In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Ecuador has declared a national health emergency. The government has taken measures never seen before in the country, including national curfews and quarantine.
Compassion Ecuador has temporarily ceased all activities at all Compassion centres. But despite the closures, pastors, centre directors and Compassion staff continue to look for ways to support children and families across the country.
“As they are unable to see the children, the churches are becoming concerned about their wellbeing, particularly whether they have enough food,” says Pastor Sixto Gamboa, Compassion Ecuador’s National Director.
Many families who were already living hand to mouth are now unable to earn an income. Compassion staff are working to ensure these families have groceries and essential supplies.
“[The staff are] preparing kits with basic food supplies,” says Pastor Sixto. “The concern at the moment is how to take them to the children. Staff are going to the authorities, going to the police and trying to make arrangements to take goods to the families.”
Pastor Sixto calls the process “complicated”, but the staff remain committed to determining the greatest needs and meeting them as swiftly and safely as possible.
Staff are keeping in touch with children and families through phone calls and text messages, checking on their wellbeing and providing spiritual and emotional support. They are coordinating medical evaluations through the Ministry of Health for families who are experiencing respiratory problems. The staff are also remaining vigilant about child protection during this time. They are trained to respond immediately to any cases of suspected child abuse.
“It is important to remain calm at this time and above all to maintain our trust in God, being obedient to government regulations and stopping the advance of the virus,” says Compassion Ecuador’s Senior Manager of Partnership, Roberto Bravo.
One particular pastor in the small town of Echenadia, Ecuador is getting creative in order to continue ministering to children and their families.
Pastor Alex, whose church is one of Compassion’s local church partners, is filming daily videos to send to families in which he creatively and joyfully shares prayers, Bible stories and words of encouragement. He even has a puppet and a clown costume he uses to capture the children’s attention and share laughter and joy.
“I am not a YouTuber or an influencer or anything like that,” Pastor Alex laughs. “I just do not want to leave the children of my community on their own. I want them to know that in these moments of crisis, they are not alone and that God cares for them.”
This is indeed what unites our global Compassion family—and the entire global Church—in this time: Our trust in God’s care and faithfulness, and our desire to share that with others.
“This is a moment of trust, so we want to exercise trust and exercise faith. We want to invite you to continue to believe that God is in the middle of us, and God is taking care of this situation. Keep being united and believing that yes, we are in this together and we are going to continue delivering children from poverty in Jesus’ name, no matter what.”
– Pastor Sixto
Roberto adds, “In Ecuador, we are in constant prayer for the children, their families, our sponsors, our team and Compassion staff worldwide. We cannot forget that God is good, and He always protects us.”
Here are some prayer requests from our Compassion Ecuador team:
- Pray for our children and sponsors. For their homes, that they do not see any disease, and for them to know that in all circumstances, Jesus Christ protects and cares for them.
- Pray for children and families without food—for the provision of heaven for their homes so they can receive daily food.
- Pray for the authorities of the Republic of Ecuador and authorities worldwide, that they would have the wisdom and know-how to make correct decisions.
Thank you for continuing to keep Compassion staff, volunteers and children in your prayers in the midst of this pandemic.
For our most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit our updates page.
By Nico Benalcazar and Alyssa Esparaz