EMT 2016

EMT 2016
2016 Ecuador Mission Team

Join Us for an EMT Reunion!!!

Did you know that Whitefield has sent a team to Amor y Esperanza every summer since 2004?  This year's group of students was the 13th group to travel to Quito to work alongside Pancho and Pity in the Carmen Bajo neighborhood.

The concrete patio where we enjoyed recreation time with the Ecuadorian students everyday was poured (at least in part) by Whitefield students!  The classrooms in the building where we taught classes were painted by a former EMT group.  One of the students we met who has moved on from Amor y Esperanza after finishing the 10th grade was sponsored for years by a Whitefield graduate who first travelled to Ecuador in 2007.

Not only have the Whitefield teams impacted many lives and the ministry in Ecuador, but the relationships we formed have impacted us, grown us in our faith, and become part of our story.

Now it is time to get together to share our stories, to pray for Pancho and Pity, and to hear how the Lord is at work in the Amor y Esperanza Fundacion!

Please join us on August 4th, 7:30 pm, for dessert and coffee at the Faulk's home, 3515 Ridgewood Road NW, Atlanta, GA  30327.

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

How many members of this 2012 Ecuador Mission Team do you recognize?

Please share this invitation with anyone you are in contact with who has been impacted by the Ecuador Mission Team.  Parents, family, and friends are welcome to join us!

June 12-13 Final Hours

I am sitting in my comfy chair at home, missing our Ecuadorian home of the last 10 days.  I am especially missing the people and the time we had together.  On Sunday, before boarding our plane around 11:30 pm local time, we had an outing to see the Basilica in downtown Quito.  We climbed high into the bell tower to look over the city.  We never could have completed this feat the weekend before, but with our bodies at least partially adjusted to the altitude, we were able to manage the many steps and small winding staircases.  We capped off the visit to downtown with lunch at Rusty's where Roberto was excited to discover "miti miti" -- half onion rings and half fries!

View of one tower of the Basilica from the opposite tower.

We were excited to see this sign. We had been teaching
the name of the rook in chess all week:  torre!

View of the stained glass from inside the Basilica.

One of the views from the bell tower.

View of the sanctuary of the Basilica.

After returning to the house, we were blessed to be able to spend some final time with the Lord individually and then corporately.  We had begun the day with a message from Roberto about what the Lord was doing before he created.  He shared with us three Greek words -- pneuma, koinonia, and ecclesia.  We had the gift of experiencing the Lord inside a living room this week, with one another, the body of Christ.  We were able to close the day with prayer for Pancho, Pity, and their family.  And though there were a few tears, there was much rejoicing for the new family that we gained -- brothers and sisters in Christ.

Danny, Jesus, Pity, Maria Victoria, Pancho and Matteo
receiving gifts from the team.

Sporting new shoes and Whitefield gear!

Please keep Amor y Esperanza in your prayers as they are facing a difficult time ahead.  The changes in the government of Ecuador have created many hardships for the ministry -- from increased construction costs for the new school building to lack of funding for the day care to increased supply costs across the board.  In addition, there are many children at the school who continue to be in need of sponsorship.  It is hard to express in a few words what we witnessed over the course of the week, but what I can say is that Amor y Esperanza is transforming lives, and transforming the community of Carmen Bajo, through their work.  Please visit Amor y Esperanza online and consider helping in any way that you can -- through prayer, financial support, or spreading the word!  

When we arrived at the airport, ticket lines and
security lines were short giving the boys some
time to catch a soccer match on TV as we waited at the gate. 

We made it home safe and sound, and it was exciting to see each Whitefield student reuniting with their family.  We will carry not only our experiences with us, but also the students of Amor y Esperanza, the women and men who cooked for us, drove us around town, and worked alongside us, and the family of Pancho and Pity.  May the grace of God be your constant companion and may you follow where the Lord leads you!

June 11 - Nono

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made man rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

                                                                    Psalm 8

I am writing on Sunday morning, the beginning of our last day here in Ecuador.  After an overnight flight, we will find ourselves back in Atlanta -- ready for some Chick-Fil-A, hot showers, and time to reflect and process our journey here.

We loaded into Pity's SUV and two vans for the long winding ascent to Nono, where Pity's mom and aunt have a farm that has been in the family for generations.  As we climbed higher into the mountains, the air became more pure, the roads more rutted, and the cows more frequent!

The Wells's ranch.

