Medical Caravan in the books

This past week the Santiago Partnership along with our international volunteers completed another medical caravan. We served about 500 Compassion children in the communities of Juan Montalvo, La Carera and San Antontio de la Pachka. Thank you for all of you who served.

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Ministry in Santo Domingo

The Santiago Partnership continues its relief efforts in collaboration with our partner denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church of Ecuador. As survivors from the recent earthquake are being sheltered in the Covenant campgrounds in Santo Domingo, we have been providing them with their medical care. A week ago, our medical staff attended to all of those who had a medical need seeing the vast majority. Yesterday, Kim continued their care by seeing 36 patients who needed further help or those who had arrived within this past week. See the pictures to get more of an idea of what life is like for these folks from Pedernales who within seconds lost their homes, possessions and in some cases, their loved ones. Support our efforts here: https://www.santiagopartnership.org/give/ by placing a gift and writing “Earthquake Relief” where it says personal message.

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The Medical Clinic visits the Coast

This past week the Santiago Partnership sent our clinic medical staff out to the coast to help those who have been affected by the recent earthquake. In one day our staff, with a team of medical students we joined up with, saw over 300 people desperately needing medical assistance. We also just traveled out to Santo Domingo to attend to people who lost their homes in Pedernales and are being sheltered in the Covenant campgrounds. If you would like to support these efforts, you can donate here:  https://www.santiagopartnership.org/give/ (Please put “Earthquake Relief” where it says Personal Message)

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The need for water

Pictures of the distribution of water by government officials in the area of those affected by the recent earthquake. They were throwing water off of the trucks while continuing to move forward! Water is so desperately needed as much of the water systems have been cut off due to the effects of the earthquake. Covenant World Relief now has their giving page setup where you can contribute directly to Ecuador earthquake relief:http://www.covchurch.org/…/projec…/disasters/ecuador-relief/

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Pictures taken of the Earthquake’s Destruction

 

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A family of four lost their lives in this home that dreadful evening.

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The smell of decaying corpses was horrible. This is taken from the town of Tarqui, just outside of Manta. One of the areas hardest hit. This section is being blocked off because all of the buildings are unstable and the whole neighborhood will have to be demolished.

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In this home were 20 family members and extended family members. 7 lost their lives but 13 were able to be rescued.

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This is the beachfront in Manta. The machinery is putting all of the ruble from destroyed homes and buildings here. People are searching through it for their belongings, items of value and other things personal to them.

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Pictures of the Covenant’s efforts to provide relief for those on the coast

Pictures of the Covenant’s efforts in Ecuador to distribute relief to those affected by the recent earthquake. The Youth of the Covenant’s Northern Coast conference is doing the heavy lifting in distributing the relief to those in need, while goods are sent from Covenant churches all over the country. It has been amazing to see the unity and solidarity as we work together to do something to help out. You can support these efforts by either giving to Covenant World Relief at http://www.covchurchgiving.com/p-174-disaster-relief.aspx or through the Santiago Partnership at https://www.santiagopartnership.org/give/ (Please put “Earthquake relief” where it says add a Personal Message)

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Ecuador Earthquake Update

IKim with friendt has now been almost 13 days since the devastating earthquake hit the Ecuadorian coast.  Some days it seems like a lifetime ago and other times it seems like it just happened yesterday.  It is probably to the point in the U.S. that the earthquake is no longer getting a lot of media attention.  My parents have told me that there really hasn’t been a lot in the news since the week it happened.  There was a news piece on FoxNews I am told of the ONE news anchor that came to Ecuador.  ONE.  I know there are many things going on in the lives of those in the U.S.  The death of Prince, the birthday of Queen Elizabeth, etc, etc…

But life here doesn’t really have the capacity to have an “out” so to speak when it comes to the earthquake disaster here.  Relief efforts continue whether they get new coverage or not.  People mourn and grieve at the great losses they have experienced.  And even if we personally have not experienced loss, we mourn with them, we lament with them at the destruction and the lives that will never be the same.

