Feeding the Mind, Body, & Soul in Ecuador
Originally posted at: https://samsusa.org/2020/05/07/feeding-the-mind-body-soul-in-ecuador/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=feeding-the-mind-body-soul-in-ecuador
Cameron Vivanco – SAMS Missionary to Ecuador
Starting in March, obviously, all of a sudden life changed drastically here in Ecuador, where the capital city of Quito – the entire nation – has been on lockdown. I think we’re on day 48 or 49. We have martial law from 2:00 PM until 5:00 AM. So you’re not allowed to step outside your door from those times – so the buses have stopped. Public transportation is stopped.
People are in desperate situations. People are being laid off, obviously, which means no income. But most of our students and their families are in – they were in desperate situations anyway. Their families are going out at night and going through trash to do recycling. And that’s how they make their money. They might make 100 or 200 dollars a month by going through other people’s trash to get out recycling, but with the martial law they can’t go do that. And they have they have no access to earning money and are in some really desperate and difficult places even more so.
The way E=H (Education = Hope) works is that we come alongside the church and we resource the church so that the church can take care of its people, [and] has the resources to take care of its people and they have their own … committee and they have their application process because they know who really needs help in their neighborhood and who is playing the system.
So it’s really an amazing system that God had set up from the beginning, using that same network to continue to walk with people. But instead of just doing education now we’re doing a little bit more. As we have transitioned from development to relief – relief being that E=H funds are now available for groceries and for medicine, and of course for education – it’s the same system that’s working so perfectly because we are supporting the local priests and the pastors and they’re still connected to their community.
We have the incredible privilege of walking alongside them in relief. As we find the resources, we’re able to go buy 50 pound bags of rice, or two or three cases of oil, or lentils, or tuna, or fresh fruits and vegetables, toothpaste, disinfectants, soap, feminine products, diapers – those precious necessities that you don’t even really think about until you don’t have access to them and you can’t buy them. So we’re able to buy that in bulk and then we deliver it to the different ministry sites. Then they make packages for each family depending on the number of people in the family, depending what their families’ needs are. They’re able to then deliver the groceries or the supplies and do some pastoral care with social distancing with masks and, you know, talking to you from six feet way, but able to do some pastoral care and able to do discipleship along the way.
So they’re feeding the mind, the body, the soul, all of it together. I’ve gotten several texts from moms especially saying “thank you, you have no idea” – [pause] I get a little emotional – “You have not only fed us, but you’ve taken away my depression, my anxiety.”
SAMS Missionaries are offering practical help in the communities they’re called to during the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Relief Fund provides them the resources to keep sharing the gospel in practical ways.