2016: A year to be thankful!

December 30, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

 The year is now sailing out of view as we look back on all the events in the United States, our “world” in Ecuador and the world at large. Every year is a challenge in a variety of different ways. However, this year exceedingly so with Ecuador’s ‘terra moto’ (earthquake) last April. The earthquakes/aftershocks continued for weeks. Downtown Portoviejo (one of 3 hardest hit) still looks like a war zone even after the rubble has been cleared away. There are many, many vacant lots yet to be filled with new construction and multiple blocks of businesses that still remain closed due to no water or electricity. Other cities that were affected remain in the same condition.

 We cannot thank you enough for your prayers and financial support – blessings that allowed us to move through it all. Previous updates showed you the repairs needed for three of our clinic compound walls. Most of one wall of our large storage building had to be replaced. I just finished that before my return home for Christmas.

 news 12.16.1news.12.16.2


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Would you believe that all four of the adult workers first name is Jose?

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Looking pretty good! We then began the job of cleaning, painting and organizing!!

 

 

In the last update we also reported the incredible blessing by one couple who sent a check to cover 80% of the cost for a new truck. The truck will enable us to deliver water outside of Floron and thus increase revenue for the clinic. I am thrilled to report that I was able to make the purchase and we now have this beautiful truck. All the advertising decals and a canopy over the bed are needed and to train our drivers when I return.

new 12.16.7

Pedro Vicente Cedeño, who lives in El Floron (where our clinic is), was abandoned by his wife, leaving him with his 2 month old son. Pedro’s mom is diabetic and disabled. He lost his job and now he is taking care of his infant son. Since he does not have the money, he is feeding his son with tapioca which is too strong for babies and different than formula. He is in need of formula, diapers, wet wipes, clothes, etc.

new 12.16.8 new 12.16.9

Our medical director, Dra. Silvia, was asked to visit Pedro to find out what his continuing needs will be. The clinic can provide water, formula and diapers … because of your contributions.

The last update showed you Pastor Gruezo’s home under new construction. Here’s a view of its completion and Pastor Gruezo with wife Jacqueline (lovingly known to the locals as “salt and pepper”). This construction manpower was totally at the volunteer hands of Pastor Gruezo’s congregation.

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As you may or may not know that soccer in Ecuador is their “football” and they start training at a very young age. Pictured here at a field right next to our clinic are “tots in training.”

Our medical director, Dra. Silvia – who has been with us for the past 11 years, asked to distribute all the wonderful used (but looking new) toys along with a small bag of candy. This year 350 children from the Florón, the Municipal Dump, Loma del Viento, El Rodeo, Canuto received a toy and a melting of candies.

new 12.16.14new 12.16.15new 12.16.16new 12.16.17

 

 

 

We would like to continue doing this as a tradition from our clinic. In 2017 we will start collecting used but in good shape stuffed animals to give to the children next Christmas. If you are able to help, please contact us at the address in the header.

 Prayer requests:

  1. Thanksgiving and praise for the donors that funded the purchase of a new truck so water distributors can be expanded beyond El Floron and aid in the clinic moving toward self-sustaining ability.
  2. Thanksgiving for the dedication of our clinic staff; pray for continued attendance at morning devotions.
  3. Thanksgiving for the success of our 7 fall and Christmas fundraisers.

 Needs: baby diapers, very good condition stuffed animals, good condition children’s clothing, and baby formula.

 May 2017 move each of us closer to walking in Jesus’ footsteps, to love as He loves us and bless others as He blesses each of us.

Dios los bendiga,

Richard and Elizabeth 

An update: we have met our goal for the purchase of our truck!

July 24, 2016

Dear Family of Friends,

We are returning to Ecuador; I – a week prior to Richard – to prepare for our first venture in holding a dental clinic with the three public schools in El Floron.  Our goal is to instill the importance of dental hygiene among both students and parents.  In retrospect it took three years of writing notes to parents of the compound’s school children before we ever saw results. . . meaning that parents finally responded to the notes and brought their child back for care beyond the cleaning and fluoride treatment we had provided.  (This was ‘dental nirvana’ for our dentist and me!!)  They began to understand the importance of dental care.