Since April 16th, the reports have said that 659 people are dead, 16,600 injured, 50 missing and about 7,000 buildings destroyed.  These numbers are likely to increase.

The IPEE (National Covenant Church of Ecuador) Camp in Santo Domingo is being used as a temporary shelter for a group of people from a city that was over 80% destroyed, Pedernales.  There are currently about 70 people being housed there and IPEE has coordinated a rotating schedule of people from churches in various districts from Ecuador to come and provide assistance in the form of counseling, pastoral care, recreation, job skills training, medical care and music. The goal is to have the temporary residents take ownership of the space and time there to coordinate their meals and cleaning. There is a general camp administrator and someone from the area of Service or FACE from IPEE is in charge of the overall decision making.

This week has been a time of planning and evaluating what is the best way to do long term relief efforts in an organized fashion. Below is an official letter from the President of the Covenant Church of Ecuador, Henry Burbano.  Click on the link below:

HENRY BURBANO EARTHQUAKE LETTER ENGLISH (1)

If you are interested in giving toward to relief efforts in Ecuador,  here are 2 ways:

Covenant World Relief 

The Santiago Partnership

The weight of our world…

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Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  

1 Thessalonians 5:11

It’s a little hard to explain the feelings and emotions that we feel each day since last Saturday when the earthquake hit.  I feel like there is so much I want to say, but I’m not sure if it will articulate well, but I figured I would try anyway, because I need the release of letting it go and I’m sure people are wondering how things are.  You also may be thinking that because we are safe and sound, why are we so emotional?  I will do my best to explain…

Since Monday of this week, there have been meetings, a lot of meetings with the Covenant National Church of Ecuador, F.A.C.E., the Santiago Partnership and basically anyone in the area who wants to attend and be involved.  We have been working to plan how best we can help those on the coast that desperately, DESPERATELY need help.  These meetings are draining.  In all honesty, we don’t want to think about the things we are talking about.  We don’t want to imagine what people are facing just miles and hours from where we are.  I personally don’t want to think of women, children, families torn apart, children without parents, parents missing children or facing the reality that they will never see them again.  I don’t want to imagine the images that our fellow missionaries, pastors and lay people are seeing.  Because let’s be honest, it’s easier not to think about it.  It is easier to think about MY children who are safe and sound, MY family who is together over dinner to pray and eat together, to be silly together and to ‘be normal’.  It is easier than thinking of those families that have nothing, no water, no food, no families…no hope tonight.  I feel bad admitting that, but I feel it needs to be said so I can say this…

I remember when we lived in the States and there were natural disasters that were…”out there”, in Japan, in Haiti.  I remember being, well, jaded.  Knowing that because it didn’t affect me or those I knew and loved that, that was THAT!  I prayed of course, every once in a while I thought about it…at a distance.  But this isn’t a distance away now.  It is here, in my country.  It could just as easily have been our family who was lost and wouldn’t I want someone to help me?  To help us?  To find us, to bring us food, clothing, shelter?  How can I be different thinking of others now that aren’t far away?  Why has it taken an earthquake here to help me realize that?  It became clear to me this morning that because I remember what I felt like in the States with those disasters “over there” and those suffering across the ocean.  It didn’t faze me…I could look at pictures, see the loss, see stories of rescue and I wasn’t even fazed.  But now, being here, it is a whole new thing.  I feel like we are carrying the weight of our world, our world in Ecuador.  We have angst to help but want to make sure we help and not make things worse, we want to GO but we know we need to prepare before we do so.   It such a fury of thoughts running through our head that sometimes we can’t put our thoughts together once we get home.

