The start of a new year!

February 28, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Too late for Happy New Year? We hope not; and that your 2017 has begun with the anticipation of positive things to come as the entire world seems to be consumed by anxiety and fear. I guess we could be sucked into all of this disarray if it were not for continual warnings of what is to come: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.” 2 Timothy 3:1 (read on if you would like specifics)

Finally, we are back at Buen Samaritano Clinica! Our first entire week was spent in Quito trying to get our updated visas registered. But, that was not to find us twiddling our thumbs! Cindy Reagan, one of our board members, accompanied us and gave great support/input to our shopping sprees for this year’s future fundraisers. The first fundraiser will again be at our home on April 21 and 22. We hope this will be a good time to “Buy once, give twice” for Mother’s Day gifts. (Yes, a little early to talk about Mother’s Day but Cindy and I were SO excited about our new shopping ‘finds.’)

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What a selection to choose from in the Otavalo open market!

Since Visa validation took so long this time, Cindy only had two days to experience El Floron. However, the Sunday morning service found her making a boat load of new friends!

One of Cindy’s acquaintances was no other than Hermano Fabricio, our clinic custodian. Cindy’s dad has been helping to sponsor Hermano Fabricio with college tuition. Thus, Fabricio had the opportunity to express his gratitude via Cindy to her father. The picture says it all!!

Also, the Six Year Anniversary dinner buffet at Pastor Alex’s church gave Cindy time to try many cultural dishes and spend some time with Pastor Gruezo and wife, Jacqueline. Cindy barely had a moment to catch her breath before leaving for the airport early Monday Morning. We hope to see her return soon!

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It has been fun to watch how excited Richard and the ‘water guys’ have been, drooling over the new truck!  And even before the logo and information was put on the truck there was a request outside of el Floron for ten bottles of water!  After that first delivery, Richard and Carlos went to get the logos and information painted on the truck . . . Since this addition, the water guys are REALLY working hard. . .Thus, Richard said they must take a ‘15 minute morning break’. . . they wanted to know what that was . . .He told them to have a snack, whatever.  Then they asked if they could take a ‘siesta’ (nap) and Richard said, “Sure!”  and we are still laughing about that! The truck is currently in the shop have a canopy installed.

Tomorrow we are eagerly looking forward to a return visit from Dr. Claire Gahm.  We were thrilled that she asked to return this year for another three week rotation. (You may remember that Dr. Claire is specializing in pediatrics at Rainbow Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.)  During her time here last year she surprised us with a video on our purified water bottling water system.  (If you care to see it is on our web site:  www.fyta.org) The truck was almost purchased entirely by one generous donor. . . We remain humbled and give unending thanksgiving to God . . . The truck allows us to deliver water outside el Floron and should help the clinic move closer to self-sustainability.

Last update I think I mentioned that Dr. Silvia is acutely aware of the many; many people that remain homeless and severely impoverished as a result of last Aprils earthquakes . . . and we just had another 4.5 last week!  Thus, I mentioned that we are collecting good condition baby clothes and also stuffed animals . . . the clothes are being distributed throughout the year and the stuffed animals collected for next Christmas.  If you care to be a part of this, stuffed animals can be left in a plastic bin in the patio in front of our home and the clothes on the front doorsteps.  Our sincerest thanks for all that have already been donated; we will continue to bring these items down to Ecuador with each trip. See our first donors below.

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After the last request for stuffed animals I went to see my friend, Diane Wonhof and to meet her daughter-in-law and grandchildren visiting from Australia … They met me at the front door with armfuls of stuffed animals for Ecuador. Wow!

Pastor Jon Sanchez and wife (whom I have known since the first time I came to Ecuador) have been sent to plant a church about 45 minutes from el Floron.  Sunday he asked if a medical team could come to this area.  He said the people are very poor.  He is hoping that it could yet be this year.  Thus, Dra. Claire, Dr. Fernando (our afternoon physician), and Dra. Carolina (our dentist) have agreed to serve these people February 6 – 10.  Please put this mini-mission on your prayer list . . . the monsoon rains are upon us with flooding and certainly increased disease by the mosquito brigade carrying Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika.    There are about 300 mothers and children in this area of Rocafuerte.  Since we have had cases of Zika in el Floron I am especially concerned about pregnant ladies in this area also.

Usually I ‘think’ everything to death, wanting to be sure The Lord is leading and not another ‘whim’ cruising through my mind . . . Well, that is how it has been with ‘the wheelchair project’ that I have been considering for months.   We have unused space in our big storage building (bodega); and I have had a concern for wheelchair patients ever since I met Hermano Nazareno’s daughter, Andrea,  who was left paralyzed at the age of 22 after having a spinal tumor removed.   Instead of sitting in their homes – idle and depressed – I thought we could use the space in the bodega and come up with projects they could make and sell.  This idea BURST forth two days ago when Andrea was brought to the clinic for ‘boots’ for foot drop . . . I talked with Dra. Silvia and she already had ideas for projects from U tube that she showed me . . . and they were all made out of newspaper.  Thus, we are asking the churches to support us and start giving any newspaper to the clinic. And, Dawn Traficant (from Cherry Creek Presbyterian back home) will be coming in June to help with the project.  Am I excited?  YES!!

Prayer Requests:

*Please give thanksgiving for God’s protection and health of our staff

*Please give thanks that amidst the continued tremors and actual earthquakes our clinic building and our water building have survived.

*Please pray for safe travel and health of Dr. Claire Gahm

*Please pray as we plan and move forward with the ‘Wheelchair Project’.

*Please pray that new water distributors will be added AND that our water guys can keep up.

Dios los bendiga,

Elizabeth and Richard    <><