Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The place that God calls you...

I'm moving back to Shell, Ecuador in the Amazon basin to work at Casa de Fe (House of Faith) orphan- age which provides 24- hour care for abandoned children, most with special needs.What sparked as a desire to do missions when I was 16, mixed with growing up learning and falling in love with the Spanish language and culture, turned into a 10-day trip to work at Casa de Fe orphanage which soon turned into spending one year there and along the way it became “home”. And the kids, caretakers and volunteers became my family.
Last July, I moved home to Chugiak, Alaska and it was one of the hardest years of my life. A fellow missionary once told me, “when you claim another culture in your heart, you will never again feel 100 percent normal in your own culture.” I was surrounded by people and places I grew up with but felt like I didn’t com- pletely be- long. My body was in Alaska but my heart was in Ecuador. I longed to see the children at Casa de Fe have a chance at life and love. In February, I went to visit the kids at Casa de Fe that had captured my heart. I felt like a mother being reunited with her children. During that trip God began to share His plan for me to return to Casa de Fe, long-term.

One morning before heading to the orphanage for the day, I was reading the story in Matthew 7:9-11

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

I couldn’t help but think that the kids at CdF had no one to ask for bread and fish. They come to us abused, abandoned or orphaned and have a hard time putting much trust in anyone. If a child can’t even begin to fathom reliable, sincere human love, how much more inconceivable is Gods love and sacrifice to them?

So, I am moving back to Ecuador, the place and the people that God has asked me to serve and love. I will work with the child sponsorship program, teach English, disciple the older girls, play with babies and toddlers and assist with mission teams. BUT my most important job will be wiping tears, holding hands and lots of hugs. That is not the end of my job description and I’m sure it will change and grow everyday. I am being called to a fully -engaged, hands-dirtying life. Why would God call me to anything less than a hands-on faith like the one He modeled?

I’m not Mother Theresa. I’m not even close. I’m just an ordinary Alaskan girl trying to love God, love people, and live with purpose.

I am now a long-term missionary with CornerStone International! They will be receiving my mission support. All donations are tax-dedubtible. Please make donations to:
CornerStone International, PO Box 192, Wilmore, KY 40390 with “InterMission” (my project name) in the memo.

You may donate by Paypal or credit card from the CornerStone Website:

If you question my sanity, these faces should explain it all. I just love them A LOT!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Today was one of the hardest days of my life. It started out like any other day. I woke up, read the good Word. Went to church then spent the afternoon at Casa de Fe making Cheesecake with all the girls there. But what happened next will be engrained in my memory for the rest of my life. As we were wrapping up our baking, the police pull up to our front doors with a two-year-old boy ( who we have named Samuel) in tow. Covered from head to toe in dirt, with a terrified look on his face, the police begin to tell us how a woman brought him in after seeing him all day at the local Puyo market abandoned with nobody in sight to claim him.  I couldn't tell at first, but as Talia and I took him in to bathe him, we removed the dirty clothes and the sight brought tears to my eyes. He was so malnourished that all we could see was skin and bones. Our chins hit the floor and our stomachs began to turn in knots.  His stomach was big from the malnutrition but his ribcage was sticking out and you could see the parasites moving around in his stomach. As I lathered his tiny legs, if you could even call them that, I could no longer fight back the tears that I had been holding back. As we continued to remove the dirt which seemed like it was one with his skin, we started to reveal the scars and burns that were all over his body. Even Talia was in shock that someone could get to that state, and said "he looks like the kids from Africa you see on TV". This child, this precious son of God, had been neglected by the people who should have been caring for him most on this earth. My heart was broken and angry at the same time for his boy so I decided to pray. As I prayed over this little boy whose whole life is still before him, knowing that he had experienced hardship probably from the day he was born, way before anyone should ever have to experience that kind of hardship, God reminded me that His heart is broken for Samuel way more then mine and that He loves him and has a plan for this little boys life. My anger from before was replaced by peace knowing that Samuel was now safe and able to get the care and nourishment he needed. Samuel, this precious child, has been set aside for God's glory. He is chosen, He is loved. Please join with me in praying for this little boy as he gets back to health and that he would adjust to living with his new family at Casa de Fe. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Heart & Flesh

Casa de Fe happenings:

the roommates saying goodbye to Victoria :(
Our roommate Victoria who was here for 3 weeks left on Monday to go back to Canada. Pray for her as she starts a new life in a new city (Toronto). Pray that she would find a job and good group of friends that would be able to support her in this transition.