We just prayed for Joel as he will be going to the Coast tomorrow to evaluate further action with other church leaders.  I looked into the eyes of our children and was so thankful for God’s protection and provision.  But we also think of those who are suffering.  The orphans, the widows, those who have nothing right now and we pray for them, we lament with them and we petition you to do the same.  I know it is far easier to not imagine what things must be like here, I know, I get it, I have been there.  But I ask you to go there.  Go deeper and let yourself stand with those who are suffering here because this is what God calls us to.  Our neighbor which Scripture speaks about is not just our literal neighbor next door.  If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves as Mark 12 says, then we should be feeling what they feel, hurting when they hurt, lamenting and suffering when they suffer.  It’s not the easy way.  It is much easier to put it out of our minds, look the other way, “focus on the positives”, but we live in a world where bad things, awful and unimaginable things happen and as Christ followers, we must CHOOSE to love, choose to show compassion and mercy and build each other up.  Choose it today.

Earthquake hits Ecuadorian coast

Last evening at approximately 7:00 p.m. an earthquake shook all of Ecuador.  The quake measured 7.8 and hit on the coast near the town of Pedernales where we have a Covenant community.  This size quake is the largest Ecuador has seen since 1979.  At this point, national news is reporting that 77 people lost their lives during the quake and 588 injured.  Power is being restored to many of the coastal cities and towns.
First of all, what I know is most important for all of you.  All Covenant missionaries are safe and were not affected by the quake.  My wife and I were just arriving home from a date when it hit.  As we were leaving the vehicle, the quake hit and at first we didn’t know what was going on but then after we realized it was an earthquake, we quickly hurried up to our second floor apartment to see our children and our friends, Mandy Hjelm de Suarez and Ricardo Suarez, all safe and sound.  It lasted what seemed like forever but which reports say now was over 50 seconds.
The reports from our Covenant sisters and brothers here in Ecuador are that there doesn’t seem to be any churches or any Covenanters, individuals or families, affected by the quake.  However, I want to stress there that these are reports from late last night and so that may change as we learn more.
Here was the official word from the U.S. Embassy:
The U.S. Embassy in Quito would like to inform U.S. citizens throughout Ecuador that a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred at 1858 in northern Ecuador.  Some local damage to buildings and possibly to bridges and roadways has been reported in Quito and Guayaquil.  Cell phone and land line telephones are working intermittently.  A tsunami warning has been issued for coastal areas of Ecuador with potential waves of less than one meter.  Please stay tuned to local news sources for up-to-date information.
Below are some pictures of the damage shared by national coverage:
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Light of the World

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“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”  Matthew 5:14

When I was younger, I LOVED lighthouses.  I remember having a poster of a lighthouse on my wall with a huge wave hitting it in a storm.  What an amazing a beautiful image to wake up to each day.  Much like a lighthouse, Jesus was sent into a world of darkness to be a light.  We are called to do the same as followers of Jesus.  Just like a lighthouse, a city can be seen clearly from a distance, even in the darkness.  As Jesus was light sent into a world of darkness, we must also be the same in a world of darkness.

An amazing example of the above illustration is the church that we partner with, Iglesia Emanuel.  Over 10 years ago, the Pastor of the church, Pastor Jose, had a vision for the church to be a light in the surrounding community of Juan Montalvo, just outside of Cayambe.  He had a vision for building a clinic to serve the people in the area of healthcare, as the majority of its inhabitants are unable to afford healthcare for their families.  Around the same time as Pastor Jose felt a call to build a clinic, Joel and I felt God tugging on our hearts to start a clinic and to help children in need.  After so many years, God has brought our calls and visions together in a small community in Ecuador.  Iglesia Emanuel and Pastor Jose have built the clinic and as of today, it is open to the community of Juan Montalvo to serve those in need and to be a light.  As God has called so many before us to be a light in a dark world, Iglesia Emanuel and Pastor Jose have answered that call and are a light in a community where poverty, illness and lack of access to many things are limited.  We consider it a privilege to call them partners and friends and we are thankful that God has gone before us to pave the way to be the hands and feet and light of Christ in a dark world.

Written by Kim