Last week I was on the phone with my pastor friend in Puyo, in the Amazon Jungle. I was happy because our corona lockdown in Florida finally is over, but in Ecuador the reality is very much different. Due to the pandemic, people are not able to leave their houses during regular hours, and they are only allowed to drive their car once a week. Because of this, it is very difficult just to get essential supplies for a house hold. People have to walk, and if they are not back in their house before 2 pm, they will be fined or even arrested.
Many of the people we know have family members and friends that have died due to COVID-19, including one of the ladies that took care of our team in Esmeraldas last year. In Guayaquil which is the second largest city in the nation, they are burning dead bodies in the street or even dumping them in the ocean, because they can’t bury them fast enough.
Church is Essential
My good friend pastor Carlos Marchan who has an established ministry in the area, cannot pastor his church since everything has been shut down. I challenged him to become essential, to buy food and start distributing food to people in the community like we have done it at our church in Orlando, Florida.
I asked him to buy food at wholesale prizes and we would send him the money. Starting with one ton of rice for 1000 dollars, he could make the church into a food distribution center, which would be the beginning of the temporary “food bank” in Puyo.
A few phone calls later, business people started to donate, and the next day we were able to buy one ton of rice, eggs, cooking oil and other essentials for the people in Puyo as an emergency response to the pandemic.
Right now the pastor in Puyo is working together with my other friend who is a tour guide. He has a military background and will be able to use his vehicle to pick up the food without any restrictions.
Our friends in Ecuador will be receiving the donations through our ministry and document with photos and video as they buy the food and give it out to the people in the community, especially families and elderly people in the neighborhood who cannot make the walk to the supermarket.
The economy in Ecuador is hit hard. People have lost their jobs because of COVID-19, and when the oil prices dropped, the nation was brought to it’s knees. Oil is a main source of income in Ecuador with an export rate of 60 pct.