With Deep Appreciation

April 19, 2018

Dear and treasured Family of Friends,

First and foremost, Richard, I and our FYTA Board want you to know how deeply appreciative we are for your prayers and extra financial support these last two months. Our budget has been significantly revived. There are not sufficient thanks. December is usually a blessed time, financially; it was not this last year. Then, we experienced unusual costs with the water production . . . actually, a fine that occurred when we were not there, then one of the guys had an accident with the car. . . And not to belabor the costly issues, we are taking a hard look at the need for one of us to be down there consistently. We are committing this to prayer.

I am ‘home’ as of yesterday. . . Exactly where is ‘home’? Is it where you want to be or where you need to be? I never really thought about that until flying home yesterday. The 32 days in Ecuador were a major challenge for me. Since Richard was home to do our American ‘income tax duty’ and a long list of other home “To Do’s”, I ‘inherited’ being Richard’s informant for the workings of the water production.

However, no need to ‘inform’ . . . Paul, who is one of the fabulous four is an informer. He is a serious young man who believes in putting in a hard day’s work. Paul and I became acquainted about 15 years ago when he’d peek into the clinic (before it ever opened) and we’d send Paul for COLD cokes throughout the day. So, Paul shared unsolicited concerns about water production productivity.

Our sewing class was my total delight! I usually stopped in to see how they were doing each morning. . . as I neared the door it sounded like a bee hive. They made my day just hearing their chatter and laughter. The 47 yards of unbleached silk was donated by a church member. This material ended up being their first sewing project – to make a skirt – and I do mean ‘professionally’ to any of you seamstresses. The Serger sewing machine that Candy Choi donated made every raw edge ‘bound and beautiful’! Maria Angelica and I hope to have another class possibly next January.

Sewing damsels model their first project-unbleached silk skirts

Sewing damsels model their first project-unbleached silk skirts

Buen Samaritano Staff and Pastor Gruezo's wife, Jacquelin, enjoyed the fashion show and lunch

Buen Samaritano Staff and Pastor Gruezo’s wife, Jacquelin, enjoyed the fashion show and lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The young man announced each lady as he practiced his English

The young man announced each lady as he practiced his English

Maria Angelica, instructor, gives a certificate to each student modeling the gown they made

Maria Angelica, instructor, gives a certificate to each student modeling the gown they made

The completion of the sewing class and kids returning to school the handicapped/Seniors program will resume April 25th. We have talked about several people, so we are hoping for a better turnout.

This weekend is our World Outreach Missions Weekend at our church and then Richard will head for Ecuador.

Please keep us in your prayers for:

*Multiple thanksgivings to God for the prayers and donations of those who brought us back to a humble but stable budget.

*Richard’s safe travel back to Floron and his health.

*Dra. Silvia’s health and pending surgery.

*Wisdom in working, training and guiding the young water men. May the shackles of poverty and lack of education be removed.

We cannot thank you enough for your support. You are the unseen blessings that makes Jesus love, peace and compassion move forward and obedience to Proverbs 31:8 & 9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Dios los bendiga,

Elizabeth, Richard and FYTA Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updates of projects and staff

March 14, 2018

Dear Family and Friends,

As we begin to wing our way back home I wanted to follow up the last update with a few tidbits. With the February update letter a close friend commented that I sounded a little down . . . and I was. I just couldn’t see how we would barrel through ‘everything’. In my vivid imagination I could picture God nudging a few of His heavenly hosts and saying, “She needs another spiritual boost.” So, of course Drs. Charles Stanley (whom I avidly listen to each morning) and David Jeremiah spoke on topics that truly pierced my heart and made me smile, “How truly great Thou art.”

Thank you for your prayers regarding the ‘water boys’ whom Richard had a major heart to heart talk. Jose – who displays leadership qualities – is to act as ‘in charge’ whether Richard is there or not. Richard helped Jose set a few goals and to assign each of the other three young men a specific job responsibility; all four of them seem to walk with a little more purpose. Please keep praying for Jose. He had made the comment that he didn’t know if he could handle the new ‘position’. Pray for his confidence in himself and the power of the Holy Spirit. (By the way, Jose goes nightly to finish high school and is building a home for his wife and 9 month old “Izzie” whom he proudly brings by for his patronly pride and my joy. The three of them currently live with his mother in-law.)

Jose, supervisor

Jose, supervisor

Jorge

Jorge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cristhian

Cristhian

Paul

Paul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our handicapped program has been put on a two month ‘vacation’ along with school children who are on winter break. If you remember Hermano Silvino (84 and still threading his own needles.) requested two 7” x 7”looms and loops so he can continue weaving potholders over break. I was delighted at his enthusiasm.  This gentleman is at intercessory prayer every Monday evening . . . on his knees along with the rest of us for an hour of prayer and supplication. He never misses the Tuesday and Thursday evening service; and of course, he attends Sunday morning’s 2.5 hour service. Richard and I admit this is a marathon for us!

