Saturday, June 20, 2009


Click HERE to see Maya's 630 pictures from her trip!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

#10 From Ecuador: Email from leader that stayed in Quito

Hi Everyone,

Well, it took me longer that expected, but here is my first update from Ecuador. I got here Saturday night and some of the folks from Carmen Bajo were waiting for me. It was Sylvia and her family, my precious friends from the famous hillside at Carmen Bajo. They had walked there to meet me, a three hour walk. The level of commitment and love here never ceases to amaze me. Katty and a few members from our group were there to pick me up, so we gave Sylvia´s family a ride back to their neighborhood. In Latin America, you can ALWAYS squeeze five more people into a van. No problem.

Sunday, we attended church at Carmen. The church was bursting at the seems, Glory to God! This building that we broke ground for only two years ago now needs to be expanded to hold more people. The plan to start building up on it this summer (up is the only place to go in Quito). I think they want us to help with that project next summer. We had a precious time of worship with them. When some of our kids could see that there would not be enough communion cups, they quickly started taking one to share with someone else so that everyone would be served. That is how this group has worked. I cannot say enough about the willing attitudes and selfless behavior.

We all worked very hard yesterday leveling ground and renovating the playground here at Elohim. Last night we madly scrambled to get the teams ready for El Coca and Santo Domingo. They each went their own ways early this morning. Some of the girls on the El Coca team were a little unnerved to find out that we had misunderstood the need for the lice shampoo. It was actually for our team to use at the end of each day, not for treating the locals. Needless to say, this took a little time for adjustment. I have to admit kind of a sick enjoyment in watching their initial reactions. Everyone was able to adjust to the idea of holding and loving a child with lice as just as worthy and precious and in need of love as one without lice. I think that they are going to have the experience of their lives. From what I understand, the poverty there is much worse that it is here in Quito, and there are places here that are pretty extreme to those of us who have never known it. They will be helping to install a sewage system and a new well with a storage tank for clean water access.

The Santo Domingo team will remove damaged sections from the soccer court (it is concrete) and the workmen there will lay new. They have a Saturday morning evangelistic soccer program there that reaches far into the surrounding neighborhoods. I like that Elohim´s strategy is to reach children first and have the families follow. This way they raise up a generation of kids to continue the work. It is a very long term vision, but it seems to be very effective. We have heard of many of the kids that have come through the foundation who either have already attended seminary, are there now, or plan to attend. They come out with a vision to become part of the work. Alejandro´s vision of 100 pastors, 100 churches across Ecuador is developing before our very eyes. They now have church plants in two more places north of Quito, one in Pesillo and one in Corazon. Yes, they want us to send teams there next year. What a privilege to be a part of this!

We did hear from both the El Coca and Santo Domingo teams from their destinations, and they are safe and sound and working well already.

Teams 3 and 4 worked hard again here at Elohim again today. The guys installed the playground equipment that had been renovated, and the girls painted and painted and painted. We are covering the existing puke green color with a nice cream color. It takes a coat of primer and then the real paint, and it is a very large building, so I think it will take us all week. We did VBS for 51 kids today, and it was a kick. Tomorrow we will have more, and Katty says that she expects 200 by Thursday. Katty is a master with children. She can take a group that is hard to reach and motivate, and engage them completely for hours. She treats each one as though they were her own. What a gift. We are all learning so much.

Well let me assure you that everyone is just fine and there is no need to worry. This group is in the hands of God, and I can see it in their joy. I am so blessed to be here! Thank you all so much for your love and support!

