Impact Ecuador supports the ongoing ministry of Carmen Bajo Church to serve the people of Carmen Bajo, a marginalized neighbourhood in Quito, Ecuador. The community struggles with high levels of teenage pregnancy, dysfunctional families, poverty, child mistreatment, malnourishment, and alcoholism.
Carmen Bajo Church meets both the spiritual and practical needs of the community through three main projects: a children’s nutrition and tutoring centre that assists hundreds of children, the construction of a new church facility to better serve the community, and a post-secondary scholarship initiative. Impact Ecuador is making a difference by reaching individuals, families, and generations of people in Carmen Bajo. The community faces many challenges, but there is much hope!
Detailed Implementation Plan
Carmen Bajo Church
The Carmen Bajo Church has been the centre of this community for many years. The church leaders, Pastor Fabian and Grace, are well known to all in the community and have diligently worked on bringing new leadership into the church. There is now a dedicated group of young people who hold the same vision for a Gospel centred approach to church life and working for the marginalized in their community.
During the average week the church has many different Bible studies, youth groups, and other activities for its congregation. Every Sunday the church is alive with 90 people worshipping in the sanctuary and 60 children in the Sunday School. This is a very young and vibrant church, where children play a defining role in church life. Every week there are also prayer meetings, women’s ministries, and youth groups. Over the past six months the church has held many outreach events for the community, including a men’s event which saw 17 men recommit their lives to God, a workshop for mothers and daughters which focused on self esteem and the value of women, and a day for children attended by over 120 children from the community! There is never a dull moment in the Carmen Bajo Church.
Children’s Centre and Preschool
The Children’s Centre is a hub of activity in Carmen Bajo. Together with Carmen Bajo Church over 700 meals are prepared for the children each week! These hot and nutritious meals provide the children the energy they require to participate in all the activities and learning that the Children’s Centre puts on. Dedicated staff provide hundreds of children with structure, love and spiritual guidance five days a week. The curriculum that they work through reinforces each child’s understanding of their identity as being made in God’s image.
Within the Children’s Centre there is a preschool that educates 23 children. This government accredited preschool gets support from Impact Ecuador through staffing and food for the children daily. The preschool uses a play-based approach to learning that focuses on the holistic development of each child.
Carmen Bajo and Ecuador are experiencing transformation. One of the ways that this has been manifested is the number of young people who have graduated high school and are able to pursue higher education. Something that was extremely rare a few years ago is now a possibility for many of the young people in the church. Many of these students have benefitted from the support they received through the Children’s Centre. In response to this growing demand, Impact Ecuador has formalized a Scholarship Program that is run by Carmen Bajo Church. The scholarship helps cover expenses related to attending a postsecondary institution. As part of their scholarship, recipients also commit to serving in the church and community. The goal is threefold: 1. To increase education and employment opportunities; 2. To instill a love for the church and community; and 3. To develop young leaders in Carmen Bajo Church.
This school year Impact Ecuador is pleased to provide scholarships to six more students in the community, bringing the total to 8 students being supported in their studies who give back to the church and community on a weekly basis. Post-secondary programs taken by these students include: Education (2), Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Psychology, Social Work, Theology, and Paramedic courses.
Carmen Bajo Church Construction
Members of the community and Impact Teams have been working hard and have made good progress on the new Carmen Bajo church building. Work has been completed recently to reinforce the retaining wall with more metal to ensure that the building is safe and secure during flooding seasons. This became a necessary task after the heavy rains that were experienced throughout South America in the spring. On the second floor the bathrooms have been completed and all the electrical has been installed. All of the activities of the church now take place in the new building. Over the next six months the plans are to join the old and new buildings and install a metal roof on the top floor which will then become the new sanctuary.
Stories of Transformation
Emily has faced difficult circumstances in her young life that have left her feeling unloved and hopeless. Emily’s home life has been difficult; her mother works hard to earn a living by sorting through garbage to sell items at the recycling plant and Emily has to share one bed with her mom, her older sister, and her younger brother.
Earlier this year Emily started attending the Children’s program because she lives across the street from it and the staff recognized her need and invited her in. Esperanza has been instructing Emily’s class during the week and discipling her on Fridays. This personal mentoring has had a significant impact in her young life. She has started to trust in God, pray to Him and lay her problems before Him. She has started a journal and shares her thoughts and what she has learned with other children. Although she still has many challenges, Emily is beginning a journey toward transformation and we are blessed to be part of it.
In March 2017 an Impact Team from Creekside visited the Impact Ecuador program. The 16-person team had a very productive time learning and working alongside Carmen Bajo Church. They helped with serving food to children, with Sunday School activities, and on the church construction project. Here is what one of the Impact Team members shared about their time in Ecuador:
“This afternoon we will leave Quito and return to Canada. It has rained and rained and rained every day here. Our clothes are damp. Our shoes are muddy. But no one is eager to go. We have been uncomfortable at times, we have been awkward at times, we have been confused at times, but we are grateful. God has been working in and through each one of us during our time in this beautiful country. We pray that He will continue that work as we return to our families, our friends, our Canadian lives. We love our Ecuadorian family and will miss them greatly, but carry them in our hearts as we go. Go team Carmen Bajo – we love you. Dios los bendiga.”
Pastor Fabian and Grace Erazo will be visiting Canada in early October. Stay tuned for events to connect with them.
Grace Community Church in Guelph held a golf tournament which helped to raise over $18,000 for the Impact Ecuador program!
|Total Income January-June 2017||$85,505|
|Total Expenses January-June 2017||$98,992|
|Overall 2017 Budget||$154,501|