Silvino

Silvino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I wanted you to see is the first two weeks of our two months of professional sewing classes. Maria Angelica had these ‘beginners’ making a skirt the first week. This current week she will teach them how to sew a blouse, professionally. One day after class I drove her to her family’s humble home. I met her elderly parents, sister, daughter and her brother who makes the most impressive men’s suits . . . even tuxedos! Maria Angelica is such a gift from above. Most of her students are from the church and she has commented, “What a nice group of ladies!”

Liz painted classroom tables that were borrowed from the church

Liz painted classroom tables that were borrowed from the church

Liz prepping the machines prior to the beginning of classes

Liz prepping the machines prior to the beginning of classes

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Angelica and her students:

3.18.8 3.18.9 3.18.10 3.18.11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlos was home again from the police academy for a weekend. He proudly showed us cell phone videos of the opening ceremony in December. Currently, an eye infection has been running rampant through the 400 or so students. (Buen Samaritano has had many patients with this same virus that goes bacterial in some.) The other ‘plague’ among the academy students is a horrible dermatological condition brought about by the sand fly bite.  Carlos said some have it all over their face and arms but the academy is not doling out medicine (just like the cancellation of food, provision of uniforms or the laundering of them). Thus, we had the name of the skin cream and eye medication…we sent him back PREPARED!!

3.18.12

 

 

 

Two dear friends have met us in Quito for the trip home. They also could fill two suitcases with 70#s each. We can’t ever express our appreciation for Cindy and Diane making this long, turnaround trip.

 Richard will be staying home for a long needed ‘rest’ plus, income tax, yard work, etc.  I will return to Ecuador Thursday or Friday and see the sewing class to the end and do some preparation for the upcoming medical mission the last week of September.

Please keep in your prayers:

*Thanksgiving for our staff that continues to ‘pull together’ including our young men in water production.

*Thanksgiving for safe travel for Cindy, Diane, Richard and I.

(We fly ‘standby’ and were able to catch almost all of our flights – first try! This can be tricky with universities on Spring Break.)

* Please continue to pray for the health of our Medical Director, Dr. Silvia Venegas.

*Continued prayer for adequate revenue to cover expenses.

*Pray all plans for the medical mission (team members, travel, villages in need)

Our sincere thanks for taking the time to read updates; pray for all aspects of “Yo Te Amo”; contribute by attending fundraisers; give us continual encouragement and to our supporters – YOU!

Adelante en Cristo, Amigos,

 Richard and Elizabeth    <><

 

Our Open House was a success!

February 16, 2018

 Dear Family and Friends,

 Wishing you a Happy New Year which has already gobbled up the month of January!  Richard and I arrived in Quito January 25th and went straight to work on purchases for our 2018 fundraisers. . . now to get them home is the real challenge!

 Once at Buen Samaritano Clinic in Floron we found it very dry and farmers deeply concerned about their crops.  However, ’probably’ it wasn’t our arrival but from then on the flood gates of heaven opened and hardly a day goes by that we don’t have a deluge of rain that actually sent our neighbor out of his home with his bar of soap into a ‘natural shower’! . . . and he didn’t miss a square inch on his entire body!

We just couldn’t get the camera fast enough to show him all lathered up!

1.18.21.18.1

 Just now we had an unexpected visit from our past water employee, Carlos. He is a guy one can’t find enough praiseworthy adjectives. . . We had hoped he would stay forever but his heart was set on the police academy. Thus, after a year and eight months of physicals, psychological and written exams he was thrilled to be accepted . . . and we were happy for him. (His family background would break your heart.) Now, four months into grueling training the government has told the recruits that they must pay for their uniforms, food and washing clothes. . . The government is broke. (Which is worse: broke or in debt? I am not sure.) So, we had a used computer – wiped clean – from one of you. He was thrilled and we thank you for this donation. . . Before Carlos left we prayed together that he would keep focused on training and not be plagued with thoughts of how he will pay each month. (He is one serious, sensitive young man!) He repeatedly thanked Richard for being strict especially for being on time. He said others come in late to roll call all the time and are ‘push-up punished’ but he never has because of Richard’s discipline.

The day Carlos left for the police academy

The day Carlos left for the police academy

Yes, the open house did occur! . . . It was so nice to see our two ‘senior seniors’ i.e. 84 and 94, gentleman chatting and enjoying the people coming and going. Since program began Hermano Silveno (84) is always early; last week he was 20 minutes early and also came in an extra day to finish these felt, red hearts he was hand sewing . . . AND threading his own needle!! The extra day he came in I almost had to ‘throw’ him out. . . I told him the clinic would close shortly and he was intent on finishing the heart he was on . . . . When he finally ambled toward the locked front gate he laughed and laughed that the clinic staff was already gone. The day of the open house, Marylou, who is blind from diabetes (and if you remember Daniel, this is his mom) suggested we move our tables filled with handmade crafts to the front of the clinic for more by passers to see . . .                                                                The idea totally increased the flow.