#9 From Ecuador: Email from Leader in El Coca

Today was the most beautiul day I personally spent it Ecuador, the trip we took through the mountains and waterfalls and the jungle and the mist and the lakes and the people and the landscape...I´m totally in awe. We spent the first six hours traveling to Coca. Then we stopped at the hotel, which is quite nice but no air so it looks great. We went to the project and got introduced to the people and the children and of course I was so overwhelmed I couldn´t do much else but cry. Later, we went to move bricks and helped get a wall up. Tomorrow is going to be the really hard working day at the project. We will be installing a water tank and two bathrooms. I´ve got so much to tell you about this place but I´m really pressed for time at this little internet cafe... suffice to say we are tired, hot, dirty and want a shower otherwise we are overwhelmed with the need here in the jungle with the indian people. When Christina, Holly, Violeta, Sam, Preston, Nick, Mr Floyd, or I want to tell you about it ,give us a moment of your time. They are such a precious people group. We are also planning to do the proclaimers if possible tomorrow.

#8 From Ecuador: Email from one of the kids that went to El Coca

Hello everybody, I hope this email finds you all well!

I am now in El Coca, a small poor village 6 hours driving away from Quito! The nine of us in our small group left early this morning and traveled here. It was absolutely beautiful! There was so much green and jungle and waterfalls everywhere! We arrived safely and even got to try some sugarcane juice on the side of the road that a lady made for us! We worked for a few hours since it was already late in the afternoon and then were shown some of the things that the Elohim church is doing here. It is so hot and humid it is ridiculous, but we still need to wear long pants and shirts to avoid bug bites. Yesterday Pastor Alejandro gave an amazing speech about the vison of his church, Elohim. Their vision is to start 100 churches with 100 pastors! It was very convicting and really made me want to be a missionary/pastor to one of those churces! El Coca is the 2nd church and by the end of the year Pastor Alejandro says that there will be seven totally completed and functional!! By next year a team will be sent to help start an orphanage at another city. We will be here the next 3 days working all day and then doing VBS´s in the late afternoon. Please pray for us that we will be safe and that God will open the hearts of this city and it´s people. Alejandro explained that there are a lot of problems here including alcoholism, drugs, and prostitution. We hope to be a light to these desperate people. Pray also for continued strength physically and spiritually and if I am not able to write again, for a safe trip back to Quito!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pray for the team in Ecuador

Tomorrow...Tuesday 2 of the 4 teams leave Quito for other areas in Ecuador.

Maya's team goes to Santo Domingo and the other team is going to El Coca. Both of these areas have malaria carrying mosquitos. These kids are as protected as they will ever be but please keep them in your prayers none-the-less!

Please leave comments for Maya if you want so when she gets back she can read them.


#7 from Ecuador: Week in Review from the Leader

To all of my friends,

I can´t believe a week has passed by and it seems like we have only been here a couple of days. In many ways, the days are blurring together, but we are having a great time and we are ministering to many people by sharing the Gospel and shouldering with them the burden of construction here in Quito. This week we have seen many people come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ through our various VBS´s, presentations, outreach programs, and just generally running into people in the street. It has been very encouraging to see so many people open to the Gospel. However, it is disheartening to see so many to ignore Jesus Christ. We still have so much to do. Also, we have done our bid at ¨sweat equity¨ We have done a lot of work for people around the Carmen Bajo neighborhood. We have been to the homes of Jose, Kenya, and Rosa. We have helped them to stop the flow of mud that happens during the rainy seasons. In José´s case, we have helped him by building a wheelchair ramp so that he can get in and out of his home and to his workshop. And to be a productive member of society. This has given him a return of dignity that I am most proud of.

We went to church yesterday with the people of Carmen Bajo. The church service started at 9:30 and before we knew it, it was 1:30 and the church service was just getting out. Can you imagine people in the US allowing that happen? The outrage of the time we have spent would be great in the US. Anyway, we had a great time. We had everything but a baptism. We had testimonies, communion, singing, sharing, a message, baby dedications... it was fantastic. Barb & I met a couple from Michigan. He is a doctor who is coming to help in the clinic in the neighborhood. They were so nice and it was great to talk in English for a change. Yesterday afternoon, we went to the market. It was fun bargaining over the wares we were purchasing.