Richard will return next week.  And “no news is good news” may be a superstition but as far as he knows the new water equipment has been responsibly cranking out purified water . . . And, slowly but surely the contributions for the truck have been moving upward.  (If you are interested to see where we are at go to our web page,  WWW.FYTA.org, and catch up!  We are thankful beyond words!

 And lastly, we are excited about the upcoming “Peacemakers Training Seminar,” August 19, 20, 22 and 23.  This is being hosted by Templo Metropolitana  Alianza (church).  And, we’ve gone international!  Not only with  “Peacemakers Ministries” but also with our speakers/trainers.  Some of you know Candy McCune (a Colorado Lawyer) from our home church, Cherry Creek Presbyterian.  This is Candy’s fourth or fifth visit to Ecuador; she has spoken at a host of churches and to our clinic staff and was requested to mediate at a major church dispute.

 If you are unfamiliar with “Peacemakers Ministries,” they began in 1970 and their goal is to settle disputes within the church using Biblical principles – all churches experience some disharmony.  The organization has been so successful that they are also invited to public sectors.  Along with Candy two Latino ladies will join her. Claudia Christen Schneider is from Chile but now resides in Switzerland with her husband.  Marcela Diaz Perez comes direct from Chile.  The seminar is open to all pastors, church leaders and interested persons.

 Please continue to pray for the Manabí Province.  Dra. Silvia recently reported an aftershock of 5.2 and mild tremors are daily.  We are thankful that the clinic and water building have been spared; multiple reports say to expect this for a year. Thank you for your prayers.

 Dios los bendiga,

Elizabeth and Richard <><

Thank you for your incredible support!

July 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

As we eagerly winged our way homeward there remains heaviness in our hearts. Visions of the vast ‘tent city’ which houses hundreds of families along the old Portoviejo Airport runways looms in our minds along with the plastic, “lean-to homes” that pepper the Portoviejo parks. And, as time went on we became more aware of unnoticed damage to El Floron homes.

#8.1

Our clinic nurse, Angelita, contracted Chikungunya, as did her husband and family members. We went to visit them only to discover that they were still sleeping on mattresses in the dirt street in front of their home . . . as were many of their neighbors.

Our last couple of weeks in El Floron refused to allow memories to begin to fade of the devastation and fear of April 17th. . . Strong aftershocks (as strong as 7.1) continue and jolt vivid recall of ‘terremoto.’

Richard is returning home for a well-deserved break – his two months installing the necessary new equipment along with its plumbing and electrical changes in the water production building were completed. His three fledgling young men now have the opportunity to increase water production and put to use the instructions they have absorbed from Richard regarding the new equipment.

We will return the end of July, God willing. The Dental Outreach Program to three public schools’ first graders occurs in the first two weeks of August (this was postponed due to the April earthquake). Richard will assess how the water production is running, make some adjustments and work to increase marketing . . . all of these efforts will hopefully assist the clinic financially.

Mid-August we look forward to having three Peacemaker instructors: Candy McCune from our home church and two Chilean Spanish speaking ladies. This will be a four day seminar at the Missionary Alianza Church in Portoviejo. The seminar will be open to all pastors, church leaders and any other interested parties. The principles are Christian in nature but are used in many secular business disputes.

Our prayer requests:

*Thanksgiving for the safety of the staff, their families and our clinic and water buildings surviving the earth quakes.

 

*Thanksgiving for all the donations of food, diapers, etc. that we continue to take to Ecuador.

 

*Thanksgiving for all the church workers that have and continue to pitch in to rebuild the El Floron #8 church.

 

*Continued health and energy for our two staff – Delores and Fabricio – who keep up full time jobs and the demands of the university.

 

*One or more sponsors for Carlos (lead water worker) so he can attend the university beginning September.

 

*Developing good relations with the public schools as we embark on our first year of the Dental Program with them.

 

*Funds for a truck so we can begin to deliver water outside of the El Floron community.

Richard and I, along with our Fundación “Yo Te Amo,” Board of Directors thank you and Our God for your increased, incredible support since the April 17th earth quake. You have made it possible for many to look to Buen Samaritano Clinica as a source for help and renewed hope.

Dios los bendiga, Amigos

Elizabeth and Richard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rebuilding of Floron #8 church!

