Happy birthday, Fátima!

In honor of her birthday today we wanted to share a little about Fátima, one of missionary sisters at the Mission Home.

Fátima has been a part of the Mission Home since the very beginning, taking care of abandoned, abused, and neglected children for over 30 years. She is the epitome of motherly love…compassionate, patient, caring, energetic, affectionate, guiding, and stern when necessary. She has been in charge of caring for the little boys for many years now, and at one time cared for as many as 100 little boys at the same time. She calls her life easy now that she only has to care for 19 (ranging in age from 2 years old to 12). But anyone who comes to the Mission Home can see how it would be impossible to find someone else who could do all that she does. 

More impressive than her incredible work ethic and dedication to her calling is her simple and pure love. She is gifted with the ability to make anyone that comes in contact with her feel special, cared for, and genuinely loved, a characteristic that goes a long way with the children she cares for. If you come to the Mission Home she will likely be the first one to greet you with a big smile on her face. And even if she is in the middle of doing laundry for her 19 boys or helping get each of them bathed and ready for bed, she will be sure to take a moment to ask how she can help you, and let you know that you are welcome. Since we arrived back at the Mission Home, she has offered daily to take care of Regan to ‘give us a break’. We laugh at the absurdity that we could possibly be the ones in need of a break, when she cares for so many every second of the day. But it is in this way that she demonstrates how much she cares.  

We learned of the capacity of Fátima’s love from a past volunteer. An 11 year old boy arrived at the home having survived physical and verbal abuse from his guardians. For the first several months at the home he screamed at everything, and everyone, often throwing all of the contents of whatever room he was in onto the floor or at whoever was passing by. He refused to eat, and flailed his body out of control when asked to complete any task. His destructive behavior was a common manifestation of the trauma many of the kids experience. Fátima was patient. Each day when he would begin to scream or lose control she would hug him, tell him it was okay, and that she was there. After 3 months of this, Fátima knew that she needed to help break this cycle so the boy could have a life again, succeed in school, and begin to heal. So that day when he began to scream she wrapped him tight in her arms and held him for more than 30 minutes repeating that it was enough, she understood his suffering but he could stop the screaming now, she was there and she loved him. He did. And though it took many more months and professional psychological services to advance the healing process, the boy is stable now. He is a good student and a caring older brother and friend. 

Fátima motivates us to work harder and to put love at the center of everything we do. Happy birthday to you, our dearest friend Fátima! 

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Back in Ecuador!

We have been back in Ecuador for almost 2 weeks now and we are so happy to be here. Looking back on 2020 we continue to feel overwhelmed with gratitude for your support, and we have exciting plans for the upcoming year. Here is a quick update on what’s going on at the Mission.

The Mission School continues with virtual learning as mandated by the government in response to COVID-19. It is challenging, especially for all our families that do not have access to internet, but the school is doing everything it can to accommodate all students. 

The Mission Home has welcomed over 15 new children since the pandemic began. They are adjusting well and it is incredible to see the transformative effects of the love and care they receive here. The kids are divided into small groups to complete their school work each morning, and the tutors we hired provide supplemental education. Many of the children at the Mission Home are thriving with the smaller ‘class’ sizes, and are able to bridge some of their educational gaps better than they otherwise would be. So there’s one positive to virtual learning! 

Our University students are doing well while most of their classes continue online. We have one student preparing to graduate in April!

On a personal note, our 5 month old daughter, Regan, is loving Ecuador! We are in the midst of summer so it is very hot and humid, and a drought has forced water rationing so we have no running water after 2pm. It is certainly a new (and at times challenging) adventure with Regan here, but the missionary sisters and the kids at the home already love her so well.

Thank you for being on this journey with us!

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