Tandy, Dwight and their son Jonathon are in the United States for this month visiting family and introducing them to Jonathan. Pray for them that they would get the rest they need while at home and that their time with family would be blessed.

Nicole and Rubi are my characters
We also have some new short-term volunteers. Christin, from Australia, is helping the Pre-Kindergarten kids and teaching photography and art to the older kids. She is super rad to have around and of course I love getting to hear her Aussie lingo and accent. We also have a married couple, Rick and Rebekah, who are helping incorporate a new ESL (English as a second language) curriculum. They will be here for a month helping us learn to teach this new curriculum they created and will also teach English classes here at Casa de Fe, next school year.
my buddy Telmo!

Telmo got his feeding tube taken out on Monday.He is now eating on his own, which is a huge answer to prayer!

 Maribel is in the process of going up for adoption. She is 12 and has been at CdF since she was 4 and not heard from her family since she arrived. But on Monday her aunt came to visit. She is still pretty emotional about seeing family she hasn't seen in 8 years. She doesn't even remember who her parents are. She is in a lot of pain and it breaks my heart. Pray for Maribel as she deals with being in contact with her family for the first time in 8 years.

Anthony, Moises and Junior will be going to live with their mom soon. They are brothers who came to us because the mom was in jail and the boys were left to fend for themselves. Once out of jail, she came to visit often expressing her desire to have her sons back, but Patti Sue wanted to make sure that she could stay out of jail so she was in a trial period. She finished her trial period and could be taking the boys any day now. Anthony is in my second grade class will be greatly missed.
Saturdays at CdF

Pablo, our 15 year old boy, got moved to a teens’ home in Quito yesterday. He has been at CdF for 4 years. This is another answer to prayer because it is a better situation for him and our kids as well. The teens’ home is more equipped to deal with his disabilities that we just didn't have the resources for. Pray for Pablo as he adjusts to a new living situation.

Saturday we got a new missions team from Mississippi. Melissa gave them a tour of Shell and then we met them up at Casa de Fe to hang out with the kids, playing kickball and using sidewalk chalk with the little ones and playing in the rain. Sunday night we went to dinner with the team and boy were their accents thick! They had plenty of questions about Alaska and enjoyed telling me about their lives in the South. They are convinced that I have to try their "boiled peanuts" and crawfish.
Rosita and I after playing in the rain

Tuesday we got a new baby. Her name is Evelyn. We are not sure how old she is but we know that she has cerebral folate deficiency and some other medical conditions that we don't know about yet. Pray for her as she works with the therapist here that some of her medical conditions would improve.

What God is teaching me:

As I come out on the other side of the spiritual battle I had been going through for the last  months, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. That doesn't mean the battle is over, Satan is always going to try to get me to lose faith. But for now, my faith is intact, if not strengthened from the testing and it feels awesome. God has taken my heavy heart and made it light I had forgotten what it feels like, it's refreshing!
God is teaching me a lot about surrender. I tell people all the time that they just need to surrender to Jesus, but I'm not sure if I atually do it myself. I'm such a hypocrite. I want to make my own plans because it's something I can control and at least I'll know what's coming next. But truly surrendering to Jesus isn't like that at all. It means giving up control of EVERY aspect of our lives and it freaks me out! Most of the time I only surrender things if I think it will benefit me in the end...is that really even surrender?
I’m coming up on the time of year I dread the most, mostly because it has always been a season where I have to make decisions about what I'm going to do for the next season of my life. And if you know me at all, you know that I don't like making decisions I take that back, I loathe making decisions. I honestly wish that God would give me a 10-year plan with all the details of what I'm supposed to do so I could just do it and not have to decide things for myself. Then there's the other side of me, the side that loves the adventure and uncertainty of life and the journey God has me on.
But back to the whole surrender thing, God has been calling me out on my lack of real surrender. He said, "Kelc, you can't make a decision based on what you're going to get out of it, it has to be all about Jesus." It was like a dagger to my heart. I am so prone to rationalize and make decisions based on what I think will benefit me. My surrender can't be for personal gain. So I must ask myself, "where does Jesus fit in when I am concerned about my natural relationships?" Will I desert Jesus with the excuse, "Yes, Lord, I heard you call me, but ______________ needs me and I have my own interests. I just can't go further."(Luke 9:57-62) "Then", Jesus says, "you cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26-33) I have to be willing to give up everything and everyone dear to me to follow Jesus for the sake of the gospel. If I'm really surrendered to Jesus then it will go beyond my natural devotion.
So here I stand, trusting and surrendered.