Hermano Silvino shows one of his many hearts

Hermano Silvino shows one of his many hearts

All craft supplies were donated by you. Our 3 leaders (L-R) Hermanas Sonja, Maritza and Sandra

All craft supplies were donated by you. Our 3 leaders (L-R) Hermanas Sonja, Maritza and Sandra

Taking the Open House to the clinic parking lot

Taking the Open House to the clinic parking lot

Marylou, (Daniel's mom) now blind from diabetes receives flowers as one of the first ladies at the open house

Marylou, (Daniel’s mom) now blind from diabetes receives flowers as one of the first ladies at the open house

The group had decorated jars and had fresh flowers to give our first 8 ladies that attended.

I haven’t mentioned this; however, I have been a little disappointed in two of our three program leaders. They are like children . . . excited about ‘creating’ for their own delight. Our third leader is very intent on helping participants and I’ve been in a quandary about what to do about our two artisans who probably never had this opportunity before. Thus, I contacted a wonderful lady, Yolanda Avila, who is the Executive Director of the Oswaldo Loor Foundation. (Her father, an MD started this eye clinic probably 40 -50 years ago.) She is an astute business lady and a great ‘sounding board’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This may seem like I am getting off track but prayerfully, I hope not. The main reason we don’t have more participants in the w/c program is: 1) This is a very new ‘American’ idea in this impoverished community and 2) MAINLY, people cannot get to the clinic. The one wheelchair person we have is brought by her father in the back of a pickup. So as the w/c, handicapped and seniors program continues Senora Avila pointed out that the quality of what they were making – she is very frank and with business savvy plus – will not sell but maybe once. She said people’s real need is JOBS. . . Because of Senora Avila’s help we will start a sewing class the end of this month. (We have the sewing machines.) Yolanda called a professional seamstress who has her own business in ladies apparel . . .I met with her and she will begin February 26 and teach 5 mornings a week for two months. . . one class for total beginners and one with some experience. The cost for this program is being covered by a new private donor. Meanwhile, our original program will continue with the enjoyment of creating and socialization with each other. . . . Will it grow? Well, time will tell and I will keep you posted and please, your prayer support for both.

Maria Angelica is our instructor for our sewing classes.

Maria Angelica is our instructor for our sewing classes.

Prayer requests:

-Thanksgiving for the rain.
-Thanksgiving for the safety and health of our staff.
-Financial revenue from supporters has taken a drastic turn downward; please pray we can take in enough to cover expenses…And if we have not been good stewards, that He will show us the error of our ways. (We have had major expenses in water production repairs; plus the government again raised the minimum wage.)
-Of major concern is our Medical Director, Dra. Silvia Venegas. Please pray for her health and wisdom for the physicians attending her multiple health problems.
-Our four young men working in the water have not been on task or following guidelines. Richard meets with them Monday; please pray for The Lord’s wisdom in dealing with these issues.
-And, as a medical team for September/October is in the making pray that each team member has Christ as their focus and His servant’s heart.

Dios los bendiga,

Elizabeth and Richard <><

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68 (NIV)

Following our Mission Statement

October 29, 2017

Dear Family of Friends,

Two weeks and two days and I am returning home . . . and leaving Richard behind to ‘beef up’ water production and distributors. It seemed like two month’s work were packed into those two+ weeks, mainly from staff changes.

Richard’s days have been FULL going through a stack of applications for two persons to work in the water and a person to work at the walk up, water window on Saturdays, 8 -12. Dra. Silvia and Richard do the interviewing. This should be simple; however, the majority of these young men are from the church. Word has gotten around that FYTA is an American Foundation and that we abide by the law regarding contracts, health benefits, holiday pay, etc. It is not only Biblical; we are obliged as guests in a foreign land to obey their laws. . . No wonder we have a stack of applications. . . The word is that many Ecuadorian employers do not abide by the law. Carlos (after a year wait) received his entrance date to the police academy; Rodrigo (a recent hire) asked to replace Carlos as night guard; Christian was hired to replace Rodrigo in water production, Paul was added as a fourth and Marta (not pictured) was hired to work at the ‘water window’ on Saturdays from 8am – 12noon. Jose and Jorge (our most senior water staff members) are also not pictured.

Rodrigo-our night guard

Rodrigo-our night guard

Carlos dressed for the police academy

Carlos dressed for police academy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cristhian (new)

Cristhian (new)

Paul (new)

Paul (new)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember “The Messenger,” a hand held, solar powered recorder containing 35 sermons by Dr. Charles Stanley? Now they have expanded beyond Floron to two pastors (one in Portoviejo and the other to Chone) and Pastor Gruezo had his stock replenished.

