Hello Family and Friends,
Twenty-one team members can accomplish so much when they are unified in the task. Upon arrival we were able to help construct an Obstacle Course for the Ecuador Boot Camp, which would be running while we were at the base. The teens appreciated the opportunity to be on the ground floor of the first Boot Camp in Playas. They built Elijah’s Chariot, painted a set of wooden blocks for the Books of the Bible, built a slough, cleared a path for the Wilderness Wandering, and built Jacob’s Ladder. We also had opportunity to be judges for the Obstacle Course once the Ecuador teens had arrived. They then started working on the fencing of the property and mixing concrete for the floor of the building that was built last year.
The Ecuador leaders had arrived and gone through seminar and team members were registering. A few of our team members were able to help with registration, which was an educational experience for them as they practiced their Spanish skills. As the teens figured out ways to communicate, there was an immediate bonding of the teams and their Spanish/English skills improved greatly as they spent time together. Having an American team and a national team operating together but independent of one another can be difficult, but by planning our schedules together, the days ran quite smoothly. During Boot Camp, rising time was 5:30. We would then have morning devotions, meals and evening devotions at the same time. Our meals were American-style food and the Ecuadorian Team would eat their favorites. We did enjoy a couple of meals together. After smelling our pizza cooking one evening, the Ecuadorian Team asked if we could all have pizza together sometime. It was a lot of pizza, but it was so much fun. Since our team was mixing and pouring concrete, the Ecuadorian Team would join us and Richard would teach concrete class. They all worked together mixing concrete and pouring the floor. On our pack-out day to go home the Ecuadorian Team prepared a banquet for us and we were all able to eat together in the pavilion on concrete floors which the teams had worked so hard on.
While in Ecuador we had a terrible accident. The blade on the weed eater broke in half and a piece went flying. It hit two of our team members. Both are doing well. Morgan got an infection just after arriving home and had to have her wound re-opened and had a pump on it for about a month, but it has been removed and she is doing well. I checked on Mickey and his doctor said his wound looked good and he was to use his crutches when/if needed. We are thankful for all of the people who lift us up and all of those who lift our team members in prayer. It was a terrible accident, but God was with us. Both Mickey and Morgan are doing well, and things could have been so much worse. We continue to thank God for watching over them and the rest of the team this summer. A friend said that our guardian angels are probably exhausted after a missions trip. We have no idea when, where or how often we have God’s protection surrounding us.
We shared that we had a special meal our last day in Ecuador. It was a typical Ecuadorian meal—pork steaks, sauces, potatoes, corn. It was so good. A few hours later while bussing to the airport, I (Gina) started getting a lot of pain in my stomach. It continued all night while we waited at the airport. I was able to move some duffle bags and lean against them and tried to rest a little. It got to the point that it hurt to breathe. By the time we made our flight I was feeling a little relief and was able to get to Florida. I had pain in my side which would come and go for the next few days. Friday, we got everyone on their flights and were headed home when I started having pain again. Monday, I went to the doctor, and after blood work and an ultrasound, it was determined that I had passed a gallstone and my gallbladder needed to come out. If I watched my diet carefully we would be able to do our deputation and surgery was scheduled for September 7. Due to Hurricane Irma, surgery has been delayed twice. It was scheduled for September 21st, everything went well and I am recovering quickly.
After our team left, the Ecuadorian Team completed the fencing of the property. They then moved to doing evangelism in Playas. Partnering with a local Baptist church one day and Church of God another, the mission was door-to-door evangelism. Fifty-eight first-time decisions for Christ were made and the local churches will provide follow up discipleship. It is exciting and we count it a privilege to be able to share in the ministry of Ecuador.
We are back to our normal routine here at Teen Missions. Richard is back to working on some of the investments and overseeing the maintenance of the property. Gina is looking at next year’s food list and possible changes. Food ordering will begin in January.
We are still involved with the Ecuador base. We continue to stay in close contact with Leonidas and Mirian, our base coordinators. Leonidas has been busy looking at properties more centrally located in Ecuador. Richard will be going down in October, and along with Leonidas, they will choose the property to pursue. We will then take a volunteer group down and salvage all that we can and abandon the Playas property.
We find it necessary to once again share the need for additional support. We lost a couple contributors this year and giving was down during the summer. In order to meet our monthly needs we will have to raise $600 a month. We truly appreciate all of you that give faithfully and we are reaching out for new supporters. This is a life-changing ministry for the young people that participate. We hope to continue serving here at Teen Missions as we have seen so many young people come to the Lord either at Boot Camp or on the field. We have also had the privilege to hear from many former team members who are now serving as pastors or as missionaries. Please make this a matter of prayer.
Hurricane Irma Update:
Again thank you for your faithful prayers. Our neighbor’s fence blew over into our yard and there was a large amount of debris from neighboring trees, but no damage to our home. Our neighbor to the left had a tree come down that put a hole in their roof and dining room. Through all of this there was no water in the house – it sealed itself. As you know most of Florida was without power and water for some time. We are thankful that within twenty-four hours we had both water and power. We are also thankful to own a generator. It came in handy for the twenty hours we were without power and we were then able to share it with friends, as many of the staff live on Merritt Island and were without power and water several days longer than we were. A couple of evenings friends came over to “soak up” some of our cool air and we all shared dinner together. It was fun just to get together and relax, sharing stories and laughing together. Good things happen in hard times.
At Teen Missions we still have a lot of water and trees to contend with. All available staff are working to clear sidewalks and roads of fallen trees. There are trees down everywhere so it will be some time before it is all cleared. There was also some roof damage but no buildings were destroyed. The life-size Tabernacle replica took another hard hit, but much of it was taken down prior to the storm and is in storage. We are still waiting for the water to decline in order to get to the Tabernacle to make the necessary repairs.
We know we have repeated this many times, but once again, thank you for your many prayers. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate them and you.
Richard & Gina Barber