Every short-term team has a unique experience based on the country, culture and timing of its trip. This bit of serendipity is one of the reasons why joining a team is so rewarding. Team members think they are traveling with a specific agenda to help others, but often return surprised at how much they are personally impacted.

For a group from the Romeo campus of Woodside Bible Church in Michigan, the trip was deeply impactful. Just four of the 15 participants had previously been on a missions trip, so serving cross-culturally was a fresh experience. ER was able to connect the team with Ramiro Baez, head of long-time partner Buen Pastor. Ramiro has planted numerous churches and schools in the small communities outside of Quito.

For the Woodside team, Ramiro presented a wonderful opportunity: Come and build a second story on a fledgling church in the small community of Palugo. Another short-term team had provided a Christmas party for the community in 2018 and the people of Palugo responded with open arms. The plan called for the team to do construction in the mornings and run a kids club in the afternoons.

Triple Impact: Church Construction Booms, Kid’s Club Doubles, Team Members Broken

The construction goal was to erect a steel structure, roof and start on the walls. But the Woodside team was so efficient they finished all of this and 85% of the walls. The church building just needs doors and windows to enclose the sanctuary. Pastor Julio will be able to preach from the sanctuary much earlier than expected.

On the first day of the kid’s club, 60 children from the neighborhood showed up. Word spread quickly and more kids showed up every day. By the last day, 120 excited kids participated. The club’s impact was heart-felt throughout the community, which continues to embrace the church’s efforts to love and care for them. Pastor Juilo said the overall impact was nothing short of a miracle!

The Woodside team also visited the Quito Dump recycling community. They saw first-hand the women’s and men’s life skills/livelihood training programs and the children’s after-school program. Many on the Woodside team said seeing the hardship faced by the Dump recyclers broke them spiritually and they felt their lives would never be the same.

But There’s More…

As often happens, people from the community helped with construction. One of the local workers was a  refugee from Venezuela named Cesar, a welder. Steve, a Woodside team member, befriended Cesar. When he learned Cesar and his wife were refugees and expecting a child, he was struck with compassion.

After the team’s morning devotions, Steve and ER’s Pete Emery reached out to Cesar and asked him if he was a follower of Jesus. Cesar said ‘no’, but he said he was ready to become one. The three of them prayed and Cesar is now a Christ-follower!

If you’ve read this far, hopefully you’ve been encouraged by the impact this team of volunteers had on Cesar, Pastor Julio, Pastor Ramiro and the entire Palugo community. Be part of an ER short-term team in 2020. Email us at mobilization@extremeresponse.org to get involved.

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