10.17.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church our patient waiting room is able to continue handing out Bibles. And you, my friends, have unknowingly provided more copy paper so I could run off more children’s Bible story coloring pages for the patient waiting room. . . Yes, Bible verses in Spanish!

“The dye is set.”. . . From Shakespeare in one of his writings, maybe “Macbeth”? I previously mentioned the “Wheelchair Project”. After praying for many months I realized that a big problem was transportation so I included a handicapped vehicle in my prayers; then I asked three close friends to pray. Here are their responses:

* “Elizabeth, why wouldn’t God want you to do this?”
* “ Wow! If you had transportation you could also take them to church.”
* “Well, Elizabeth, you aren’t getting any younger.” And she laughed.

That last comment was extremely motivating. And, one of my best friends from junior high-Susan Warweg- opened my eyes to hard facts about purchasing a mini handicapped van/bus: “Think beyond the purchasing price: there is insurance, a driver, gas and upkeep.” That made me gasp but what does the part of Proverbs 31:8a & 9b (“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves . . . defend the rights of the poor and needy.”) really mean?

So, December 6 we will have an Open House for the Floron Community. Now, I am investigating how many shut-ins we really have. Our lawyer, Flori directed me to the Ministerio de Inclusion y Economica. They will have the names of the presidents of all the various handicapped groups and we will invite these program presidents to the Open House. Stay tuned in; this will all take ‘a little work’.

Before I go here are the dates for our Fall Fundraisers:

November 4 & 5 (Saturday 9-6/Sunday8-4) Queen of Peace Church; 13120 E. Kentucky Avenue; Aurora
November 11 & 12 (Saturday 9-4/Sunday 9-3); Evergreen Lutheran Church;5980 Highway 73; Evergreen 80439
November 14 (Tuesday 4-8) Bear Valley Church; 10001 W. Jewell Avenue; Lakewood
November 17 & 18, (Friday 9-4; Saturday 9-2) No Frills/’Warehouse Sale’, The Engkjer’s’ home; 6070 S. Nome Street; Englewood 80111 (We sincerely apologize for the confusion regarding this event)
November 30, December 1 & 2 (Thursday 1-10, Friday 10-10 & Saturday10-6) South Fellowship Church; 6560 S. Broadway; Littleton 80121
December 2 (Saturday 9-3) First Christian Church; 1814 Emerson Street; Denver 80210

Please come and bring a friend if you can. This is a wonderful opportunity to ‘buy once, give twice’ for Christmas and instill the true meaning of Christmas to your children. As you know ALL proceeds for purchases from “Yo Te Amo” support Buen Samaritano Clinic located in impoverished Floron, Ecuador. And, there are many other ministries from around the world at these other locations. Please keep these events in your prayers as we and they attempt to address world poverty, halt trafficking of drugs and humanity, bring clean water to villages and teach job skills so individuals can develop respect and responsibility for their families. Jesus has said, “In as much as you do it to one of the least of these you do it to me.” May this Thanksgiving and Christmas find us breaking the bonds of race, religion and culture . . . And in our wounded world loving your neighbor as yourself . . . and discovering true peace, contentment and joy!

Dios los bendiga,

Elizabeth and Richard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trusting in the Lord….

September 26, 2017

Good morning and oops! I missed an update on our brief trip (August 15 -25) back to Ecuador. And, before we again return next week I’d like to briefly comment on that trip. As impetuous as it may seem, we ‘jetted’ back specifically for a very special wedding.

Possibly some of you remember dear Mayra and her husband “Pepe” who succumbed to a very rare cancer – neuro endocrine – at only 29 years of age after a dreadfully painful year. That was seven years ago.

Now, this was the wedding of Mayra and Jorge; and a few months earlier she literally begged us to be present. Jorge had also lost his spouse over a year ago to the same rare cancer – neuro endocrine – as Pepe. The cancer was discovered late in the second pregnancy of Jorge’s wife. . . she delivered their second daughter and did not even have a year with this new infant, their older daughter and Jorge. . . and she departed.

Mayra was reluctantly introduced to Jorge by friends. Their lovely wedding was only family and close friends – we were honored to be there. . . and felt Mayra was blessed with Jorge and his daughters and definitely (and obviously) vice versa.

09.17.1 09.17

 

 

 

 

 

The evening before returning home Richard and I attended the Tuesday Evening church service. Pastor Carlos and Diana walked with us back to the clinic and our apartment. Oh my!! Do I understand what they are saying?!? I repeated what I thought they said. . . “Diana has been accepted into the nursing program at the Technical University and will not need sponsors except for needing a laptop and printer. . . This IS miracle material. Richard and I were momentarily trying to organize this in our minds, “How did this happen? Did we understand correctly? WOW!” I was recalling my last conversation with Pastor Carlos, “I know how concerned you are about us not having ALL the money for Diana’s education and I am not a ‘risk taker’, Carlos. But this is one time I feel in my heart that we MUST trust The Lord.” I recall his tears, nodding in agreement and then showing me numerous Bible passages to undergird both of our faith.

