University Student Spotlight – Kengie

Meet Kengie! Kengie is 19 years old and grew up at the Mission Home along with her older sister and younger brother. She recently was accepted into a university in Guayaquil and is one of our newest students in our University Program. She will start her degree studying tourism next month. 

Kengie (right) with her sister, Josselyn (left), at a high-school cultural performance.

Kengie reflects very positively on her time in the Mission Home. Due to family problems, she came to the home when she was 12 years old. One of her favorite parts of her time at the home was helping one of the missionaries, Fatima, with her group of little boys. The little boys still affectionately refer to her as ñaña, meaning sister. 

Kengie gives a big hug to missionary, Fatima, and a few of the little boys.

Since she graduated high school and turned 18, Kengie has been living with her grandmother in a city about an hour away. Due to child welfare laws in Ecuador, the home is unable to continue to care for children after they turn 18. Kengie is very fortunate that she has a grandmother to live with, and her grandmother is equally blessed to have Kengie to accompany her in her older age. Kengie returns often to the Mission Home, most frequently to visit her sister who is now an employee at the home, and also to visit the missionaries and the little boys. 

Kengie and Jim playing with some of the little boys.

Kengie states that she wants to attend university because it is the ‘only way’ to have a professional career and find good employment. She is motivated to better herself through education, and wants to be able to take better care of herself and her family than her parents were able to take care of her. She is very grateful for the opportunity to study, and recognizes with immense gratitude all of the people that helped her get here, including all of you! We are excited to support Kengie through this next phase of her education, and are so thankful to be able to do so because of your generosity! 

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Our Friend Viky

We lost a good friend last week. Viky passed away after a four year battle with breast cancer at the age of 36. Viky was one of the first teachers I met at the mission school 14 years ago and she became a good friend. Viky taught English although she graduated from college with a law degree. Perhaps she decided to teach because her mother was the principal and her sister worked at the school as well. I think she didn’t want to have to move to a big city to practice law and wanted her 3 young children to grow up near their cousins and grandparents.

Viky and her husband, Erik, and three children, Isabel, Sophia, and Andreas.

But teaching wasn’t how we became friends, it was through her cooking! Viky was a great cook. Viky learned that I loved an Ecuadorian dish called “Churrasco” (I only loved it for the quantity of food it had: Beef, rice, fried eggs, avocado, and french fries). Viky invited me to her house many times while I was a volunteer and every year when I came back to visit. When Grace and I moved here a few years ago she made us bread constantly.

Viky also helped us with our scholarship programs and more recently with our food drive last year during the Covid lockdown. Even though she was going through chemo, she was very concerned about other families, especially those with young children who were in need. At one point we were testing out a pilot project for data entry in Ecuador which Viky ran since she knew English and was an excellent worker and could instruct and manage the young people we were going to hire. Unfortunately, she received bad news soon after we began the project and had to give it up.
We will miss Viky terribly.  We will miss her friendship. We will miss her determination and care for others. We hope that the work we do to continue to help more families will make her proud.
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