Transforming Lives Through Building Community
When you enter Carmen Bajo Church in Ecuador and meet Pastor Fabian and his wife Grace, you are immediately struck with the love and care that they pour into their work there. The two of them arrived seventeen years ago, initially to help for one year at the church. When they saw the need, they ended up staying and building a community and a family.
Due to high unemployment in the neighbourhood of Carmen Bajo in Quito, Ecuador, there is widespread poverty and a devastating number of people in the community who struggle with alcoholism and family degradation. Pastor Fabian and Grace provide not only food, but education, vocational opportunities and spiritual growth to the whole community through the church.
Five days a week, the volunteers and staff of the church provide a hot lunch and a half-day of tutoring to hundreds of kids from the impoverished neighbourhoods. For the older community members, there are scholarships available for post-secondary education. These initiatives, and so many more, are made possible because of the work that Pastor Fabian and Grace have put into the Carmen Bajo Church.
When asked about their mission and their lives in Ecuador, Pastor Fabian pauses before answering. Thoughtfully, he relates his experience in Carmen Bajo, both before and after iTeams arrived in Quito
“For me, these 17 years, they’ve been the best years of my life. I learned to depend on God. In the first years, before International Teams came and supported my salary, I can’t explain really, how we educated our children, high school, university, housing, food.”
Grace relates her experience to the 25-30 women who she has worked with recently, saying, “their self-esteem has been raised because these were women who never had high self-esteem and we’ve given dignity to them, to know that they are valuable and precious to God.” Hearing their story and the passion for the work they do, it is obvious that Fabian and Grace have truly become part of the community. With the help of the iTeams supporters, they are lifting whole families out of poverty and transforming the lives of those living in Carmen Bajo.