Every short-term team has a unique experience based on the country, culture and timing of its trip. This serendipity is one reason why joining a team of volunteers is so rewarding. Team members think they are traveling to help others, but often return surprised at how much they are personally impacted.
The Romeo campus of Woodside Bible Church in Michigan recently returned from a deeply impactful trip. Just four of the 15 participants had previously been on a missions trip, so serving cross-culturally was a fresh experience. ER connected the team with Ramiro Baez, head of long-time partner Buen Pastor. Ramiro has planted numerous churches and schools in the small communities around Quito.
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 previously provided a Christmas party for the community in 2018. The people of Palugo responded with open arms. The plan called for the Woodside team to do construction in the mornings and run a kids club in the afternoons.
Church Construction Booms, Kid’s Club Doubles, Volunteers Broken
The team embraced a construction goal of erecting a steel structure, roof and start on the walls. But the group 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 preach from the sanctuary much earlier than expected.
Sixty children from the neighborhood showed up on the first day of the kid’s club. 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.
Volunteer Impacts Refugee…
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. He was struck with compassion when he learned Cesar and his wife were refugees and expecting a child.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to get involved.