First, we visited the home of David and Lois Wells -- Dr. Wells is the headmaster at Alliance Academy International, an ACSI school here in Quito which Pancho and Pity's three children attend.  He is also on the board of Amor y Esperanza and Community Ventures International (their non-profit arm in the US).  Lois saddled up her horses and took some of us on a trail ride while others rode in the ring.  What a feeling to come cantering up a mountain in Ecuador, surrounded by God's majestic creation (also led by a horse named Majestic)!

Henry in the ring being led by Pancho

We then travelled the short distance to Pity's family farm where we enjoyed a day of relaxation, games, empanadas, and friendly competition.  This year the futbol contest was not US vs. Ecuador, but ended up in a 10-9 victory with William's team defeating Pancho's.  William sustained a minor injury which was doctored by our SWAT team veteran Mariah, assisted by Emma.

Bailey takes on Jared in ping pong.  I think Jared won, but
Bailey went on to defeat Maria Victoria in an epic game to 100 points!

This is a view of the path that we walked prior to the
"race".  Pancho's son Danny took first place in the 1500 meter
beating Matteo and Jesus as all of the Americans
bowed out of the competition.

Mariah with a cute puppy at the farm; the one, in
fact, that would later throw up on her leg.

Nkosi was crowned the EMT 2016 arm wrestling champ after
beating William.  

Una pequena vaca -- Pity's family farm is a functioning dairy
farm where the milk is picked up daily to be taken into Quito.
The students enjoyed a "Last Supper" at the farm.  The meal
was interrupted by a giant moth which "attacked" the students
causing fear and chaos.  Adria exhorted the kids saying,
"It's not like it has Zika or anything!"  At this point, the moth
"attacked" Adria directly in the face. Peace was restored when
William knocked the moth off the ceiling with a wet napkin
and caught it in his hand.  Way to go Eagle Scout!

June 10--Our last day at Amor y Esperanza

Me and my class, sexto grado, or 6th grade.
Mrs. Davis here. The students are finally starting to understand my world: the world of Teacher Tired.  We finished our week of teaching with some serious fatigue. Even so, we were all alert and awake to receive the blessing of another one of Pancho's devotionals tonight:

Why do we feel closer to God while on missions? Is it the change of scenery? The emotional high? The different eating and sleeping schedule? Perhaps it's a little of all of these.

Tonight, Pancho offered this answer: we feel closer to God when we are on missions because we are doing the good work of the Gospel. When we're on missions, we are doing the word, not just reading it; we are living Jesus's commandments, not just reading them; we are making God into a verb, not just a noun.

Our relationship with God is just that--a relationship. God asks us to respond; with our mouths, our faith, and our works. In the book of James,--or Santiago--we are reminded that faith without works is dead (2:17). This is a way to take our faith-pulse and we ask ourselves: "What am I doing with my faith? How am I living it out? I say I believe, but who besides me would know if I didn't work/go to a Christian school? How do I know if I even believe what I say I believe?"

The Tae Kwon Do class demonstrated their skills and hard work.
The overarching theme of this trip has been work. Work in the physical sense, yes--and there has been plenty of that--but also work in the spiritual sense. Again and again, we've learned that we can't just sit and wait for God to move when we haven't done our part to praise and acknowledge him. It's a relationship, and we have to relate to God.

We have to do our part and declare, "Satan, you are not welcome here!" We have to fight, fight, fight, against the giants and principalities in our lives. The only weapon we need is the one that we have in endless supply: Christ's Holy Spirit. His power and protection are ours when we vow never to give up--when we work.

Maggie Leigh, doing the good and hard work of the Gospel.
A few of the 4th grade students and one of my 6th graders performed a skit about a chicken--we're not quite sure what it was about, but it was cute!

Mariah with Aylin, a 3 year old "nug" in her class.  
After lunch, Emma, Maggie Leigh, and I went to the nursery affiliated with Amor y Esperanza to say "Hi" to the nuggiest of nugs.

The current Amor y Esperanza building.
We continue to pray for funds and God's provision for the new Amor y Esperanza building, currently stuck in a legal and financial battle.

Tonight, I encourage all of you:

Be faithful.

Do your part.

Fight. Fight. Fight. Never stop fighting for God.

June 9 - Ecuador vs. USA

The teams unite in prayer following the game.

On a gravel field, in the midst of Carmen Bajo, un barrio de Quito, the annual match between Whitefield and Amor y Esperanza was played today.  In goal for the USA was Nkosi, while Ali, un professor del sexto grado, played goalie for Ecuador.  The USA had hope of a win this year with William in the midfield.  But with Pancho at striker for the opposing team, and some good defense from his teammates, Ecuador came out on top 3-1.  Halftime of the game was forced when the soccer ball went over the fence and a neighborhood dog headed it, caught it in his mouth, and took off down the street.  The girls from the school said that this is the third ball that the dog has absconded this year.  After finding another ball, the game continued with one more brief interruption when the dog returned and had to be chased off the field.