Yes! This is ‘miracle material.’ . . . We do have sufficient funds for Diana’s laptop, printer and uniforms. And however you viewed this, I KNOW He leadeth me! Our sincerest thanks for those who did donate and those who prayed. In reality, I am perplexed how this came about. . . But I can only smile and say, “Thank you, Father.” . . . It just did!

Elizabeth, Diana and her father Pastor Carlos

Elizabeth, Diana and her father Pastor Carlos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer Requests:

*Thanksgiving for our FYTA Board Members who are invested and dedicated

to the impoverished of El Floron.

*Thanksgiving for our Medical Director, Dra. Silvia Venegas. Her wisdom, discernment and ‘going the extra mile’ has definitely impacted all of Buen Samaritano’s workings and staff.

*Please continue to pray for increased water distributors with the new avenues Richard will be implementing on this upcoming trip to increase water sales.

*As the Wheelchair Project continues please pray for His wisdom and discernment regarding a van for the handicapped. (I have run this by our Board of Directors and got their o.k. to investigate if this is even possible. . . we are in prayer knowing this is not just the cost of the handicapped van but upkeep, a driver, insurance, etc.)

*And if I could I would give each of you a hug. . . we know you are out there and we are more than thankful for each of you.

Dios los bendiga,

 Richard and Elizabeth Engkjer

 

 

 

 

 

 

A grandson’s experience!

August 9, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Three years ago we brought our oldest grandson, Landon, down to Ecuador to experience mission work in another country and now it was his brother Casten’s turn (14). It’s been over three weeks since Richard, our grandson, Cas, and I departed from Denver enroute to Ecuador via Houston. The anticipation mounted as we spent three days in the Houston Airport attempting to get on the daily flight to Quito. (“Uno” and ‘Panda Express’ kept Cas smiling over those three days.)

Fast forward to our first day at Buen Samaritano Clinic and Buen Samaritano Water. Cas’s major concern was not knowing Spanish and his inability to wash bottles as fast at the ‘water guys’. And by day three Cas and the ‘water guys’ were having fun conversations via their cell phone translators. . . and washing bottles as fast as the ‘water guys’ was no longer an issue!

Bottle scrubbing!

Bottle scrubbing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the end of that first week Cas had played soccer with the church kids, went to dinner at Pastor Meza’s, went to Youth Group, the ‘water guys’ took him to dinner and the youth came and taught him new rules for “Uno” and surprised him with a special farewell . . . Now why do I tell you these details? Because as we left Buen Samaritano I asked Cas if knowing Spanish ended up being a big problem and he just laughed, “Not really, Grandma.”

My point? By World comparison, we Americans probably have more individuals seeking help from psychiatrists and psychologists to unravel verbal communication problems . . . as a psychiatric nurse I am looking back at ‘problems’. . . often not an issue of spoken words but where those words originate . . . the heart and it’s condition. “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 “A sound heart is life to the body,. . .” Proverbs 14:30a And, succinctly stated: “. . . For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34b (Please do not misinterpret what I am saying; there are mental health issues as Biblically described and that I have worked with that are beyond the heart.)

Soccer?

Soccer?

or Futbol?

or Futbol?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday night Youth Group

Saturday night Youth Group

Ecuadorian "McDonalds"

Ecuadorian “McDonalds”

 

 

New ways/rules to play "Uno"!

New ways/rules to play “Uno”!

 

Farewell to new friends

Farewell to new friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our 4 day mini-trip to the jungle was relaxing, miles of jungle hiking, visiting a wild animal preserve and the homes of primitive tribes and their natural medicines. Cas was brave enough to put his hand in a ‘termite home’ and when they totally covered his hands he then rubbed his hands together and a natural ‘fragrance’ of insect repellant occurred… Amazing! God’s creation never ceases to awe me!!

aug.8 aug.9 aug.10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Termites are used as a natural repellent.

Termites are used as a natural repellent.

Traveling to and from the SuizoJungle Lodge located on the Napo River.

And before I close I do want to share that Diana Garcia is now funded through December of this year. Our sincerest thanks for those of you praying and donating for her university education. . . She and her dad send their humble gratitude. And of course, we will continue to seek funding.

Prayer requests:

 

Dios los bendiga,

*Thanksgiving for Hermano Byron, our night guard who leaves to pastor a church in Esmeraldas. He will be dearly missed. He was faithfully with us for three years.

