dscf0540_zpsf21d2b1bDear Friend,

I hope this letter finds you well and anticipating great things in this new year.

You may remember that during summer 2014, I was part of the team that went on a short-term mission trip to Ecuador. God used that time in Ecuador to teach me about obedience and compassion in a new way. I was trepidus before the trip because I knew God was going to ask something of me and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to or want to give it. Then he gave me this verse: God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

I clung to that verse as I was overwhelmed by the needs of the people I encountered. I was also overwhelmed with the compassion I saw as the church in Ecuador worked to meet those needs, spiritual and physical.

One of the ways the church meets the needs of their community is through a Christian school. As our team visited the school, I heard that they need an English teacher. My heart skipped a beat when I heard of the need. I knew that was what God had for me. I also knew there would be so many details to work out, but God said, “Trust and obey”.

school front1

The school has over 350 students from ages 3 to 13 (pre-school to 7th grade). Offering English classes to their students helps them get into a good high school and gives them options when looking to make a living or even go to college. Some of you are familiar with the University Project scholarship program, which is helping church youth be able to study careers like dentistry and economics. That’s a brighter future for the youth, but also for the church.

God has given the church in Ecuador vision to see past its borders. They have received a call to send missionaries to Sierra Leone in Africa. The official language is English, but missionaries from the United States have had a difficult time bridging the cultural differences. Ecuadorians have several advantages: their culture, climate, and even cuisine are very similar. They just need to learn the common tongue, English, to be able to communicate.

So, I have applied and been accepted by IberoAmerican Ministries to do a 10-month (school year) mission trip in Samborondón, Ecuador. I will be leaving in April 2015 and stay till the school year ends in February 2016. While there, I will be teaching English at the grade school. I also plan to set up a curriculum that will provide some consistency and ease for the students and the native English-speaking missionaries to come.

My main extra-curricular project will be teaching conversational English to the young people who are preparing for the mission field in Sierra Leone at El Recreo church (about an hour south of Samborondon). I am so excited to be working with them as they prepare in obedience to Christ’s call on their lives.

As you can imagine, these projects require financing. Here’s the monthly breakdown:

Room and board                $250/month
Local transportation           $120/month
Communication fees           $18/month
Ministry costs                   $160/month
Administrative fee               $39/month
Contingency                       $13/month
Personal living expenses   $250/month
Monthly total (x10 months)  $850 ($8,500)

Airfare & Visa                $1,500 (round trip)
Total amount to raise    $10,000

If you’d like to give toward this mission, you can make a tax-deductible gift to Downey First Christian Church. Just note “Erin Shead – Ecuador” on an offering envelope and drop it in the offering. Or you can give directly to IberoAmerican Ministries online here. Just select “E. Shead – Ecuador” from the drop-down list (names are listed alphabetically by last name).

There is so much to do and so little time before I leave.  I really could use your prayers and encouragement.  And I hope you will take the time to follow my journey through this blog.

God is faithful to perfect the work He has begun in each of us.

Peace.

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