The roar of the approaching tanker truck alerts the excited residents of Canelos, Ecuador, to Pastor Mario's arrival. In this remote Amazonian village, there are no shops, and water is scarce. Many homes have no electricity, and residents know little about what is going on outside of the dense jungle. So, as COVID-19 swept across the globe, they received little information on the virus.
Pastor Mario, whose church partners with Compassion, refuses to let this Indigenous village be ignored. So, every month, he drives a large truck through the jungle to deliver water, hygiene supplies and, most importantly, information. “When I visit children and their families, I try to teach them about how to avoid getting coronavirus,” he says.
One of the families that have been impacted by this service is Angelica's. Her 7-year-old daughter, Alexandra, is part of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program. Since the pandemic began, the pastor and his volunteers have visited her family five times. During these visits, Angelica's family receives food, cleaning supplies and spiritual education. Pastor Mario always asks about the family's needs, taking notes so he can provide what is required during the next visit.
"Every 15 days, the pastor visits me, and I receive disinfectant. Here in my community, there are no places nearby where I can buy all these supplies, but thank God, the people from the church send us this help constantly," says Angelica. "My daughter always listens to the pastor. She listens to all the instructions they give us and puts them into practice at home. Alexandra always tells us that we must constantly wash our hands and properly use the water that the pastor leaves us at home."
Currently, more than 200 families receive hygiene and water supplies from Pastor Mario on behalf of Compassion's church partner. The work to protect the children and their families from COVID-19 does not stop. Each day, pastors and volunteers like Mario work hand in hand with Compassion to protect and serve the most vulnerable.