In October of 2023, thirteen of us traveled to Ecuador to work with our mission partners amid brewing political violence in the country. It’s a testament to the trust we placed in our partner organization, FEDICE, to keep us safe while we committed ourselves to working with the community as part of our church ministry.  Unfortunately, conditions in Ecuador have deteriorated rapidly since our last visit, and the country is currently suffering from both widespread violence and enhanced levels of enforcement in an attempt to curtail it.

We have been in contact with Blanca Puma Martínez, our friend and Executive Director of FEDICE, regarding the conditions in Ecuador. She reported that all members of FEDICE are currently safe, and while it is not currently possible to continue on-site work in the rural communities they serve, her team is working from home to the best of their ability.

It pains me deeply to see the influx of negative headlines pull attention away from the immensely positive and life-giving efforts being conducted there. For over 24 years, FEDICE has worked to empower more than 20,000 Ecuadorians from marginalized communities, many of whom are survivors of systemic violence themselves. Together, they’ve built a strong and generous community of female business owners, who are among Ecuador’s greatest ambassadors for peace, dignity, and a better quality of life. For all their effort, FEDICE’s influence has formed a difficult duality in my mind; the Ecuador I read about in the news, and the Ecuador that I have personally come to know.

However, I can just as easily imagine a darker scenario in which this fragile duality did not exist. The fact that they continue at all under the pressure they face is yet another testament to the monumental goodwill of FEDICE. It is such a privilege of our status as US Citizens to return home when it is unsafe–to work when we can, and then simply shut off the valve when we find our participation uncomfortable. While I don’t condone endangering myself or others, I do wish to recognize this: For the people of Ecuador, there is no shut-off valve. And yet, despite the challenges, FEDICE continues their work to affect positive change in our world. What an honor it is for our church to support their efforts – especially now.

Blanca has asked that we pray for her country, and for those who bear the responsibility of containing the current situation. And so we will.

If you would like to support FEDICE during this time, please pray with us, and let the world know that there are some incredible things happening in Ecuador even today. If you would like to learn more about FEDICE, please watch our church documentary HERE.