As part of Idente Volunteer Service Missionary, the Ecuador Idente Mission is taking place from September 8 to 16. It is organized every year by the Department of University Missions of the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL), Idente Youth of Ecuador and the Id Institute of Christ the Redeemer of Idente Missionaries. On this occasion, it was with deep faith and enthusiasm that 130 young people left the city of Loja on September 8. Their destination were rural communities in various areas: mountain, coast and Eastern regions, belonging to different dioceses. And their call was to spread the faith and offer service to the community, following the command: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel!” (Mark 16:15)
The activities of the volunteers include: integration in the life of the communities to which they come and close relationships with the families. This allows them to feel strongly what the reality of their life is as well as share the word of God with them, of which in some cases they have no knowledge or a confused one. In several places, the social and economic development is poor, and in addition some social problems make it even worse, such as alcoholism, unemployment, drug addiction, family breakdown and others that require specific professional attention.
The Ecuador Idente Mission started in 2004 as an initiative of the Institute Id Idente missionaries, Idente Youth of Ecuador and the UTPL, directed by the same community. Its aim was of evangelizing and serving the communities of Ecuador, especially those suffering a great human, moral and spiritual precariousness. It began with the participation of 700 university students from Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Colombia, united to bring the Good News of the Gospel to all corners of the Ecuadorian geography.
Since then this evangelizing activity has been enriched with the participation of about four thousand university students throughout the years, and has been an experience that has marked their lives and that of many people because through it they have recognized the greatness of their dignity as children of God. In addition, despite the logistical and geographical difficulties involved in making this great dream come true, it has been possible to bring service projects into the rural communities of Ecuador thanks to the knowledge young people had in areas such as: conflict mediation, home gardening, organic fertilizers, grafting, trash recycling, food preservation, latrine system, as well as vital signs control, treatments against parasites, hygiene and nutrition.
At the same time, the voluntary contribution of doctors and medical students has made it possible to implement the Medical Mission project, which fulfills the objective of providing free medical care to the people who most need it in those mission communities. In many cases, it is the first time that those people receive medical care, and it allows them to follow appropriate treatment for various diseases, using drugs that have been donated by chemists and laboratories, and then classified by the volunteer students themselves. Such is the case of Esmeraldas Chiquito (Las Malvinas), south of Guayaquil, where the missionaries offered some 500 free medical care. Consultations were carried out in general medicine, the patients being women, elderly and especially children. The latter were given tetanus vaccines.
During the mission days, the young people are in charge of holding workshops and talks with the people with the objective of giving sacramental catechism and speak about values, family life, human relations, etc. Likewise, the talks are intended to help the communities improve their living conditions, especially in places where there is a deficit in basic services such as: drinking water, sewerage and electricity; there the missionaries undertake the arduous task of educating these populations on issues such as the correct use of water and basic hygiene standards and even teach them how to build sanitary batteries.
As evidence of the beautiful work done through this apostolic initiative, let us mention some figures, knowing that behind each number there are real individual people with whom the missionaries have shared their life. In 2016, Ecuador Idente Mission assisted 816 families, from 22 communities, with 978 children, 350 young people and 930 adults.
In this way, the Ecuador Idente Mission favors social awareness among Latin American university students and professionals by calling them to carry the message of Christ. For many young people the Idente Mission has meant a personal encounter with Christ, whom they have discovered in the simplicity and generosity of all the people who welcome them in the places where the missions are carried out.