on Thursday night not quite knowing what to expect over the next five days. We would meet the sixth
traveler in our group at the airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador, one much more experienced in mission and
service work, and the adventure would begin. We were on our way to visit Fundacion Sor Dominga
Bocca, a foundation that provides services for neglected, abused, and abandoned girls in Ecuador’s
largest city, a foundation supported by the generosity of members and friends of First Congregational
Church for many years now.
We finally arrived at the Guayaquil airport 18 hours later, weary, but still excited and a bit nervous about
what the next 4 days would hold. After showers, a brief walk around Guayaquil, and dinner we finally
had the chance to sleep, and prepare through rest for what God had in store for us in the morning.
As is always the case when teams of pilgrims visit our soon to be friends at the foundation, the first day
would be a trip to the beach. Sponsored by a generous donation from a friend of FCC and FSDB, the
beach trip provides an opportunity to get to know the girls and the staff of FSDB in a fun and friendly
We arrived at the gates of FSDB’s aging building, and nervous but excited faces peered out
the door and through the locked gates. The girls were a bit reluctant at first, but we were greeted with
kisses on the cheek and many hugs. We boarded the bus and the adventure had now truly begun.
We arrived at the beach and before long the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean had washed away our
reluctance and many of the barriers that stood between us. We couldn’t communicate very effectively
with words—our Spanish is bad, their English only a little better—but laughter and shouted warnings
that the next wave was about to break began to build a bond, a friendship across a chasm of difference.
We returned to our hotel, once again tired, but filled with hope and excitement for what the next three
days would hold. We will work with our new friends to improve the building they call home, but also to
make it our home as well by hearing their stories and telling and our own. And I’m pretty sure we will
discover what we knew all along, that God is in our midst.
The prophet Jeremiah once wrote in a letter to people who found themselves in a very difficult
situation, ͞For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for
harm, to give you a future with hope.͟ We live in faith that God’s purpose for us in Ecuador is part of a
future filled with hope, not only for the girls of Fundacion Sor Dominga Bocca, but also for 6 nervous,
but excited travelers whose lives will be changed by their encounter with 19 young girls. In their faces
we have already seen the face of God.