Reflections on Ecuador

In January 2015 Wallace Kelly from Prospect Heights, IL traveled to Ecuador and spent a week volunteering with the Santiago Partnership. Wally graciously agreed to share some of his impressions of his time with the Delp family, and what he experienced helping the Santiago Partnership’s multi-faceted ministry.  Thank you Wally- we are incredibly grateful!

What I Saw

I saw a vast sprawling city, long and narrow, with houses stretching from the bottom of the valley up the mountain side. I saw beautiful children and smiling faces, breath-taking mountains and vistas. In Cayambe I saw the medical clinic that has been built with the expectation and vision that God would provide the staff necessary to meet the medical needs of their community which is vastly under-served. I saw that God had begun to fulfill the vision of the local Pastor by bringing Kim Delp to Ecuador to serve the needs of their community as the director of the clinic. I witnessed Joel Delp working side by side with the local leadership to make the home for at risk children in the community a reality. The goal of the home is to provide a supportive, loving environment with the intent to reunite children with their families in a stable home environment.  As I traveled further up into the mountains into the Quichua district, I saw a number of Covenant churches and schools that serve the Quichua, an indigenous people of Ecuador descended from the Incas.

What I Felt

I developed a new appreciation and admiration for immigrants that travel to a new land seeking a better life for themselves and their families. I often felt confused and clumsy. I was grateful for the hospitality of Joel and Kim and the patience they had with me in answering my questions and translating for me so that I could understand what people were saying. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in worship services and everyday encounters that I had with the people that I met. One of the most profound experiences that I had was when Pastor Segundo and his wife placed their hands on my shoulder as they prayed for us as we were leaving. Even though I didn’t understand a single word that he said, I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit and understood in a new way that the love of God and love of neighbor transcends language and culture. I felt inspired by the work that Joel and Kim are doing. It was apparent that what most North Americans would consider a sacrifice by the Delp’s, is really a joyous response to a call they received from God to serve people in Ecuador. I felt gratitude for how God is using this beautiful family; The Delps, and the Santiago Partnership, to share the love of God through Christ in their lives.

What I Learned

In the United States many churches are so focused on how to be relevant to the community in which they operate. The social issues that dominant the debate in the public square often seem to be the central concern of churches in North America. It is easy to lose sight of how God is moving in the lives of people in other parts of the world. The problems in Ecuador seem to be more acute and basic.  I learned that missions is a partnership. It is not something that you bring to people, it is what you do together through the work of the Holy Spirit.  I left Ecuador inspired by the work that I saw being done by the Santiago Partnership, with the Evangelical Covenant Church of Ecuador, to advance the Kingdom of God.  I will hold dear to my heart and remember in prayer all of the people that I met in Ecuador for the rest of my life.

Joel & Kim Delp