Monday, March 5, 2012

bumps, bruises and bee stings

Naptime for some of the babies at CDF :)
Since the last time I updated, life has gotten busy! Last Friday, we received another roommate (making it a house of 4). Our new roommate’s name is Magda. She is from Sweden and will be here for 2 months helping with the preschool class and teaching PE as well! Magda arrived with a team of 30 people from the United States who have been here for the week doing construction on the new school building and hanging out with the babies here at Casa de Fe. Being a part of the staff gives us an opportunity to interact with the teams that come, bringing them to dinner on some nights and getting to be their guides of Shell, Ecuador.

The older girls cheering on Jessica at her weight lifting competition!
Saturday morning, the new team from Minnesota put on a brunch for the missionary women of Shell, which was delicious. We spent time talking with the girls from the team about the life of a missionary, and how we specifically got to Ecuador. It was cool hearing the stories from each missionary woman who I spent time with. Each story had its struggles and joys and I was reminded of God's faithfulness to His children who seek Him out. After brunch, we spent the rest of the day showing our new roommates around town and went up to Casa de Fe to play with the kids.

Ain't she the cutest?!

We got a new puppy! Our other puppy, Hank, ran away about 2 weeks ago. We were so sad and missing our dog, that when our friend Fabian showed up for Empanada night with a few weeks old puppy in his arms, we asked, "did you find Hank?" and Fabian replied"no, but here's a new puppy for you!" So even though we still miss Hank and look for him everytime we walk down the street, Clementine has snuggled her way into each one of our hearts. She is just so stinkin' cute! 
Mel and I posing with the cool tribal statues by the waterfall.

Sunday was my favorite day in Ecuador thus far. I went to my home church in Puyo, which I hadn't gone to in weeks, it felt good to be back. After church, some friends invited us to go on a motorcycle ride. We were all up for the adventure so the 7 of us mounted the motorcycles. Melissa, Victoria and I assumed we were only going for 1-2 hours, seeing the outskirts of Shell, but 2 hours turned into 6 hours. We took the scenic route to Puyo. About 15 minutes into our journey, Alfonso and Victoria were hit by a car but it was a very minor bump and Victoria came out with a bruised leg but nothing major. We stopped at a water hole, but then decided to continue on through the Puyo-Pomona valley. The valleys were
gorgeous, the most beautiful landscape I have seen in Ecuador. We arrived at a National forrest reserve called Hola Vida and hiked 30 minutes up to the famous waterfall. We swam around the pool beneath the waterfall for awhile then started the trek back to Shell, stopping for dinner on the way. The adventure was a ton of fun and we all came back alive with only a few bumps, bruises and bee stings. 
The motorcycle gang

Clementine loves my Chacos!

The school week was very challenging. With the loss of two teachers, getting two new teachers, and one of the missionary families leaving, the kids had a hard time focusing with all the change and feeling of loss. Hopefully this week we can get back on track! Because of the changes, I have the opportunity to help teach  Physical Education which is a new endeavor but I'm up for the challenge!

what God is teaching me:

view from Casa de Fe
For the past month I have been in a spiritual battle like I have never experienced. Every morning, from the moment my feet hit the floor, Satan begins his attacks on my heart and mind. Every morning I must begin the battle, because if I don't, Satan gets a foothold. He is there constantly reminding me of my failures and where I don't measure up... As I let all my fears of failure, inadequacy, unforgiveness and insufficiency drown me.. for just one moment, God whispers to me, "but I give you greater grace.." and there is a calm within the storm of my soul for the first time in months... the weight is finally lifted, I can breath, I can stand, my heart is restored. God is enough.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Martin bobbing for bananas!
the kids during the egg toss 

In preparation for Lent, all of S. America begins celebration of "Carnaval" which starts the Friday before Fat Tuesday and continues through the weekend. It is well-known for its use of eggs, water, flour, oil and mud and foam. At Casa de Fe we started the celebration out right by spending all day Friday playing games with mentioned above supplies incorporated into every game. Between an egg race, egg toss, bobbing for bananas, an obstacle course and tug-o-war the kids had tons of fun and got plenty dirty! After the game day we ended our celebration with a big barbeque that the tías prepared for us, it was amazing!

