Ecuador Profile (see video clip at bottom)
Vision or Purpose Statement
Since 1896, when the first permanent missionary presence arrived in Ecuador, there have been limited results. Over the years, Ecuador has been known to have the slowest growing evangelical church on the continent. However, that is currently changing. God is moving, and for the first time in years, many people are beginning to question the religion of their fathers and seek answers.
With 95 percent of the population claiming to be Catholic and less than 3 percent following different forms of Protestantism, there is a great need for sound Biblical teaching and church planting. It is ABWE’s desire to be used of God in establishing beacons of truth throughout the country.
History – when and how the work got started
Ecuador was opened as an ABWE field in the fall of 2005. Efforts are underway to bring together families and individuals who would be called of God to reach Ecuadorians. The vision is to establish a team of church planters who will begin their effort outside the capital city of Quito, in the Tumbaco Valley.
Major Ministries: Church planting, leadership training, orphanage ministries, discipleship children and youth outreach ministries, indigenous ministries
Ecuador is a small nation filled with incredible diversity. Within hours you can travel from Andean peaks to the deep Amazon jungle or find yourself on white sandy beaches of the Pacific coast. Ecuador’s people are as diverse as the countryside. Over 65 percent of the total population is made of Mestizos, the mixed descendants of Spanish colonists and indigenous Indians, and 25 percent are from various indigenous Indian groups that still hold to the dress and culture of the forefathers.
Description of the present facilities, staff, capabilities
One family is currently serving on the field and one additional couple is in training to join them. A single physician is also due to join them in the coming year. These will form the first permanent missionary basis for ABWE in a location outside of Quito.
Needs in the community – physical, emotional, spiritual
Adequate medical and dental care can be readily obtained in the major cities of Ecuador. In smaller communities and in the Galapagos Islands services are limited, and the quality is variable and generally below U.S. standards.
Pharmacies are readily available in any city. However, the availability of some medications is sporadic, and formulations and brand names will differ from products available in the U.S. Narcotics and tranquilizers are extremely limited in availability. “Pharmacists” sometimes prescribe and dispense medications. These individuals often have little training and prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics and other inappropriate medications. Folk healers and traditional markets offer herbal and folk remedies which may do more harm than good and often preclude or interfere with proper treatment.
How ABWE is striving to address these needs
Priorities for ABWE’s first permanent presence in Ecuador are church planting, leadership training, orphanage ministries, discipleship children and youth outreach ministries, indigenous ministries. ABWE short-term medical teams will serve alongside these missionaries and national pastors by conducting simple, primary care clinics offering free medical, dental and vision services.
One of the main reasons we are going as a team is the medical ministry itself in simple mobile clinics. The spiritual ministry will be working with the nationals and/or missionaries in various opportunities. Usually these ministries will be in and through the local church with testimonies, perhaps some special music and even some out of our group preaching. Perhaps some are seeking Gods will for their life. The short-term experience is an excellent opportunity for cross-cultural exposure looking at the mission field and throughout the experience praying and asking Gods direction for our lives.
In addition ABWE full time missionaries are strengthening relationships and helping equip nationals to rebuild their country and restore their national identity.
Specific medical opportunities for short-term service - how and where YOU can plug in.
The first questions most people ask when considering a short-term medical trip are: 1. where can I serve? and 2. what will I do? Often those without formal healthcare training will think they can’t be of value on such a trip, but that just isn’t true! Of course licensed professionals must diagnose and prescribe treatment, but other team members support their work by performing various tasks, including: directing/managing the crowd, preparing treatment sheets, checking vital signs, identifying chief complaints, obtaining patient histories*, sharing their testimony/giving the plan of salvation, helping with the pharmacy, gathering trip statistics, and lots of other things. All of these are essential tasks for the clinic to run smoothly.
* The History Taker role is the “heart” of our evangelism effort. The HTs invest significant amount of time getting to know each patient by recording their medical history and all of the physical concerns they might have. Listening and interacting with patients about their physical needs opens the door for us to inquire about their spiritual needs and share our own faith. It is a very effective way of demonstrating the love of Christ and sharing the Gospel.
Testimonies from some who have served there
Our team of 14 administered primary medical, dental and vision care in three communities south of Quito. Our base was Camp Chacauco in the Patate valley, with hosts Steve and Carol Thompson. Over the course of our trip we ministered in regional towns/villages of Salcedo, Poatug and South Quito. We treated 788 patients and recorded 115 first time decisions for Christ as Savior.
Poatug was the smallest and most remote location in which we served where many Quichua Indians reside. In this small village, far removed from regular professional care, we were able to minister in a more intimate way. Although we only treated about 110 people (probably 10% of the population), 64% of adults who did not indicate knowledge of salvation when they came to the clinic made first time professions of faith.
On a break day we visited a Catholic Cathedral in the town of Banos. It is not my intention to be critical of the Catholic Church or faith; we were seeing only one example in a foreign location, but it was very troubling to observe worship directed at Mary rather than Jesus. In one display Mary was actually portrayed as replacing the Trinity. It is little wonder those raised in these doctrines are uncertain of their salvation.
Logistics: accommodations, preparations and requirements, travel and cost information
Our hosts for this trip will be Missionaries Steve and Carol Thompson who serve with Global Outreach in Patate, Ecuador about 3.5 hours south of Quito. Their camp in the beautiful Patate Valley is called Chacauco. The camp is in rustic but you’ll find it very comfortable.
Upon arrival in Quito team members will spend the first night in a Guest House before transporting the next day by bus to Camp Chacauco. Breakfast will be provided before departing and we may stop along the way for lunch or to visit ministry sites on the way in. All the rest of your meals will be provided by the Camp and prepared by qualified staff. A break day will be planned mid-trip for a time to relax and experience the culture.
The project fee will be about $800 per participant, which includes all lodging, local transportation, meals and contributions to medical and ministry supplies. Air transportation is arranged separately by the participant but must be synchronized with the team schedule.
How you can sign up
God's been tugging at your heart to join Him on the mission field. You've cruised the websites, read the brochures, talked with others, checked your schedule, and prayed for the Lord's direction. You may already have a sense of where God is calling you, or you may still be undecided. That's OK. You may know how you're going to pay for the trip, both in finances and time, or you may not really know how all that is going to work out. You've come to the place where you have peace about trusting the Lord with the details. Now it's time to step out in faith.
If you believe God is calling you to serve with us in medical missions, please review the information contained on the navigation tab to the left entitled "Qualifications for Short Term Team Service". If you meet these qualifications and are in agreement with ABWE's Doctrinal Statement, you may begin the Application process at ABWE's secure on-line site: https://applications.abwe.org/ Select the Medical Short Term (Rotations and Teams) Application.
For more information about this trip, contact Rick Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-358-4801