Ecuador 2011 Medical Team Trip Report
17 team members from the US and Canada arrived in Quito late Saturday evening, May 14. Fortunately all our luggage arrived with us! We were met by our host Steve Thompson, a missionary with Global Outreach International, and all the weary travelers were shuttled to HoJo’s for the night. Sunday morning we worshipped and fellowshipped with Pastor Felix’s congregation at Latacunga Baptist Church. This church was under construction at the time of our 2009 trip and is now complete. The church was celebrating Mother’s Day so we were able to join in that special time of honoring all the mothers. Following our time in Latacunga we stopped in Salcedo to review clinic set up for the next day, and then continued on to camp Chacaco. That evening we had team orientation and made our preparations for the first clinic day in Salcedo.
Monday and Tuesday we conducted full day clinics in Salcedo serving with Pastor Felix and his church members. The work in Salcedo has been a challenge due to persecution, but by the grace of God they are continuing to make inroads in the community. Our team, joined by National healthcare professionals, ABWE staff and Global Outreach personnel ministered to 255 people over the course of these two days (see trip stats table below). Of these, 55 made first time professions of faith and an additional 127 expressed interest for follow up by one of the church leaders. Demonstrating the love of Christ for their physical needs often opens doors for addressing their spiritual needs. The church in Salcedo is growing in spite of local persecution. At the close of our time in Salcedo, the church blessed us with a performance of traditional Ecuadorian dance by a group of local children.
On Wednesday morning we took a short break to visit The Swinging Basket at Manto de la Novia (bridal vail) waterfall. The adventurous members took the cable gondola ride across the canyon to see the waterfall from the top. We continued on to the village of Banos to tour a Catholic cathedral and visit local shops. In the late afternoon Wednesday and all day Thursday, we ministered in the rural community of Sucre. We saw fewer patients (167) in this small community, but those we saw expressed much gratitude for our presence. Pastor Angel is shepherding the flock in this community while the church building is being constructed. There were 48 first time professions of faith and 52 expressing interest for follow up. Pastor Angel will be busy reaching out to all of these.
Friday was another break/touring day as we left the camp Chacaco in the south and began to head back toward Quito. We stopped to enjoy the gardens, entertainment and lunch at La Cienega, a Historical Hacienda. We continued on to “La Mitad del Mundo” (the center of the world) at the Equator just outside of Quito. We lodged at HoJo’s for the remaining nights for ministry Saturday and Sunday at the Baptist Church in South Quito with Dr. and Pastor David Vasconez (ABWE GAP ministries). We again saw 255 patients these two days with 49 making first time professions of faith and an additional 34 expressing interest for follow up visits. Our time in Quito closed with a special recognition service led by Pastor David.
In addition to the free primary medical care clinics, free ancillary dental and vision care was provided. In most developing countries some form of primary care is available to most of the population, but it is very rare that dental and vision care are provided by the State. Only those wealthy enough to afford these services can receive this care, so it is not surprising that these two areas generate much interest when free care is provided through the local church. I don’t have statistics for the dental clinic, but we saw 298 patients in the vision clinic over the course of our clinic days, where they received visual acuity examinations and corrective glasses for near and far vision.
As the US/Canadian team returned home we were reminded of the on-going work left to the Pastors and lay members of each community to provide follow-up teaching and discipleship to 365 people. Keep them in your prayers that the local body of Christ might grow through the power of the Holy Spirit.
For more images of this trip go to the Photo Gallery.