Dear Family and Friends,

Over the past weeks we have certainly reached out to you for your support that has arrived in multiple ways . . . prayers, e-mails, phone calls. . . each of which has been encouraging and rejuvenating to our staff, Richard and myself and many known and unknown to you. This side of heaven you will probably not realize the impact.

You may remember that two Saturdays ago we accompanied the youth pastors and some hearty teens out to finish taking out walls of the remains of the one room church in sorely impoverished Floron #8.

#6.2 #6.1

I admit I take no awards for ‘asking for help;’ however, I guess knowing how precious this church was to our day guard, Pastor Mesa, I did ask the original builders of this ‘forgotten church’ if they would consider supplying the materials if we rounded up enough men from Pastor Gruezo’s church to do the building. (To those of you who have experienced the Holy Spirit empowering you in areas that are NOT your forte you know what I am talking about.)

You deserve to know about this ‘small miracle’ as I see it and I know Richard agrees. Not only did they agree to supply the materials – they were delivered Tuesday; and today the first team began building! Not just men for construction, but also women came to chop weeds and begin ‘loving’ the church grounds that are quite dilapidated even before the destruction of ‘terremoto’ (earthquake).

#7.3 #7.4

And, (I thought my heart would burst) the plan is for the Floron 8 church to be an extension of Pastor Gruezo’s children’s bi-weekly church program. The initial goal is to enroll 40 children from the Floron 8 area . . . and a small kitchen is planned so children can also receive a meal.

There you have it!! You saw the Floron #8 church torn down . . . and now you see His people again volunteering and rebuilding this church for His Glory!! The power of prayers should never, ever be underestimated.

 

Dios los bendiga nosotros amigos,

Elizabeth and Richard

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

May 7, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

Hope this finds everyone ready for “Mother’s Day” . . . and I know that conjures up a variety of feelings for everyone. Monday I took a loaf of banana bread to a family down the block . . .I never had met them previously, but they lost their daughter, son in-law and one year old grandchild as they purchased medicine at a Portoviejo pharmacy that disintegrated upon them during the quake . . .I was glad I made the visit. The mom put her head on my shoulder and sobbed. . .

It’s been a busy week with the highlight this morning at 6:30a. Pastor Mesa, our day guard told me how sad he was that no one came to help with the little church in Floron #8. (El Floron is divided up into sections as each area is developed and Floron #8 is the last to date. It is a very impoverished area and thus a small, one room church built quite a few years ago.) I asked him if he asked for help but for some reason he was reticent. . .”Ye have not because ye ask not . . .” So, I decided he was asking me.

So, at 6:30am Richard and I, along with the Youth Group and Pastors surprised Pastor Mesa and ascended on this little church that lost all of one wall and most of the other three plus adjoining Sunday school rooms that also lost portions of their walls. Within two hours only the frame remained . . . My shock was that these teens came out at 6:30am on a Saturday morning!! (Was I thankful!!!) Hopefully, this little, one room church received some attention and may be reconstructed to serve the many children in this area and be used for medical missions as in the past.

View from remaining pulpit

View from remaining pulpit

Church walls coming down

Church walls coming down

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4.4 #4.3

 

 

 

Sending our best wishes that tomorrow holds loving memories of mothers that God gave us . . . and the ability to forgive as Christ did where needed.

Dios los bendiga,

Elizabeth and Richard

 

 

 

 

 

The rebuilding of a church

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Over the past weeks we have certainly reached out to you for your support that has arrived in multiple ways . . . prayers, e-mails, phone calls. . . each of which has been encouraging and rejuvenating to our staff,  Richard and myself and many known and unknown to you.  This side of heaven you will probably not realize the impact.

You may remember that two Saturdays ago we accompanied the youth pastors and some hearty teens out to finish taking out walls of the remains of the one room church in sorely impoverished Floron #8.

#6.1 #6.2

I admit I take no awards for ‘asking for help;’ however, I guess knowing how precious this church was to our day guard, Pastor Mesa, I did ask the original builders of this ‘forgotten church’ if they would consider supplying the materials if we rounded up enough men from Pastor Gruezo’s church to do the building. (To those of you who have experienced the Holy Spirit empowering you in areas that are NOT your forte you know what I am talking about.)

