three kids. Kadisha, the oldest, is five; Astrid, is the middle one, she is three; and finally Nissi, she is one year and six months. For now we had to move to the coast because our two older kids are going to school. Kadisha is going to first grade and Astrid is going to kindergarten. We had to move here by March 25th, because on March 28th we had to register them in school. Thanks to the Lord we could register them. For the first two weeks we stayed at a house of a guy´s aunt who has been very good to us, until we could find another house to rent. Then we moved to another house that belongs to some friends that we met here from a church. We are renting that house for six months. If it is necessary because there is nothing for us to live at the new property, we will have to rent it for another six months or so.
I know that many of you have heard about the earthquake. It has been very bad—there are more than 400 people dead, more than 1,000 hurt and many others that have not been found yet. It happened close to where we are. Guayaquil, one of the main cities that is close to us, was affected—a bridge collapsed and many other buildings are broken. Another city called Santa Elena was affected, too, but Pedernales and Manta, and other cities were 50-80% destroyed. We praise the Lord that where we are in Playas, we were not affected at all, but we feel hurt for all that people there that are having a bad time.
We praise the Lord and are thankful to all our friends and family who care about us, we love you so much guys.
We are very excited to see what the Lord wants to do here. I hope that you can help us to pray for:
- Spiritual growth for our family
- Missionary burden
- Opportunities to share the Gospel
- Opportunities to share the ministry with the pastors, churches and parents
- Our marriage
- Our kids
- Financial support
- A buyer for the property in the mountains