Lots of Steps for Jesus in Ecuador

April 17 2018

In January 2018, a team from the U.S. and Canada traveled to Manta, Ecuador. A major earthquake had hit Manta in 2016 and left the city with some pretty major damage. The main purpose of our trip was to help repair the damage that was done to a church. Pastor Carmelia shared how she had a dream that North Americans would be coming to help at their church. She pondered how this might happen and considered several possibilities, but dismissed each one. Eventually, OMS contacted her and said that a team was coming to help with repairs on the church. This confirmed in her mind that all of this was from God and that he deserved all of the glory!

Upon arriving, we found that some of the walls needed to be repaired. Some of the men from the church were already there working to knock them down. The men in our group jumped in to help finish knocking down the walls. The men from the Manta church were experienced in bricklaying, so we did the grunt work of unloading the sand and gravel off of the truck. We shoveled sand and gravel into bags, and then carried the bags up two flights of stairs.... 34 steps. The cement blocks also had to be removed by hand from the truck and then carried up the stairs as well...34 steps.

We swept and cleaned up debris. The men also poured a small cement pad downstairs. This was all mixed and moved, and done by hand. We made sure to stop and rest and drink. And we counted those steps. Did I mention there were 34?

In the evenings, we enjoyed some great Ecuadorian food, and then shared our life stories. It was good to listen, share, and pray for each other. We also had the privilege of hearing a pastor share his story of the earthquake and how the church worked with OMS to provide a soup kitchen during that time. A time was spent praying for this young man and his family. It is always encouraging to hear how God has worked and is continuing to work in people’s lives!

It was a trip with so many good memories. We loved the international flavor - working together with people from Ecuador, the United States, and Canada. We even learned a little Dutch! Eh?

By Penney Willms, OMS short-term team member from Canada

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Tags: ecuador missions, short-term missions, manta ecuador, teamwork,

Learning About Teamwork in Mexico

June 4 2015

Miriam is short-term missionary from Cardiff, United Kingdom, and as part of her gap year is spending four months with OMS in Mexico City.

She writes, I first came to Mexico in 2011; I was then just coming to the end of my A-Levels, and was about to start a Gap Year. I spent two weeks in Mexico City, falling in love with the country and the people. I left Mexico with a huge desire to return. I then spent one year working in Wales, and returned to Mexico in 2012. I am now a student at Cardiff University, studying Spanish and Italian, and as part of my course, I am required to do a year abroad. This meant I could chose to either study or to do a work placement. When deciding what to do and where to go, God really put Mexico on my heart once again. I sent a few emails and decided to come back as part of my university course. I have just spent five months in Italy, and then came to Mexico to fulfil the Spanish half of my year abroad. My main commitment is working with MEFI, a drop-in centre for homeless youth. I visited MEFI in both 2011 and 2012 and loved the team and the work they do. I knew it was where I wanted to spend these four months. I have been in Mexico now for about a month, and I love it so far! I am so excited at the prospect of having another three months here to develop deeper relationships with all at MEFI.

When I arrived for my first day, a few weeks ago, the first thing that I noticed was the family-like environment. It definitely is not a case of workers providing a service for the service users; it is a friendly place with a warm, home-like atmosphere. Straightaway, I felt at ease. One of the things that really touched me, and still does every day, was the relationship between the kids and the team. There is so much respect from both parties. I really appreciate seeing this; it says a lot about both the kids and the workers.

The people that make up the team in MEFI are some of the most genuine, humble, and lovely people I have ever met. It is such a privilege to work alongside them and learn from them. I have only been here a few weeks, and I have already learned so much from them! They give their time to God, daily, to serve him and to serve the people who live on the streets. They spend all day loving the people that society has put in the corner. They are Jesus’ hands and feet daily. They are such wonderful people – and always give all glory to God. I am so looking forward to growing as I journey with these people. God has really blessed me with being a part of this team, even if it is only for a short time.

I am also really looking forward to a few days in June when we will be going on a camp with some of the people who regularly use MEFI, the team, and a group of teenagers from America. I am really looking forward to spending more time with some of the kids and having a fun few days out of the city. Please pray that God would use this time to open doors and give us opportunities to talk about Him, and share even more about our faith.

The next few months provide a great opportunity for me to serve, but also to learn. I pray that as I press in closer with God, that I would see more opportunities to grow and learn at MEFI. I am so thankful for this time I have here and so excited to spend the next three months involved in the work in Mexico City.

Tags: short term missions, mexico, street kids, homeless ministry, teamwork