You deserve to know about this ‘small miracle’ as I see it and I know Richard agrees. Not only did they agree to supply the materials – they were delivered Tuesday; and today the first team began building! Not just men for construction, but also women came to chop weeds and begin ‘loving’ the church grounds that are quite dilapidated even before the destruction of ‘terremoto’ (earthquake).

#6.3 #6.4

And, (I thought my heart would burst) the plan is for the Floron 8 church to be an extension of Pastor Gruezo’s children’s bi-weekly church program. The initial goal is to enroll 40 children from the Floron 8 area . . . and a small kitchen is planned so children can also receive a meal.

There you have it!! You saw the Floron #8 church torn down . . . and now you see His people again volunteering and rebuilding this church for His Glory!! The power of prayers should never, ever be underestimated.

 

Dios los bendiga nosotros amigos,

Elizabeth and Richard

An overwhelming arrival to Ecuador

May 1, 2016

Buenas Días, Amigos y Amigas,

How do we ever send our appreciation and love for the many, many phone calls and e-mails regarding our whereabouts and the state of affairs with the clinic plus our dear El Floron friends whom many of you are acquainted? Yes, we continue to covet your prayers.

Richard and I arrived at Buen Samaritano Clinic this past Tuesday evening. It was a somber experience as a plane full of people disembarked the plane in Manta and were greeted by an enormous tent just off the tarmac that was now the terminal departure lounge area – the whole terminal was un-useable. The lack of the luggage waiting room said enough; our luggage was delivered to a small covered area where passengers respectfully awaited their bags as silent, armed military men visually canvased the crowd. Baggage receipts were not checked.

Hermano Fabricio (our custodian) was there and we exchanged longer than usual hugs and some tears. . . He quickly took our carry-on luggage to the car and returned to help Richard with the five enormous bags stuffed with donated disposable diapers, masks, dehydrated food and tuna packages, crackers, toothbrushes and paste, hotel soaps and shampoos . . . all items that Dra. Silvia had requested. Oh, yes, we also had all the water production replacement parts that Richard cannot find here or is less expensive in The States.

El Floron, home to Buen Samaritano Clinic, is like a suburb to Portoviejo. We thank God that there was no major damage in this area (A few homes had a wall collapse and the clinic had 3 large holes on two sides of the brick wall surrounding the clinic.) Those entire sections have to be replaced as one can’t just patch up the hole. Sadly, one El Floron family of three were killed as they were at a pharmacy in Portoviejo for medicine . . . The pharmacy collapsed consuming mom, dad and their one year old child. As we drove into El Floron a candle vigil was being held in their memory.

Immediately following the initial quake of 7.8 the people of El Floron panicked and stormed the clinic water purification building pounding on doors and demanding water. The military came to restore order as the entire Buen Samaritano Staff joined the three water purification personnel as they all worked feverishly to mass produce water.#5.1 #5.2 #5.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5.4 #5.5

 

Buen Samaritano Staff pitches in to help the water guy’s speed up production for a frightened and demanding El Floron Community.

Buen Samaritano Staff pitches in to help the water guy’s speed up production for a frightened and demanding El Floron Community.

Prior to coming we were told the central area of Portoviejo looked like a war zone. It is true. The area was blocked off and heavily patrolled since looting was horrific. However, Richard and I did ask if they would allow us to take a brief walk through and this is how we obtained the pictures . . . Places some of you possibly have been during a mission trip.

 Highway outside Portoviejo that leads to Crucita where some of you have visited.

Highway outside Portoviejo that leads to Crucita where some of you have visited.

 

 

 

 

 

Downtown Portoviejo

Downtown Portoviejo

Downtown Portoviejo

Downtown Portoviejo

Joy comes in the morning . . . and it certainly did this Sunday Morning. In the midst of the service a very tall, Venezuelan firefighter/rescue worker walked into the church from the street and right up to the front of the church as many ladies were dancing (remember this is a Pentecostal Church, services are lively). He was among the many firefighters/rescue workers that had come from other countries to aid the ravaged cities. As the service ended he asked to speak and said how he appreciated Pastor Gruezo’s sermon (based on Jonas 4:1-10 if you care to look) and how Christians must now – more than ever- live out The Great Commission in their daily lives. He is also a youth pastor. I was awed at his confidence to come in off the street (I’m sure he heard our singing), walk to the front and actually share a brief testimony. I thought my heart would burst at the joy I felt in being with these dear Christians and this ‘stranger’ who all understood the sovereignty of Our God which goes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond a 7.8 ‘terremoto’ (earthquake) . . . which leaves us with peace, thanksgiving and compassion for those remaining.

