For the past three weeks, we had the pleasure of hosting a group of 19 students, one faculty advisor, and one Franciscan Friar from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.
The group came to volunteer at the Mission Home and the Mission School while staying in the guest housing at the Mission Home. Jim is a Franciscan University alumnus, making him especially excited to welcome the group.
The volunteers spent their days busy serving. A group of the students volunteered as aides in all of the English language classes at the Mission School every morning. Another group helped care for the 8 babies and young toddlers that are too young to attend school. And a few students even helped in the kitchen each morning, preparing the meals for the 100+ children, missionaries, and staff that live at the Home. In the afternoon, the students were divided by households, with several students helping with homework and playtime in each of the Mission homes. At 5:30pm the students were relieved of their volunteer duties, for time for group prayer, personal reflection and rest before a group dinner in the evenings.
One of the greatest gifts of a volunteer group of this size is how much fun they bring to the life of the children. The children never tire of the extra piggy back rides, pushes on the swing, or partners to kick the soccer ball with. In addition, we were impressed by the purposefulness with which the volunteers approached their time in Ecuador. They brought frisbees to teach the children new games. They planned a ‘retreat’ for the adolescent boys and girls to discuss formation and faith. And they joyfully accepted any challenge or discomfort for the benefit of the children they were aiming to serve. The group returned to the United States this past weekend, but we will remember their love, and are grateful for their time and genuine hearts of service.