HE is faithful! May update from Ecuador

Hello Friends & Family, {For short version please read the highlighted words}

First, let me (Shawna) say THANK YOU so much for your support! There is so much to share and so many times I wanted to just pour over a blog post of what GOD’s been doing here…and we both are constantly reminded what a privilege and honor it is to serve and have support from people with hearts like yours…so thank you! 

Before I share about the prison, counseling and other updates I’ve got to share what impacted my heart in a big way at the beginning of this month as Juan Ma’ and I were reading together one night… “Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” Hebrews 13:3

So on that note… GOD has continued to open doors and teach us continuously flexibility and trust in Him. At “El INCA”, the women’s prison, things have been pretty chaotic. There has been news of the women being moved to a new prison about 2 hours away. This new prison will supposedly include a lot of changes that will actually make it feel like a prison instead of a free-for-all, like the current one. So the women have been scared, anxious, worried, etc… This has resulted in more fights and aggression and overall unstable and chaotic environment. In addition, the director, Maria Jose, has been fighting the corruption in the police and security guard system that allows drugs and all kinds of bad things in and she was recently arrested as indirect threat to stop trying to clean up the prison. Yes, the evil and corruption runs deep here and she needs our prayers!God hope

Yesterday, we got news that due to a death of a male prisoner and bad conditions out at the new prison that the President stated no female prisoners would be moved until next year. Praying this will allow the women to have some calm now. In the midst of this though GOD has continued to allow us to go in each week and share very directly about Jesus. We just finished Philippians, when Paul is writing from prison, so it was an excellent teaching tool an encouragement for these women! One of our new prisoners that we welcomed a few months ago has begun visiting the Bible study of her own accord. This is great news because every person matters!!

For me these past few months going into the prison have also very much been a time to acclimate to the environment inside and get to know the women a little more personally. GOD has been faithful to help me feel more comfortable and less on guard when I’m there and given me the opportunity to lead worship several times. Two weeks ago I attempted to teach the Spanish speakers “10,000 reasons” also known as “Bless the Lord Oh My Soul”. Love that song and so great to see them learning it for the first time as the words hit their hearts!

Two weeks ago, thanks to our director and my dear friend Wanda, I was able to meet the Psychologist on staff and submit my credentials. After meeting he wanted to have me take on as many of the English-speaking inmates or foreigners with “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (or related disorders) as possible. This thrills me to no end!! So many of these women have been traumatized, multiple times before even coming to the prison let alone what has occurred inside…and I will share Jesus as much as possible because we know He is the answer! So please be praying! I got word today that an assistant said the approval went through, which I believe was the Mental Health Board of Ecuador for whom the prison Psychologist is with. I will confirm hopefully this week and then see how GOD directs my schedule!


IMG_0159photo 4Time at “Hogar Para Sus Niños” has really been sweet. I realize as I write this that my last crazy long blog was shortly after I began doing these missions so it is very cool to look back already and see how things have changed. Really it has also been a time of learning and acclimating at the orphanage too. This has included getting to know the little ones better and them me, and being pushed constantly in my Spanish as I write the puppet shows or search for songs and ways to engage the kids.

Throughout these few months GOD has sent some truly awesome volunteers that have given their time to help with the kids, the show, playing guitar…you name it! At the same time our Bible study time has continued with the volunteers as they come and GOD really gave us some special and intimate time together to go deep, challenge one another and enjoy relationship. Though I’m learning to say good-bye a lot, I wouldn’t change it for the world because each relationship teaches me something and allows me to be a part of that photo 3young man or woman’s journey of faith…and THAT is special!

I have a very exciting update, and thank you SO MUCH for your prayers; I now have an office at our church “English Fellowship Church”! Thank you GOD! It is a huge blessing and I was able to start this Christian Counseling ministry about 4 weeks ago! I cannot tell you how great it has been to be back to counseling…it is truly something I love and feel honored to do! The sessions are so rewarding because it is centered on and always comes back to Jesus…something that wasn’t possible for most of my sessions when I worked for the Vet Center previously. I feel such a calling to hear these stories and be there for these wounded women and families. GOD is slowly building my caseload and it has been so neat to see who he brings and how he weaves our stories and experiences together to help each other and give Him the glory! “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

Lastly, I want to share on a personal note. Juan Manuel had a pretty serious soccer injury about 2 or 2 ½ months ago. He fractured his tibia, had breaks in his meniscus, a torn muscle, and a lot of blood on his leg. He spent 6 weeks on crutches as we let the bone heal and recently completed physical therapy. About half way through the therapy though we began to realize the pain in his knee was really bad and that the meniscus is too badly torn to go without surgery. So tomorrow we go in for surgery. GOD has just rocked our world by providing insurance through his new job that kicked in 2 days after the accident!!! Thanks to my husband’s stubbornness and not going to see the doctor for a week and a half after the accident…we are going to get some coverage for all for this!!! Praise GOD….HE continues to take care of us and surprise us in it!

I want to close by please just asking for your prayers specifically in a few areas. First, if you would please pray for help at the orphanage. We often are lacking the assistance we need with the kids and when that happens they are able not able to hear, receive or understand very much at all. I have such a fire for these kids to know Jesus and hope and pray no matter how chaotic it may get that some child, caregiver…someone… is touched by the message but it can get discouraging at times so your prayers are very much appreciated. Second, if you could please pray for Juan Ma’s recovery to be full and complete so he can get back to doing what he loves. GOD has allowed this time to be good in that we have enjoyed being forced to slow down a bit and have more time with him and each other though, so we are thankful. Third, please pray for my protection in the prison and just my trusting in GOD in that. It is challenging some days and I begin to feel a need to have my guard up and I don’t want to let that guard send the wrong message to these ladies. I would also appreciate prayer for what looks like to be a good possibility to do Christ-centered counseling inside the prison as I mentioned earlier. I need His wisdom in guidance in all I do or I know nothing will come from it. On this note, please also pray for Juan Ma’. It is very hard on him some days to know I’m in that prison and if something happens he cannot get to me. He could not be more supportive but I know to have that worry and lack of peace at times is hard on both of us but especially him.


As I close, just thank you so much for being beside us in this journey. We feel your prayers and they are working. As you can see GOD has answered so much and I..we…just want to be obedient to what GOD has called us to do and do it well and with joy!!


Your Partners In CHRIST,

Juan Manuel & Shawna Landázuri


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