*Thanksgiving for Hermano Rodrigo Reyes, our new ‘water guy’ who will replace Hermano Carlos who moves to the night guard position until he is given the date to start the police academy. (Yes, the ‘clinic family’ is very close and it feels like sending a child off to their first year of college when one leaves . . . But, it is as He planned.)

*I continually forget to say “THANK YOU” for supplying the clinic’s patient waiting area with gratis Bibles. . . It is a joy to walk through and see someone reading one of these Bibles. . . They usually ask me, “Can I really have this?

*God’s blessing and direction for the three Wheelchair Program leaders, Hermanas Liseth, Sonya and Sandra.

*As we move into fall and multiple fundraisers/bazzars may our focus to be on Him.

Richard and Elizabeth <><

 

 

Our Wheelchair Project!

June 19, 2017

Dear Family of Friends,

It’s us again! I try not to bombard you with too many updates but this just can’t wait! Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we completed a three day orientation for the Wheelchair Project. Despite efforts to publicize the program we were still unsure if anyone would show up. But, ‘show up’ they did! And, one elderly man came to see Dra. Silvia . . . However, he joined the group and ended up coming all three days of the Wheelchair Project.

I mentioned the need for three ladies to carry on with the program when I am not here. . . That really was my greatest concern. I prayed . . . and prayed . . . and PRAYED! I was internally frustrated about what to do! And when it came to three days prior to our first Wheelchair Project day I decided I’d just have to ‘go for it’ and asked Sonja who with her two daughters has befriended me for a long time. I really didn’t know Lisseth but observing her in church she seemed like a no-nonsense person who would be reliable; and Sandra was suggested by her sister Eliana, who is the clinic’s accountant. I met with these three ladies, explained the project and the role they would play but I still wasn’t totally sure of my choices. However . . .

After our first day of videos these three ladies sprouted wings and just took over in such a sensitive and compassionate manner . . . Lisseth (without prompting) walked the blind lady home, Sonja was sweeping and cleaning up and Sandra stayed close to our lady with Parkinson’s who needed a lot of help with projects but still ‘hung in there’ with a smile. Now, I will cease the ‘chatter’ since the pictures below will say much more than I ever could. . . our participants are in good hands!! Thank you, Lord for answered prayer.

june.16 june.15

 

 

 

 

Day 1 of the Wheelchair Project was motivational as well as evangelical. Time was spent listening to the incredible Nick Vujicic, born without arms or legs. Perhaps some of you have heard him speak which he does around the world. And, of course,
there was time for an American snack – chocolate chip cookies.

Not all people were in wheelchairs.  Mary Lu is blind, the young man on crutches from an accident and Maria has advanced Parkinson's.

Not all people were in wheelchairs. Mary Lu is blind, the young man on crutches from an accident and Maria has advanced Parkinson’s.

Day 2 was "game day". We taught them "Jenga" which was VERY popular!

Day 2 was “game day”. We taught them “Jenga” which was VERY popular!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then we had a rousting game of "Bingo" with prizes. (I had a little problem with all my Spanish numbers).

And then we had a rousting game of “Bingo” with prizes. (I had a little problem with all my Spanish numbers).

We also taught them "Connect Four", "Tick Tack Toe" and we tried "Checkers" but they thought that was too difficult!

We also taught them “Connect Four”, “Tick Tack Toe” and we tried “Checkers” but they thought that was too difficult!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 was spent orienting them to a variety of projects. Here they are learning to roll newspaper that can be woven into MANY items.

Day 3 was spent orienting them to a variety of projects. Here they are learning to roll newspaper that can be woven into MANY items.

And here are our three wonderful ladies who will lead the group. (L-R)  Lisseth, Sandra and Sonja.

And here are our three wonderful ladies who will lead the group. (L-R) Lisseth, Sandra and Sonja.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here we are braiding material strips to make ‘rag rugs’. As you can see there are a variety of ways to accomplish this. ‘Feet’ have a variety of uses!! Beautiful first 3 days!

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Preparation was essential – new ramps and of course a completed new handicapped bano!

 

 

 

 

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We had a wonderful celebration for our staff members that have worked for Buen Samaritano for 10 or more years! (L – R) Fabricio Mendoza, Angelita Garcia, Dra. Silvia Venegas, Eliana Garcia and Pastor Manuel Meza.

Before I go I want to mention that John and Lauretta Piper responded to contribute to the tuition to help Diana Melanie Flores Garcia attend the university in September. John and Lauretta asked if there were others that would consider joining them to support Diana’s education. After church last Sunday I did speak with a very eager/hopeful dad and daughter . . . I told them at this point we did not have the total tuition covered but that I would mention this again in the update. I don’t want to be misleading so I asked Carlos (sorry, mistakenly called him “Ramon” in the last update) to obtain written information from San Gregorio University. . . Registration in July is $32 that Carlos said he can cover; the first month of each semester is $324 and each month thereafter is $208. And, this degree (elementary school teacher) will take 11 semesters. Please consider this opportunity to move Diana out of poverty.