The girls on the obstacle course :)
The Carnaval celebration didn't stop there, though. Melissa and I traveled to Quito since we had a long weekend. Saturday night we went to Old Quito to check out some shops we heard were cool, and much to our surprise, the road was blocked off and filled with people spraying foam all over each other. We didn't make it far before we were covered from head to toe in foam and dashing to the nearest street vendor who would sell us foam to defend ourselves! Though we came out soaked, we had tons of fun and lots of laughs!

Melissa and I at the top of the Teleférico!
The rest of our weekend in Quito was spent being "tourists", making a trip up the Teleférico, going on a tram to the top of a mountain to see a beautiful view of the whole city of Quito. We also got to relax a lot and enjoy the things that we don't get in the jungle like cinemas and coffee at a coffee shop.

We returned to the jungle with a new roommate in tow! We picked up Victoria on Monday and have been enjoying more action in our quiet house. We will be getting another roommate on Friday so we will go from a house of 2 to 4 until April. There is also a short-term missions team of 32 people coming on Friday. That will also make for an exciting week.

Friday, February 17, 2012

love and such

Frisbee and other things
I made it back to the Ultimate Frisbee field after a long absence and got to enjoy 2 hours of intense frisbee with other missionaries on Sunday afternoon. But while we were playing, my bike was stolen. Luckily, the cops found the guy who had my bike and it was returned only an hour later... praise Jesus!

We started a new science unit for my 6th graders and the girls are actually enjoying learning about the construction of an atom and we are also working on memorizing the Periodic Table in English and Spanish! The 2nd graders were having trouble learning to read in Spanish so I stopped teaching in English and have been helping reinforce what they are learning in their Spanish Language class and they are starting to read, which is huge and I am actually really enjoying teaching my classes in Spanish!

Día de Amor y Amistad!
Valentines day we had a program for the kids, and we shared cards and candy and words of encouragement. I went home early because I was sick with a parasite but after sleeping a while, I felt well enough to go hang out with Ecuadorian friends to celebrate the day of love and friendship!

What God is teaching me… 
God is my HEALER. He wants me to have freedom and victory over the things in my life that have me in bondage. By not dealing with the hurts and scars from my past, because of fear, I am remaining in bondage from those things. I am learning that God is big enough to change what I do to cope, to find comfort, and to survive conflict. Also, that as a teacher of the Word of God,  I am reminded that I will receive stricter judgment. We are responsible for the people we teach, so I must be disciplined in maintaining my relationship with Jesus.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

for lack of better judgement

Tubing the Amazon 
Sunday afternoon five of my buddies and I got our inner tubes and life jackets and went tubing down the Pastaza river for 2 hours. I had never been tubing in Ecuador but all the boys had and they didn't mention how intense it was! To my surprise, about 20 minutes into it, we were on tiny tubes on class-5 rapids and there was no turning back. After getting thrown off my tube by the current and tossed by the water into huge rocks a handful of times, we all came out alive but not without some sweet battle scars and a story to tell the rest of our friends. My body still hurts like the dickens but it was soo much fun!

Super Bowl
So blessed to be able to watch the Super Bowl. A group of us gringos (white folk) got together to watch the beloved game and even though my team lost, which I am soo bummed about, we had a great time hanging out and cheering on our favorite teams.

They can steal our money but they can't steal our joy!
Melissa and I came home last Thursday from work to find our house was broken into. They had cut our back fence and kicked in our back door. They stole Melissa's guitar and my camera, ipod, and $100. It spooked us a little bit but it was a good reminder that we don't put our joy or hope in material things.. all we need is Jesus. They are replaceable and blessings, not something we need or even deserve. 

What God is teaching me
I am in a Bible Study with some awesome ladies who are also serving here in Ecuador. We are going through the Book of James and I think we all have decided it is kicking our spiritual butts, it's been a humbling experience really. I am reminded of how much I need God. Not just in the big stuff but the small day-to-day stuff as well. That no matter how holy or spiritual we think we are, we all have deceptive hearts that are in need of a renovation. I doubt God even though I know He is faithful, and hat He is my only source of stability. I am reminded that my trials are to produce perseverance in my life and I am learning to find joy amidst them.