The Hope You Bring

Here is the story of Liz and Edwin’s family. Thank you for bringing them joy and hope through your generosity. Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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Our Christmas Wish List

Would you consider adding Mission Santa Maria to your Christmas list? Here is what we need most to continue to best serve the children in our programs.

– A Christmas meal for a scholarship plus family $50/family 
Our scholarship plus program employed a social worker to identify the needs of students from the most impoverished families. These students now receive comprehensive scholarships including tuition, transportation, school supplies, and food assistance. We would like to give this group of a families extra food this month to celebrate the holidays.

– Bedroom furniture for a University student $500
We are grateful to have a house where the girls in our university program can live in Guayaquil. But three new young women are moving in and their bedrooms have no furniture! Help us create a safe and dignified living environment by purchasing furniture for them.

– Computers $600
The Mission School needs 10 computers for the computer lab. For students without computers at home, the lab is the only place to access the internet and learn important technology skills.

– Return hot water to the Mission Home $2,000
Help us fix the hot water system at the Mission Home so that the children can take hot showers again!

– An extra set of hands at the Mission Home $5,000/year
Taking care of 85 children is all encompassing and exhausting. Help us continue to alleviate some of the workload of the Mission Home caregivers by hiring staff to assist with tasks like cooking, laundry, and cleaning. $5,000 covers the salary of one full time staff member for one year.

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Mission School Olympics

The Mission School is hosting their annual olympics. The school olympics is a chance for the children to learn about countries from all around the world while participating in a variety of sports challenges.

Each class is assigned a country to represent. The students and teachers become wholeheartedly committed to their team, decorating an olympic banner, coming up with a dance for the ‘opening ceremony’, and making sure to cheer the loudest when competing in the games.

While from the outside, it may just seem like another party (and we are the first to admit that there is a genuine love of parties here in Ecuador), the olympics provide more than just festivities. They offer a chance for students to bond with their classmates and teachers outside the classroom, they promote teamwork, introduce a more global mindset, and most importantly, allow students to develop both physically and intellectually.

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A Day in the Life of Fatima

As the holidays approach, do you feel stressed by the list of people you still need to shop for, the food you need to prepare, or all the packing you have to do to get ready for holiday travels? When I inevitably start to feel some of this burden, it helps to spend time with the missionary women to put things in perspective. Recently, I had the pleasure of spending the day helping Fatima in order to give you a glimpse of her life. Here is her schedule:

Fatima currently cares for 19 boys ranging in age from 3-12 years old. Life is hectic, messy, and full of love.

5am: Wakes up all the children. She currently has 19 boys, ranging in age from 3-12 years old in her care.

5-6am: Helps the children (especially the youngest) go to the bathroom, get changed for school, and make their beds.

6am: Leads a prayer and serves breakfast.

6:30am: Helps children clean up their breakfast. Checks all 19 backpacks to make sure every child has their school supplies and homework ready.

7am: Walks children to school.

8am: Walks children that are studying in the Mission Home tutor program to their classroom to begin their day of specialized learning.

8-9am: Cleans up the house (that has inevitably become a disaster by this time)

9am: Eats breakfast with the other missionary women, a rare chance to spend time together.

9:30-11:30am: Helps with the general functioning of the mission home. Today, she organizes a delivery of personal care items (toilet paper, soap, etc), folds sheets, and then meets with the psychologist to review a few of the cases of the children in her care. She shares that this time is far less stressful than it used to be, as she now has help with tasks like laundry and cooking that used to fall on her shoulders as well.

11:45am: Welcomes the 3-5 year olds back home from school.

12:30-1pm: Welcomes the rest of the children back home from school.

1pm: Serves lunch to the kids. Fatima eats her lunch at the counter while watching over the kids

2-4pm: Helps the kids with homework

4-5pm: Oversees playtime in the patio!

5-6pm: Directs the older children in their daily chores (sweeping the patio, taking out the trash), helps the younger children take baths

6pm: Older children take baths

6:30pm: Serves dinner

7:30pm: Reads the youngest children stories to put them to bed

8-8:30pm: Chats with and reads books to the older children to put them to bed

9pm: Eats dinner

10:30pm: Goes to sleep

10:30pm-5am: Wakes up 3 separate times. Once when someone has an accident and she has to change their pajamas and sheets, once when someone has a bad dream, and once to make sure everyone is sleeping in their own bed (she says that this is an important boundary to maintain especially when children just arrive at the home and have survived abuse)

Two times stand out to me most in Fatima’s crazy day (apart from how exhausted I felt after only one day of her life). First, when all the children return from school. She makes sure to greet each one and ask them a specific question about their day – she asks one boy about a presentation he is working on, another if a fight with a friend has been resolved, and another if he liked the orange that was packed as his midmorning snack. She says it is one way to demonstrate her love for each one of the children in her care.

The second is when the older boys don’t want to do their chores. They yell and whine, saying they want to play soccer for a few more minutes. She calmly picks up a broom and begins sweeping herself, saying she will help them but it’s time to sweep the patio and take responsibility for where they live. Soon they have all joined her with the exception of one, a newer resident of the Mission Home. She waits until she has finished helping with all the chores to talk to him privately. They agree to a plan where he will help put away all the dishes after dinner, a task usually reserved for Fatima, in order to make up for the missed chore and to spend more one-on-one time together.

Fatima’s example inspires me to be a more patient and loving mother all the time, and especially in the seemingly insignificant moments of the day.

Fatima has been caring for abused, neglected, and abandoned children for over 20 years. Her love and patience is seemingly unending.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the whole Mission Santa Maria family! Here is a short video message to extend our gratitude.


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