Prayer requests:

Thanksgiving for all the kind assistance of Consuelo Donoso and Dawn Traficanti during the
first three days of the Wheelchair Project.

Thanksgiving for our very nice, new handicapped accessible bathroom and the added counter space in the laboratory.
Thanksgiving for a the 3 ladies that will continue the Wheelchair Program
Thanks giving for Dawn Traficanti and all her efforts to supply projects for our wheelchair /disabled participants and a blessed short term mission. . . for her AND us!
For Jocelyn, our greatest concern in the Wheelchair Program. She is obviously very depressed since a surgery (about 2 years ago) that left her in the wheelchair at age 22. We have conflicting stories from her ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ regarding her life. May we be ‘salt and light’ to this young lady and uncover truth.
Continued prayer for more water distributors for Buen Samaritano Water.

Dios los bendiga,

Elizabeth and Richard

Monsoon rains clean up

June 4, 2017

Dear Familia of friends,

Greetings from el Floron, Ecuador! Hopefully, this finds you eagerly embarking on summer . . . For sure, out grandkids are out of school and ready for ‘fun in the sun!’ Down here children have just ended vacation and are back in school.

Richard and I have been back at Buen Samaritano Clinica for over two weeks. Richard has been diligently working to resolving water problems that occurred during the monsoon rains that left both the clinic and water production building flooded. The staff worked from sun up to sundown to bail out water, shovel mud and then sanitize floors and equipment . . . Dra. Silvia related that they worked the weekend (No overtime pay here!) and were able to open only two hours late on Monday morning as patients then flooded the patient waiting room. . . Monsoon rains bring a whole new set of medical problems to the impoverished of el Floron.

Front of Clinic

Front of Clinic

Back of Clinic

Back of Clinic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sewers get clogged and back up with heavy rains so a lot of Clorox is used during the cleanup. These photos are of our new water production building. The Minister of Health was not happy and requested construction changes to help prevent this from happening in the future. After the bathroom is completed (see below) those construction changes will then be made during this trip. The main floor of the clinic was not affected but the patient waiting room, lab and dental office sit lower and were affected.

This past week Pastor Gruezo and I visited five pastors in the el Floron area with the purpose of sharing and inviting any one in their church or neighborhood that was in a wheelchair or handicapped in other ways. Then, to my great joy and thanksgiving was Pastor Ramon (whom he and his family crew have done all of our construction needs) was able to fit in expanding walls and a door into our patient bathroom, add a handicap bar and then ramps in the front and back entrances to the clinic. (The original owner didn’t include this capability).

Windows being covered up

Windows being covered up

and walls expanded.

and walls expanded.

 

 

 

 

The first three days (June 12, 13 and 14) will be an introduction (9 -12) to the program.  The first day will be video snippets from World Evangelist Nick Vujicic . . . Perhaps you have seen/heard him.  He was born without legs or arms and now shares Jesus Christ throughout the world.  The second day will be full of food and fun . . . We have a ton of games (Jenga, checkers, Bingo, etc.) AND prizes.  The third day will be spent sharing a very long list of projects: example directions and finished item that they can make, take home or sell in the clinic to earn some income if they choose to.

I am very fortunate to have Dawn Traficanti (from our church – CCPC) winging her way to Ecuador as I type this.  She has been preparing new ideas for projects for weeks; she has really blessed the project.  Please keep her in your prayers for safe travel and health while here.

What I REALLY need . . . and it is getting down to the wire . . . is 3 people that will ‘carry on’ with the wheelchair project when I am not here.  This is SO important. . . Not everyone is comfortable with the handicapped so the need is for three upbeat persons with a desire to share Christ through their compassion for the handicapped . . . Please pray for this need and my trust and patience on The Lord.

Before I go I do want you to know about one more ‘event’.  This Friday we are having a staff/board dinner to honor and celebrate 5 of our staff who have faithfully worked at the clinic for 10 years or more.  Next time I should have pictures.  And, Amy, Cliff Intriago and their two children will be back in Ecuador visiting family.  Amy and Cliff have been an incredible asset to our USA Fundación “Yo Te Amo,” CO board.  You may remember that Amy worked for an entire year at the clinic . . . both Amy and Cliff’s roots continue to run deep for the impoverished in el Floron.

