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Dear Friends,

Hope you are doing well!

We wanted to give you an update about La Esperanza as well as share with you about a new projects we have launched.

After 8 years of serving children we are sad to say, that due to government instability, interference and bureaucracy we had to close our children’s home. We were transitioning into a foster care program, unfortunately the government suddenly decided not to allow us to move forward, and abruptly ordered all the children to be taken from their foster families and sent to another institution. We did everything we could to fight this but in the end we had to adhere to a judge's order.

We are all deeply saddened by this tragic turn of events. Adoptions are almost non-existent in Ecuador and there is no current foster care program in the country. We were hoping to develop a successful program, which could have served as a model for caring for children at risk throughout the country. The very precipitous decision by the judge to place the kids in an institution literally happened from 1 day to the next.

In spite of going through this very traumatic time the children are doing well and are all together, praise God. We are staying involved with our kids and will help in any way we can. We are currently helping the new institution by sending our own technical staff and two of our care givers to help with the kids. It gives us some peace of mind to know the children are in good hands with familiar faces and caring hearts. We are hopeful that our staff will be able to obtain full time employment. We know that God has a plan for each of our children, please join us in praying for them and our care givers as we continue to move forward.  

On a positive note, we are committed to serving children at risk and at the beginning of this year began a mission to in the providence of Esmeraldas. We are working in rural areas with no electricity or running water. The kids don’t have much clothing, are undernourished, and have no formal education. Rocio Castillio (many of you know her from her work at medical outreaches) was a full time employee at La Esperanza and a member of our church for many years. She obtained her degree in psychology and has a heart for children. Rocio felt called to minister and we sent her to work full time to reach out to the children in Esmeraldas. She is demonstrating the love of Jesus and teaching them Bible principles and basic life skills. The work she is doing for the people there is truly amazing!

We will continue to keep you informed about the kids as well as new projects we are investing in through La Esperanza. We are grateful for all of your prayers and financial support through the years and we want to encourage you to continue supporting the children in Ecuador. Lives have been changed because of you!

Blessings,

John Guido

Dear Friends,
 
Saturday April 16, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador and many aftershocks. The quake flattened buildings and bridges, and buckled highways. The death toll is at 654, with more than 4,600 injured, 116 people missing, 25,376 homeless and 113 rescued, 4,430 buildings destroyed, 2,740 buildings damaged, and 281 schools were affected, approximately 3 billion dollars of damage.  The cities of Manta, Portoviejo and Pedernales, saw the most devastation, but damage was widespread throughout the northern and central coast. The devastating quake struck as torrential rain from El Niño ponded the coast adding to losses caused by several active volcanoes that continue to spew ash on cities and farmland.  All of this comes on top of the current grave financial crisis triggered by low oil prices. Without a doubt Ecuador faces a long and difficult road to recovery.  
  
We are coordinating relief efforts though our Verbo churches to help the victims of the earthquakes starting with our church members in Manta.  The Manta church’s rented facility was severely damaged and they will have to meet under tents. Several of their church members are now homeless. On Wednesday we sent our first team with supplies and a large tent. They are assessing the situation and along with Pastor Fabian Molina of Manta, will develop a plan for our long and short-term relief efforts. Rocio Castillo was in Rocafuerte, Esmeraldas when the earthquake hit. We know she is safe but because of poor communications in the area, we are still unsure of the extent of the damage there.

With our church in the province of El Oro, we have been building low cost housing for the poor during the last year. We have completed 10 houses so far, and working with our donors, will be taking this experience to provide housing in the affected areas.

 
It is an opportune time for the church to fulfill its calling as an agent of help and healing.  Our pray is that the Lord’s people will be used to bring the gospel message both in word and in deed to those in need. 

Thank you so much for your faithfulness, prayers and generous support! They are a source of continuous encouragement to us.
 
Blessings,
 
John Guido