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September 2022: In memory of two long-time friends

September 15, 2022

Dear Friends and Family,

Hope you have survived our Denver warm, warm temps! And Ecuador exchanged their usual sweltering climate for a warm one – mid-eighties and the humidity in the low 60’s – it is their dry season with vegetation not watered and brown. It was great to connect with the staff and the Floron community – even though our trips are shorter due to Visa changes. Currently, we only have 90 days in-country in a rolling year. What a bummer!!! Well, that just means we must be more efficient and productive with our time here.

This time Elizabeth stayed behind to help with two-and-a-half-year-old Cora; our daughter Anna is back at the university. That meant I had to batch it once again. Some of the staff must have felt sorry for me and treated me like a king –knocking on the apartment door three times to hand me a special Ecuadorian meal that was delicious. They must have thought that without Elizabeth I would starve!

Since arriving at night, the first encounter with the clinic staff and water team was with the daily morning devotions that are held before opening the clinic and water operations at 8am. As stated before, we are so blessed and amazed at how each of them has grown in their faith. . . starting off the day seeking direction and guidance from Our Lord and Savior.

I coordinated with Dra. Silvia and Fabricio on minor clinic issues and then worked with the water guys (technicians). Together we continued to work on fine tuning the equipment and operation manuals. It was evident that they needed some re-current training.

A longtime friend and patient of ours, Joffre Sanchez, only 44 years, went to be with the Lord prior to my arrival. He left behind his wife, Maria, and their three children. The oldest is married and is helping to support Maria and the two remaining children at home. They assumed Joffre’s business selling bedding. Joffre peddled door to door from 6am till 11pm Monday through Saturday. Years ago, he sold jewelry door to door, but he had to always travel to Guayaquil to pick it up monthly – 3 ½ hours away. At a very young age Joffre had had scarlet fever which left his heart severely compromised. He had two valve replacements, one very young and the other about six years ago.

Another long-time friend, Pastor Gruezo, went to be with the Lord in December 2020. Here he and Joffre are shown together. They both passed away due to a heart attack and are deeply missed.

I did not want to leave Floron without stopping by to see Maria and family. The construction of their new home is not complete but a huge improvement from their first one. The oldest daughter and husband were out selling the bedding.

Since the visit from Colorado Community Church’s Music Director, Chris Lang, we are stepping outside of our normal medical mission boundaries, Chris set a music mission project for June of 2023. You may remember when Chris visited in June, he brought a saxophone and keyboard that he donated to individual musicians in churches he visited. I needed to coordinate with another longtime friend who lives down the street, to provide the necessary transportation for the music team. We have used Jimmy for many, many years in the past for transporting our annual medical teams. . . always with a smile.

I always wear shorts while everyone else wears long pants – mosquitoes? – go figure? One never learns!

Elizabeth has always had ideas on what to plant on the clinic grounds as well as the landscaping design. It has always been gorgeous – a real Shang-gra-la. However, this time Dra. Silvia asked – “we have enough banana trees, how about some plantain banana trees? We have three new plants. Look at them now – fast growers.

Ecuadorians love their plantain bananas. They are starchier than bananas and not very sweet when green but when ripe, they are sweeter and become more so when cooked.

On Sunday I attended church and as usual, near the end of the service (2 hours +) they celebrate birthdays by having the individuals stand up front while the congregations sing the happy birthday song with a Spanish twist (different than our English version).

Low and behold they were celebrating one hundred years for another long-time friend, Ramon, who came to our Wednesday morning Wheelchair Program. He always had a great smile whenever he saw Elizabeth. We had not seen him for some time, so it was wonderful to be able to shake his hands and wish him well on his landmark birthday!

We give thanks for the health and safety of our staff and that they are trustworthy and honest. We also are deeply thankful to our Father that we can meet our financial responsibilities; we know that as food costs and the cost of living rises that your budgets are also stressed here in the USA.

Dios los bendiga,

Richard, Elizabeth and the FYTA board

Some of you have asked about fundraising sales this year – Colorado Springs/Broadmoor Church (November 5th) and Evergreen/Lutheran Church (November 12 & 13). We will send out reminders and times as the dates draw closer

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