• Asunción Cueva s/n y Rio Motolo, Shell, Canton Mera, Provincia Pastaza.

Information Letter – February 2024  

The 15-year old girl and her mom together in the spontaneous birthday party at the Hospital

Dear friends and prayers, what is the difference between a mission hospital and a regular hospital? You can see the difference at Shell.    We started the project with faith and prayer, even though it made little sense from a worldly perspective.  The hospital has run a deficit since its inception – one of the reasons the previous mission abandoned it.  Fewer new missionaries came over the years, so the mission management pulled the ripcord and ultimately closed the hospital.   We started in faith and as an international team. The beginning was difficult. Many enthusiastic attempts came to nothing, but we were always surprised and encouraged. Help came where we didn’t expect it. Now, after more than 10 years, we can only look back in amazement: The hospital, staff houses and grounds are now paid off. The entire building has been completely renovated. The only thing missing is the site of the former radio station. About $1.2 million in donations was necessary to acquire the property, renovate and made the hospital start.   We have long since turned over hospital operations and administration to national management.  Two administrative teams have come and gone, but nonetheless the hospital has improved gradually.  Now things are going significantly better with the dual leadership of Dra. Santos and Ing. Ela Villacis.  Klaudia and I, who are now accompanying the project from a distance, have often suffered with the employees and lost sleep over the concerns at the hospital.  However, we know for certain that God is the owner and director of this project.  Just in the last six months, help came from various partners when everything was at rock bottom.  The hospital carries on and wages can be paid. The hospital is now ready to receive permission for another year from the Ministry of Health.    Where are we suffering now?  Our gynecologist and general surgeon left us.  God led them to better paying jobs.  We are grateful for their service and have been looking for new doctors. We have several prospective candidates but it’s hard to know if they can be a long-term part of the team.  We have a surgeon from Quito who comes intermittently.  A urologist started on an hourly basis. There is hope.    Ecuador is currently going through a serious crisis. The military is at war with the drug cartels and is trying to maintain control of local gangs.  This weakens the economy even further.  The state can no longer pay its employees their salaries on time. There are hardly any tourists left. This has also resulted in fewer patients at the hospital.    Nevertheless, our staff has moved closer together and you can see the new attitude: A 15-year-old girl came to us who ran away from home.  She had been arguing with her mother for some time when she decided to leave.  She was living in the street and in poor condition when she was brought to us. The employees managed to bring about reconciliation in the family and held a birthday party in the hospital using spontaneously pooled money.  The 15th birthday for girls is very special in this culture.    

The recovered and liberated young man and his family  

A 23-year-old young man underwent surgery for an umbilical hernia. Half an hour later, his blood pressure became critically abnormal and he was in life-threatening danger. The team looked after him and accompanied him in prayer. As a precaution, he was transferred to Puyo for one night in intensive care. He is now doing very well. His family had been extremely worried but persistent prayer brought about the turning point. This family is beyond grateful for this spiritual deliverance.   

When the first missionaries came to this region of Ecuador almost 90 years ago, the message of Jesus slowly brought about a change in the people. And with HJCB, our old mission, the country’s health care has also changed. There are now many good state and private hospitals. A lot has changed in Ecuador’s churches, too.  It is important that we Christians do not just live in our own bubbles, letting theological boundaries divide us.  As for a mission hospital, where does it fit in the changing culture and economic realities of a developing nation?  How do we balance the budget while still caring for the poor and needy?  We must rely on the Holy Spirit’s leading every day.  Shell Hospital has become a place of mercy and a place of God’s goodness in recent months.  God is doing great things in this small corner of the world.  That’s why it depends on your prayers and gifts in the future. It is the collaborative effort of an international team!    

The Shell Hospital Team

Donations: Lightway Medical Foundation PO Box 8066                                                                                                  

Fort Wayne, IN 46898 Checks can be mailed there, or you can donate through the websites. 

LightwayMedical.org/donations. www.HospitalShell.org [email protected] [email protected]