Prayer Requests:

-Thanksgiving for Our God’s promise to never leave or forsake us.
-Thanksgiving for all the last minute donations we received in Denver and that the supervisor at ‘Tame —Airlines’ in Quito did not charge us for our extremely overweight luggage.
-Thanksgiving for Dra. Silvia’s leadership to guide the staff to a place of service to the El Floron ——Community, to packing care kits for the hundreds of people left homeless and an orphanage left without water/diapers/etc.
-Thanksgiving for minimal clinic damage and especially the lives spared in El Floron.
-Courage and confidence to actively share The Great Commission as we encounter many with deep grief and sadness over incredible loss of friends, family and employment.

I have meant to share that our USA Board Members have previously set aside Monday night (7 – 8p) as a time to pray for all concerns with Fundación “Yo Te Amo,” CO and Fundación El Buen Samaritano. So, feel free to join us wherever you may be . . . in the next update I will try to share more of our ‘inner prayer concerns’.

Dios los bendiga,

Elizabeth and Richard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the clinic is helping!

Dear friends,

I want to get another update off while Elizabeth is still in Portland, OR. She returns tonight after two weeks of caring for our 3 year old grandson while his normal ‘grandma babysitter’ heals from shoulder surgery. Tomorrow we finish packing items necessary for water purification repairs plus a multitude of wonderful items donated for earthquake relief. Long distance communication has been difficult for us so we are most anxious to return.

Yesterday there were very few who came to the clinic seeking medical attention so Dra. Silvia (our medical director) coordinated and assisted the staff in making 83 emergency kits. From last year’s shipment they used the large blue medical wash basins and filled them with toothpaste, soap, small water bottle, shampoo, towel and canned goods. Dra. Silvia coordinated the distribution of these kits with her church to help the people that have extreme needs in downtown Portoviejo. Dra. Silvia also took medicine to the Portoviejo hospital and as you might expect, they were most grateful.

Today they plan to donate 100 gallons of water or more to be used were needed.

Here are some photos I received from our custodian’s phone that shows our staff preparing relief packages from last year’s container shipment. Thank you!

news 4.1 news 4.2

 

 

 

 

If you look closely the Target and Walmart bags stand out. Our church, CCPC, collects these bags for us. These bags are normally used in all the small trash cans in the clinic but now have found a new use for helping quake relief.

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news 4.5

 

Preparing small bottles for distribution. Our label name is “Buen Samaritano Water” or in English “Good Samaritan Water”.

 

news 4.6

Our 97 Chevy is our only transportation – yes, it may be a Chevy but repairs are always necessary… but we are thankful for every mile it takes us! Especially now.

news 4.7

 

 

 

 

 

Packed and ready to go!

 Blessings come from knowing that God is in control. Efforts in Ecuador will take a long-long time but they eventually will recover. As you are aware the difficulty is getting from here to there. As in most disasters the world will soon forget as the business of lives continue to consume our time but for the time being we are most thankful to have your support and financial assistance. ALL this is possible because of your partnership.