Today, we begin week 2. We are all together at Eloheim in Quito. We are shoveling cement and sand, and moving it to the second level that will become the future theological seminary for the many children that Alejandro and Katy are raising up to be future leaders. We are also moving large playground equipment and then leveling out the playground, fixing the playground equipment and returning it back for a refurbished playground for all the children. That is extra fun for the our Hope youth. They love playing soccer and basketball, and just generally running around with the Eloheim kids.

Tomorrow we will all split up for the next 4 days. Team 1 will be going with me to El Coca. We are leaving at 6 AM. Alejandro says that there is a new road to El Coca that will take us 6 hours and that we will still have time to have lunch in the mountains. He knows a special place. Team 1 is made up of Nick Connor, Holly Wofford, Christina Munoz, Preston Edwards, Violeta Baca, Sam Westlake, Mr. Floyd and myself. We are very excited to work hard on the projects, however all of our hearts are geared toward evangelism. Alejandro says that there are almost no adults there that know about Jesus Christ. So we are excited about the opportunity. Team 2 will be going to Santo Domingo. I believe Katy says they will be leaving at 10 AM. This team consists of Mr. Millar, Mrs. Stein, Aubrey Porter, Jonathan Scales, Lorin Bently, Maya Gonzales, Joshua Edwards, Jocelyn Nederhoff, and Shelly Gale. They will be working with Alejandro & Katy´s older son, Daniel. Their major project will be breaking up a concrete soccer field with sledge hammers. This field is in desparate need of repair. They are also excited about their VBS program that they will be doing. Both Team 3 and 4 will be staying in Quito to paint the entire Eloheim complex for the next 4 days. Alejandro says they will be painting it a bone or offwhite color. The remaining teams consist of Mrs. Wofford, Mr. Schlenker, Mrs. Scales, Mrs. Haggard, Courtney Wright, Christian Schlenker, Stephen Schlenker, Andrew Wheeler, Allyssa Giron, Charlotte Bryant, Lisa Haist, Katie VanGilst, Zeppi Bauer, Connor Pierce, Taylor Wright, Carmi Alongi, Lydia Monte, Evan Pedrosa, Rebecca Taratino, Kati Otoski, and Colleen Scott. Happy painting teams 3 and 4.

We are looking forward to this week as we will be settled into just doing work for all teams. That is exciting. We love and miss you all. Hope you are all doing well. Keep praying for us. For transporation. We currently have no sickness... thank you Lord Jesus. That we continue to be a light.. shinging God´s light, sharing the Gospel when we can and giving all honor, glory and praise to HIM!

Mark Scales

#6 from Ecuador: Email from one of the kids to his family

Hello all!

I am sorry I have not been able to send an email until now; we are not staying in the same location as we did last year and there is no internet cafe nearby. This week has been absolutetly amazing! We have been working very hard at the first church, Carmen Bajo. Last year we were helping build the second floor and now one year later we are helping with the 4th floor! We have been doing worship every night at the seminary we are staying at which really helps get everyone recharged and focused on the next day.

The first 2 days we worked extremely hard all day. Wednesday I helped at a man´s house named Jose. He is in a wheelchair and barely has a shack for a home; one of the walls of his house was a tarp! He desperately needed help cleaning up his home and building some walls and a ramp so he could get to his workbench. It was very heartbreaking, but in the same breath he still praised God with everything he had!

In the afternoon I helped with a very crazy VBS. Thursday we got to spend a lot of time with our Compassion children, which was really fun. I was paired with Edwin and it was really fun because we played soccer and rented paddle boats. Friday we helped at a school and did some songs and skits. The children were very excited to see us and talk to us. All of the girls would come up to our guys and ask us our name in english and then run away giggling. It was pretty funny! Later that night we saw some of the city and prayed over all of Quito.

This morning we got to go on a tram that is way longer than the one at home in Albuquerque! We went to the top of a mountain that overlooked the entire city of Quito! It was amazing!! Well please continue praying for me and our team that God would work through us to reach the people of Ecuador!!

Keep our safety in your prayers as well as Quito is a pretty dangerous city. I am not sure the next time I will be able to update all of you, but I will do it as soon as possible.