And, I have a bold and very humble request from one of the song leaders from church.  Pastor Ramon is asking if someone (or two to three persons) would consider sponsoring his daughter, Diana Melanie Flores Garcia, to attend the university.  She would like to be an elementary school teacher which would take three years.  I have admirably known the family for 15 years.  The tuition is $220 a month.  She has given me a letter and a picture of her family.  (Questions can be e-mailed to me:  eengkjer@comcast.net)

With that I will close and thank you for your many, many ways of support.  Some of you may be aware that Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church took up a baby clothes and stuffed animal drive under the direction of Al Johnson, Missions Director . . . Our basement looks like “Baby’s R Us” . . . Dra. Silvia continues to prepare now for Christmas as hundreds are still homeless from the earthquake devastation a year ago this past April.  Sincerest thanks to those donors.

Prayer Requests:

*Special thanksgiving for the five Buen Samaritano employees that have been with us over 10 years

*Travel and health for Dawn Traficanti as she begins a short term mission with the Wheelchair Project.

*Three dedicated persons to act in my behalf for the Wheelchair Project

*More distributors for Buen Samaritano Water

Dios los bendiga,

Richard and Elizabeth    <><

Our mini-medical mission

March 13, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

3.17.1 3.17.2

 3.17.3 3.17.4We are perspiring like a ‘choncho’ down here. . . Did I say that!?!   Well, maybe I did but so has everyone else here!!  However, despite the horrific humidity, taunting temperatures and multiple monsoon rains the combined efforts of Dra. Claire Gahm (pediatric resident currently from Cleveland), Dra. Veronica Astudillo (Buen Samaritano Practitioner), Dra. Carolina Garcia (Odonatologist and Dra. Silvia’s daughter) and Delores Mesa (Buen Samaritano’s Office Manager) saw and treated 462 patients during our week long mini-medical mission in Rocafuerte.  This meant travelling daily back and forth from El Floron . . . about an hour each way.

Our sincere gratitude to Pastor Jhon Sanchez and wife Yajaira and their church staff for organizing this community and each day serving us a wonderful lunch. Friday afternoon culminated with a church service where Hermana Yajaira spoke to the community moms on Deuteronomy 7:9: “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” This was followed by having each of the mission team share a few words to the moms and children followed by moms expressing their appreciation for the team coming. And the pictures show the precious aftermath between physicians, moms and children.

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Meanwhile, ‘back at the ranch’ Buen Samaritano Clinic was experiencing ‘cosmetic surgery’ as broken floor tiles were replaced (due to the earthquake last year), a wheel chair ramp put in at the entrance to the ‘big bodega’ (our storage building) and the original water purification system on the roof being converted into a storage room for paint, brushes, etc. All of this is preparation for the Wheelchair Project.

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Mixing cement for the wheelchair ramp into the bodega.

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Using “man-power” with a pulley to hoist the concrete bricks to the roof.

We are still open to ideas for projects, preferably from ‘throw away’ items. For example, we have a darling pin cushion made out of a tuna can, an old cd disc, a little foam rubber and a small piece of material . . . and another idea from Dra. Silvia is all these incredible items made out of rolled newspaper . . . . The church congregation has been wonderful in throwing old newspapers our way. If you care to look at these ideas go to: U Tube: Cesteria de papel. (Yes, it is in Spanish.) You will see numerous ideas made from newspaper.

And the truck is back sporting its new canopy. Today it went on its first deliveries with Carlos driving and Richard and Jorge riding along to five distributors in el Floron. Too, too exciting! But, that was a lot of water bottles and Richard and Pastor Mesa now assist when needed in cleaning, sterilizing and filling bottles to meet the demand. Actually, today is a new, government holiday and private industry can choose to work or not work. After last week I was ready for a three day weekend but guess who won out? And it is true; Monday is the busiest day for patients and also for the water sales. I am glad we are open . . . it is VERY busy!!

3.10.123.10.11

Well, I wanted to tell you about our mini-medical mission of 462 patients, how the Wheelchair Project is progressing and the very first water delivery in the handsome new truck.  Bless your every prayer and contribution; I am sure you are aware of The Lord moving in hearts to make all of this happen.  As I told the moms and children in Rocafuerte, this is ALL such a privilege to be a part of. . .

 Our Prayer Requests:

  • Thanksgiving for Dra. Claire Gahm returning at such a perfect time so we could see many more patients during the mini medical mission. . .  as well as Dra’s Veronica and Carolina plus Delores’ helping hands and Eliana filling Delores place in the office.  (WOW! GOD!!)

  • Continued praise for the new truck and supplication for new distributors.

  • Thanksgiving for the church congregation for their support and supplying the used newspapers for the Wheel Chair Project.

  • And lastly, thanksgiving for our FYTA Board and all the time, energy and Ideas that they are currently involved in for our April 21/22 Open House/Fundraiser at our home.  May their efforts be blessed and ultimately bless many impoverished through the efforts of Buen Samaritano Clinica and Water.

Dios los bendiga,

Richard and Elizabeth    <><

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.’)

02.28

02.28.2 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

02.28.3 02.28.4

 

 

 

 

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.

02.28.5

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    <><