 Dios los bendiga,

Richard and Elizabeth <><

Earthquake Update April 20, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Dearest Friends,
Many of you have called and/or written  offering prayer support and contributions in light of the recent earthquake in Ecuador; we and our Buen Samaritano Staff  sincerely appreciate  your concern.
Most likely you have seen photos on television or over the internet;  but we’d like to share a few of where we work – El Floron, which is a suburb of Portoviejo – the hard-hit capital of the Manabí Province which in itself was the hardest hit province.
As of this morning there were more than 500 confirmed dead, some 200 plus still missing, more than 1500 buildings destroyed or badly damaged, and 20,000 homeless. If this occurred on a weekday, hundreds more would have been lost. From what we heard, the little city on the coast, Pedernales, home to 40,000 people, was demolished.
As stated before this was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake (20 times stronger than the one that recently hit Japan) with hundreds of aftershocks – the biggest came yesterday and registered 6.1. The epicenters were in different places but not far from each other. If you look at the top of the following map the 1st one occurred 16 miles south-southeast of the coastal city of Muisne. The 2nd one occurred 15 miles west of Muisne. There hasn’t been a relatively large earthquake in Ecuador since 1979. The last strong earthquake in Ecuador occurred in 1949 – which killed more than 5,000.
In the bottom half of the map and to the left is Portoviejo – where Floron resides – our home away from home.   Some of you have visited on medical, teaching or construction missions, Peacemaker Seminars and as visitors.
We are thankful the damage in El Floron was minimal with minor damage at the clinic. The clinic compound walls have a few holes where the brick crumbled. The water distribution building and the recent expansion of that facility received no damage. I do not currently have a full assessment concerning the main clinic building and our apartment which is located on the second floor over the clinic’s dental office but initial assessment said that it looked fine. However, the same could not be said of the pure water production machine located on the clinic roof. Fortunately the staff with some assistance was able to locate spare parts and was able to fix it so that it operated with minimal leakage. Some parts that can only be obtained in the states but what can be obtained is no longer available locally. The city shopping mall, which had a hardware department, is closed  and other ‘ parts stores’ are all closed due to the situation.  I will have to bring from home items needed for water purification system repairs. news 4.1
 Damaged purification plant on clinic’s roof.
news 4.3 news 4.2
To our surprise, electricity returned to Floron on Monday so they were able to fill water bottles. I cannot tell you how proud we are of the staff who came together to sell much needed water to the community. It is beyond words! This not only shows solidarity, willingness to go beyond but a true heart of our staff. They distributed to as many people as possible. What follows are just some of the photos that they were able to send to us. Because of looting and other problems in Manabí Province the military was present to help bring some stability and control. They assisted with crowd control while water was being distributed in El Floron.
 

news 4.9
The US government is sending aid but in what form I currently do not know. I did hear that Samaritan’s Purse is sending 40 tons of needed goods and supplies. The Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington DC has posted a list of what the government is asking for.If you have a heart to help another agency that can ship items we hope you will. Whether you have never given, have given in the past but not recently or are currently giving and wish to give above regular donations – our organization desperately needs your help. Right now the best way for you to do that is by sending us a check to the address on the letterhead or by visiting our web site and hit our PayPal link. In the memo please put: Earthquake relief. Your generosity will be most appreciated.
Prayer Requests*Thanksgiving for the safety of the clinic and its staff.*Thanksgiving for the minimal damage to the clinic and water purification building and equipment.

*Intercession prayer for all the families that have lost members and homes resulting from the earthquake.

*Wisdom and discernment for the Engkjers’ imminent return to El Floron this coming Sunday.

Dios los bendiga,

Richard and Elizabeth

Tragic earthquake

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dearest Friends,

We are contacting you with sincere appreciation for the kind inquiries and prayers regarding the recent (Saturday night, 4/16) earthquake in Ecuador.  As of this moment (12:30p PST) fatalities are at 233 and since this is early in the aftermath I am sure that is not final.

Was our area involved?  Yes it was.  In the province, which is Manabí, the airport control tower was damaged and air traffic is currently at a standstill.

In Portoviejo (Floron, a suburb of Portoviejo, houses our clinic), an enormous government building collapsed; thankfully, this was not on a week day when hundreds of people would have been involved.  There was damage to the mall but to what extent I am unsure.

Richard has been in phone contact with Dra. Silvia who lives in Portoviejo.  She said they are shaken but are safe.  However, she has asked for the clinic tents (used for medical missions) to be used for El Floron residents (where the clinic resides) whose home walls have collapsed.  Obviously, electricity is out in the province.

Prayer Requests

*Thanksgiving for the safety – as far as is known – of the clinic and water purification staff.

 

*Intercession prayer for all the families that have lost members and homes resulting from the earthquake.

 

*Minimal if any structural damage to the clinic or water purification building.

 

*Wisdom and discernment for the Engkjers imminent return to El Floron.

Dios los bendiga,

Richard and Elizabeth