Nkosi makes a save for the USA.

William challenges Matteo, a 10th grade student who is
applying to IB programs in the city for next year.  10th grade
is the last grade that Amor y Esperanza is able to offer in
their current building.

During the soccer game, these girls enjoyed cheering and playing
games in the stands with Bailey.  Michelle stared into Bailey's eyes
and said, "Sus ojos son como el agua."  They were entranced with
her blue eyes!!

Despite the loss, the team remains in good spirits and is both excited and sad about our last day with the children of Amor y Esperanza tomorrow.  Both yesterday and today, we have had afternoon clubs with the children in addition to our morning teaching.  Tomorrow, we will have a science fair where each of the classes will be able to present a science project that they have been working on throughout the week.  Following the fair, we will have a farewell ceremony with the children and a party to honor the teachers who work diligently throughout the year to not only educate but also to disciple the children in the school.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."  Philippians 4:12

I do not mention this verse in reference to myself or to the Whitefield team here.  We are witnesses.  We are here to see the glory of God through some precious saints who we have had the privilege to meet, to serve alongside, and to know in the Spirit of Christ.

One of these saints is a mother of four whose children attend Amor y Esperanza.  She worked alongside the team in repairing the roof of the home for the family who has moved here from the coast following the earthquake.  She worked tirelessly, removing roofing tiles, consulting with and directing William in what needed to be done, moving the heavy ladder, continually with a smile and without a complaint.  On other days, she served in the school and I observed her, again with a smile, carrying food for the lunches, cleaning, or lending a hand to others in their work.  Yesterday, we took a walk through Carmen Bajo to see the neighborhood in which the children at Amor y Esperanza live.  Pancho pointed out this mother's home to me.  She is a single mother of four, and lives in a single room near the school.  I am humbled.  I now have seen what it means to live out Philippians 4:12.

This is a picture of her home. 
Not only have I seen God's spirit at work in the adults here, but also in many of the students of the school.  Yesterday, when we held clubs for the students, a young man named Henry came to "dancing".  While the other older children who were there sat back and wondered what on earth Nkosi and then Bailey were doing, Henry entered in fully.  He enjoyed the moment.  He tried whatever type of dancing we threw out there, from the Panda (something I don't think I ever thought I would do before this trip), to the Whip, to classic swing dancing.  After dancing, he attended art.  The students stood before the class at the end to present their work -- a paper with their name and things they enjoy.  Many said, "I like futbol," or "I like music."  Henry came to the front of the class and said, in English, "My name is Henry, and I love my life."  He showed me joy -- the kind of joy that you can see in a person's face, and feel in their spirit.  Again, I was humbled.

A view of homes in Carmen Bajo, near Amor y Esperanza.

Beauty in the midst of poverty -- just like the sweet spirit
of Christ that we were able to witness in the saints here.

Afternoon Clubs

Daniel and Maggie Leigh teach guitar to a rapt audience.

Hair and nails!!

Mrs. Davis takes a turn painting finger nails.

Nkosi and Malcom tirelessly led an hour and a half of dance.
The other teachers and students rotated out, except for this little
girl who danced the whole entire time and wanted more today!

William and his boys with paper airplanes from art.
"The Queens of Quito"


Maddie with some of her class on the "playground." 

My view of the recreation area from the top of the school
building which is across the street.

The younger kids playing "pata, pata, ganso."

June 8 - God Works in Mysterious Ways

Hello folks back home! Mrs. Justice is an absolute saint, and has allowed me, Maddie, to make a blog post that is about something really special to me. She delivered a great devotional tonight, so she's earned the break in blog posts tonight. So, without further ado, I wish to tell you a story. The story of my decision to be on the Ecuador team this year.

Throughout this year, I was quite certain that I would not be going on the trip this year. I had been planning on getting a summer job and working on college trips and essays and summer reading, etc. etc. etc. But in April, a powerful earthquake shook the coast. And a day after that, I found myself praying to God saying, "God, are you calling me to Ecuador? Speak to me, please." And speak He did. I was called by God to join the team this year, and to go back. He made every detail work out to even the tiniest of concerns, and it was as if the entire world had aligned to let me onto this team. I didn't know what He had in store for me, or even why He wanted me of all people to go back. I had been two years; I had done good work for God's name. What could I do in year 3 that I hadn't already done? 

Oh yeah; you can laugh knowingly. God completely surprised me, and I realized I never should have questioned what He had in mind for me. 

