Ecuador

World Servants began taking teams to Ecuador in 1987 and has facilitated ministry focused on the Quiche Indians. Our main national partner has been the Quiche Indian River Association of Churches, with a shared goal in making the church the center for community improvement, as well as an outpost for sharing the Good News of Jesus.

World Servants teams have assisted in building churches, schools, orphanages, clinics, and working among the disabled. Many of the communities have been able to sustain and even grow their ministries beyond World Servants’ involvement; and our continued focus is on our expanding outreach programs.

Ecuador
Aug 11, 2018 - Aug 18, 2018SalcedoIntergen./FamilyView Trip

Location Type

International

Location Information

Communities Served at this Location

Macas

A World Servants mission team is returning to Ecuador this summer to help build a school in Macas, Ecuador. Our days will be filled with building projects, Kids’ Club and celebrating the Ecuadorian culture. We will fly into Quito where we will meet with our in-country partner Sara Risser. Saturday, we will take some time to visit the sights in Quito. Early Sunday morning, we will head to Macas by van; it’s a long drive, but you’ll have a chance to see different parts of Ecuador along the way.

View the 2013 Macas Information Sheet

Article

Thanks to Andrew Niggemann of Nashville, TN for submitting this article.

As I exited the Quito airport, the familiar smell that I expected to be welcomed with, a unique mix of South American foliage and urban sprawl, was missing. It seemed as if this time I had just landed in another city in the United States, nothing as "foreign" as the initial shock I experienced when I was first here. The airport was also much more modern than I recalled, sleek glass and steel now made up the simple, yet sophisticated structure. Ecuador had changed over the past decade. Some things though, had clearly not. As I walked into the street near a small market, two young boys scurried to an empty spot on a step to count their wages for the day’s shoe-shining. Children on the street in Ecuador are a common sight. With no homes, families or means for survival, they are often forced to fend for themselves. As much as you’d love to help each hopeless face that you come across, you are advised that efforts are best made through the organizations that specialize in aid. These thoughts would have to take a back seat for now. It was late and we wanted to get a good night’s rest. A long bus ride awaited the team the next morning.

Outside of the not so sleepy town of Salcedo lies a very special place, the focus of this mission trip. Jardin del Eden happens to be the highest government-rated orphanage in the country, although you may not have recognized this fate at its humble beginnings. The orphanage was founded by Roberto Altamirano in 1989.

Growing up in an orphanage himself, Roberto was no an angel-in-training at first glance. He and his classmates were made to memorize bible verses when they misbehaved, and he joked that he had the entire bible memorized back then. When Roberto reached university age and began his studies, he set about paying regular visits to prisoners at the local jail in his free time. In these Ecuador prisons, shockingly many children were left with no choice but to live in jail with their condemned fathers. They had no other home. Small cells would at times hold several children, where cold floors served as their only bedding. Sharing what little food they were offered and participating in the daily prison drills constituted the new lives of these forgotten youths.

As the years passed, the children’s social neglect became more and more obvious to the Salcedo residents, but no one would offer a solution. One day a prisoner said to Roberto, "Nice of you to come visiting and talking, but you are like all the others. You just talk, but you don’t act. Go do something." Roberto was deeply moved by the children’s situation, and God decided the time was right to act, and He had His man. Roberto resolved to commit one year to the Lord, and began his adventure. Twenty years later, the Jardin del Eden children’s home houses 67 children and is expected to grow to over 100 in the coming months. Jardin del Eden hosts prisoners’ children, those mistreated or abandoned by their parents, children who formerly worked and lived on the streets, as well as those orphaned or whose parents are unable to support them.

This unique haven nestled in the Andes Mountains of South America provides shelter, home-cooked meals, medical care, schooling and professional training for the youths who live there. The home also offers the feeling of security in a family setting, providing moral and spiritual guidance by "Uncle" Roberto, his wife Anita, and the "mothers" assigned to each group of 12-15 children. Roberto and Anita commit to caring for each child until either he or she graduates university, or is married. It is truly a lifetime commitment, and a real family that God is creating in each child’s life.

The mission team’s focus for this particular trip was to run a Vacation Bible School for the children, and to build a new playground. As we arrived at the Jardin del Eden orphanage for the very first time, I expected to see sad faces. What I was greeted with instead were smiles as big as Texas, open arms and tongues stuck out in laughter. This isn’t a sad place at all. Surrounded by mountains and some of the most beautiful terrain I have seen, it’s obvious that God’s hand has been on this place. What they lack in so many areas, God has made up for in so many others. Don’t get me wrong, these kids are poor, very poor. But they almost don’t seem to know it.

Funny, I know many of the participants toyed with fleeting thoughts of taking one of these innocently mischievous little wonders home, offering a life of opportunity they could only dream of. Alonso, the little boy whose first greeting was a rascal tongue, stuck out as the truck he was riding in passed by. Lori, the little girl with the big smile and two front teeth that had newly fallen awaiting the adult replacements.

But I honestly don’t know that one could give them what they have here. God obviously didn’t put us in this place for that, at least not this time. What He did desire though, was to show how He is alive and well at work in the world. Make no mistake, the one and only living God is as real today as He was thousands of years ago on the mountaintop with Moses. Yes, poverty everywhere at this tiny location, lost parents, scarred pasts, less than Hollywood lives. But God has entered this place with an exclamation point; that these forgotten kids will not lack any of the love or care that the wealthiest on Rodeo Drive experience. No sir, no ma’am, these kids have a personal watch over them from the Creator himself, no guardian angels necessary here.

During our time working at the orphanage, or the children’s home as Roberto and his wife Anita prefer to call it now, emotions were understandably high. How could these kids have been abandoned, how can we help, how can they be smiling??? It’s just not fair. Most telling for me was during a play at the end of our time, that the children put on for us as a thank you. I recall during one particular song, I couldn’t tell you the words as they were in Spanish, our eyes closed as we worshipped and tried to feel the words, that’s when the tears in the room came running down, when no one but God could see.

This trip was far more about God opening our eyes to the tears, to His power, to His work in this world, to the possibilities within each of us, the difference that we can truly make on this planet than us helping the kids. Don’t get me wrong, they need our help, but I believe that God calls us to help others as much for their benefit, as to mold us into the servants that He wants us to be in His kingdom. Here’s to being open to the call, whatever form it may come in your life!