Christmas season is a time for giving, and I’d like to extend a challenge to our readers to help in a way that multiplies blessings with tangible gifts that last for lifetimes. We are teachers, right?! We have classrooms and organizations; we help, as possible, within our own family’s budget. We purchase supplies for our classrooms when funding falls short. We have to decide where our personal finances go to help those we can. How can we maximize our impact? If we band together and each do our small part, we can make a big difference! My challenge is to ask each person to donate just $0.50 on #GivingTuesday to aid Spark International Missions serve men, women, and children in Ecuador. Will you please join me? Keep reading to find out more about Spark International Missions and how your $0.50 can truly help.
#GivingTuesday Teacher Challenge to Benefit Spark International Missions
I’ve had the honor of knowing Rachel Hinshaw, a middle school mathematics teacher and member of the Board of Directors for Spark Intermational Missions, for several years. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask her for insights into SPARK and how YOUR $.50 will bless their efforts in Ecuador.
What will the money donated by others on #GivingTuesday be used for?
- Money raised will be used to purchase:
- Medical supplies and glasses for our medical and vision clinic
- Backpacks, school supplies, and craft materials for our Vacation Bible School plus extra supplies for the village – each child gets to keep their own backpack and supplies
- Books and materials for Bible Study classes and discipleship training
If you could name just 2 blessings coming from your trips to Ecuador, what would they be?
- There are many blessings, small and large, that we are honored to witness and give Him glory for providing. Each year, we see His blessing in providing hope and the message of His love to villages we visit.
- In 2009, we first visited the village of Nueva Esperanza. The people lacked many necessities, including fresh water. They were pulling their water from an irrigation ditch that had chemicals in it. The people appeared sickly and grim. God provided the means for a well to be dug so that the community would have fresh water. A school and bathroom-shower facility was built for the community. In 2011, our mission group returned and found the people happy and healthy. The children were going to school and the community had ideas for the future. During this mission, God blessed the village with a water pump to provide an irrigation system for their crops. Almost every year we have gone back to Nueva Esperanza to see the people. They are now self-sustaining with bountiful crops, a school that is now accredited by the government and people who have a vision of hope. The village is embodying their name; Nueva Esperanza means “New Hope.”
- In 2013, our team of volunteers went to Pachamama Chico. During the last day of the medical clinic, a little girl (probably 8 yrs old), came in carrying her younger brother (probably 3 yrs old) wrapped up on her back. The boy was unable to walk and very malnourished. Dr. Manuel, the in-country missionary we work with, evaluated the boy and found that he has spina bifida and needed special formula to help nourish him. The team provided what we could and continued praying for the family after we left. One person on our team shared the story about the little boy’s needs. A family who heard the story and provide a child’s wheelchair/stroller that their child no longer needed. The next year, we went back to Pachamama Chico and brought the family the wheelchair. They were overjoyed. On subsequent visits we have seen the young boy thriving. He looks healthier and is able to get around in his wheelchair and no longer needs his sister to carry him everywhere. We know that God’s hand was in every part of this miracle and are blessed to have witnessed it.
Is the work in Ecuador on a volunteer basis or are you paid to go? How many team members (approx.) go with you each year?
- The people who go with SPARK International missions are all volunteers. Each person is responsible for their own travel expenses. There are no paid positions in SPARK International Missions Inc. All money raised is used to fund the ministry work we do in Ecuador. The number of volunteers varies each year based on the project we work on. Some years have been 20+ when we were building a church, school or water access. This year, there is no building project, thus we anticipate 10-15 volunteers.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about SPARK?
- We have been on missions in Ecuador since 2007. Most of our work has been in villages high in the Andes Mountains, some villages are as high as 11,500 ft. The people we serve are humble and grateful for all that is provided. When we have building projects, the villagers also work to raise funds. We partner with the people in the villages, work alongside each other, and share the love of God with each other. They take ownership in what has been created.
- Our 2019 trip will include a new component. We will be promoting and educating the villagers on home gardening and plant propagation. We are excited to see what God has planned for this new project.
More from Rachel Hinshaw:
I have been teaching middle school mathematics for 19 years in Normal, IL. Teaching has been my passion since I was young. I believe my calling was to lift people up and help them grow. Eight years ago, I reached outside of my “Normal” comfort zone, and traveled to Ecuador for a mission trip. The mission revealed to me how the children in Ecuador are like the children I teach in the US. They need to be given hope and to know that there are people that care about them. Last year, the mission group that I have been a part of decided to become SPARK International Missions Inc., a nonprofit 501c(3). I joined the board of directors, the discipleship team, and became a mission coordinator. I am excited to watch this mission organization grow, to see God’s Word and Love spread throughout the Ecuadorian villages in the Andes Mountains, and to help more children come to know Christ.
How can YOU join Rachel’s Fundraiser and the Teacher Challenge for #GivingTuesday?
Donate YOUR $.50 (or more if you feel called to do so) for SPARK International Missions Fundraiser for #GivingTuesday (Facebook and PayPal will match contributions).
Help SPREAD the WORD on social media using the #GivingTuesday hashtag along with #Teacher50Challenge
Thank you for reading and considering a donation. I know Rachel Hinshaw personally. She has a heart for God and blesses her students daily while reaching out to help children and families in need. Please join me in helping her and this team from Spark International Missions.