As you have previously seen, we have been working on a house for a family from the coast, who lost everything in April's earthquake. Today, we went to pray over and bless the house. We all stood in the product of our hard work, and each one of us prayed aloud in a circle for the house and the family. After the prayer was over, the family was brought into the house, and they were so overwhelmed with happiness that they began to cry. And, of course, when others cry, I cry, and knowing that I contributed to this happiness only made me more emotional. Team member Jared Jones and I both presented gifts- Jared a great many of bags, clothes, and jewelry, and me, a simple soccer ball for the two young boys, Santiago and Alfredo- and when the family looked upon these things, they spoke of an incredible gratitude, not just to Jared or I, but to the whole team for the great deal of help we had given them. I was humbled by it because I did not comprehend the amount of impact this had until I heard the family speak of their immense gratitude. I realized that our team has changed this family's lives. I realized that even the smallest contribution to a situation such as this one is so much more impactful that you may know at first. They embraced us all and spoke so happily of how we have made them so joyful, and so thankful, and how we have helped them beyond words. 

And as I walked out of the house, a final realization hit me like a cement truck- wham! This is what God wanted me to see. What He wanted me to do. He wanted me to see the impact that a simple action can have; a simple voluntary action taken selflessly for others. That action is so indescribably powerful and strong and impactful, and I had forgotten this. God knew I needed to be reminded of it. And I think that the team, all of us, needed to see how a selfless deed can breed potently beautiful things. 

This is the answer I was searching for. This is why I was being called back to this gorgeous country to help such gorgeous people. In April, when I knew I was receiving the call, I had no idea of God's plans. I wasn't clued in on a single idea of what I could possibly do on this trip that warranted a call from God Himself, but now I'm here and I see it. God works in mysterious ways, and today was living and real proof of this. 

Never not listen to God's calls, and never forget the impact of selfless actions. It doesn't have to be something like going to an entirely new country and teaching english for a week, working on a family's new house after earthquake damage, or even going to visit a new place. It could be as simple as offering to take out someone's trash, or calling an old friend to ask how they are doing, or even a prayer for those in need. The impact is still the same- it makes someone's day, week, month, year, or even decade that much better. Works done for others in God's name are the most powerful things to ever be done on this earth. 

Thanks for reading my story, and may God bless you,
Maddie Fry

The adults of the family

Santiago, the older boy (3rd grade)

Maggie Leigh- sponsor to Santiago and Alfredo- poses with the family

The team and the family together, outside the house

June 7- Mrs. Justice's Day Off

After a very busy day, Mrs. Justice needs some rest. So, unfortunately, the blog has to fall into the hands of an irresponsible, and exhausted, teenager. Or two. In this case, William and Daniel.

We started off the day with another amazing breakfast at the house, and hoped in vain that the coffee would provide inspiration for the day. Once we got to school and resumed teaching, Daniel and I experienced some of the same difficulties that we had the day before. The students were dead-set on convincing us that they didn't understand a lick of English, and many seemed generally disinterred in everything we had to say. We were memorizing 1 Timothy 4:12, which says, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." A few students genuinely tried to memorize the verse, but even they were far from focused on the meaning of the verse. After I tried to explain it to them (failing partly due to the language barrier, but mostly due to lack of attention), I recognized that they didn't understand the importance of knowing Scripture by heart. Of course, I have been in their seats many times, and for a long time, I did not recognize the importance either.

*passes computer to Daniel*

William shared a story (with the help of a translator) from his life to try to impress on them the eternal importance of this seemingly futile activity. This story caused a profound change in their attitudes towards us. I'm not sure exactly what part of the story caused this change, but perhaps it allowed the students to connect with us better than before. In any case, the kids seemed much more enthusiastic afterwards. We began preparation for an egg drop experiment, and the students were really into it. We should have more information along with pictures/videos later in the week.

After school, we worked on a house for a family who lost their home in the earthquake on the coast. We mainly painted the interior of the house and moved old wood and trash away from the house.

We also went to Pim's, a really nice restaurant, and the food was incredible. I'm sure there is more I could say about the day, but it is practically impossible to condense the hectic events of the day into a tiny blog post, especially at 12:53 AM. I hope everyone is doing well back home, and please keep us in your prayers.

Quote of the Day: "The nuggiest nug to ever nug!" - Maggie Leigh (On Santiago, a student)

Henry steps on a nail.
His mom's response: "Did you do this just this just to get new shoes?"
Daniel and Maggie Leigh enjoying themselves while everyone else is hard at work.
The home-repair crew with Ivan, who will be living in the house
Emma with "The Nuggetsss!"
Totally did not exceed the capacity of this van...