Twenty-five years ago, an EMAS team began to serve in Ecuador, providing orthopedic surgery, physiotherapy and treating general Musculo-skeletal diseases. It included a pediatric dental sub-team. This team has more recently specialized in knee and hip replacement surgery.
Our Ecuador surgical team is led by Dr. Thomas Greidanus, Janet Greidanus, and Dr. Nelson Greidanus, the team serve together including key players like the head of the nursing crew, anaesthetists, physiotherapists, and Dr. Avila, and translators like Miriam in Cuenca. Additionally there is the backstage crew from rotary clubs in Canada and Ecuador, the hospital staff in Cuenca, and EMAS Canada’s home-based support by Sandy Rumford (bookkeeping & administration) and Melony Teague (communications and donor relations) without whom the team would not function. This count doesn’t include the support and coordination, upwards of sixty people, whom travel to serve on each mission.
It is one of the largest EMAS teams, with one of the largest budgets.
The team calls itself Operation Esperanza, because it aims to demonstrate through healthcare that faith in Jesus Christ and love for all God’s people spring from the hope stored up for us in heaven. This is the Good News that brings forth a tangible life-changing and people-transforming encounter with God.
Many surgeries are done during the team’s missions, in a good year, 40 adult surgical procedures are done for people who would otherwise not get such services for lack of funds and opportunity.
One of the team’s success stories is reminiscent of an event in the New Testament account of the earliest followers of Jesus.
A young woman who once could not walk due to hip and knee disease in both limbs was finally able to walk, dance, and find employment after Esperanza brought hope and through a series of operations that put her back on her feet. She has since become a member of the team and translates for other patients during missions.
Patients like Miriam have attracted people in Ecuador to inquire about the EMAS team serving in Cuenca; the news as in the book of Acts is spreading to far places like Brazil. With the excellent surgical outcomes, come the questions:
“Who are these people from Canada and why are they doing these things?”
The team serves because the hope stored up in heaven is for everyone.
We are proud of our numbers and thankful to the donors and the surgical team who make these expensive operations possible. One hip prosthesis costs an estimated $2,000.00 excluding the other consumables that go into the procedure and post-op recovery.
Every single patient has intrinsic value that their Creator attributes to them. We know this amount by the Cost of Ransom and whereas we would gladly apply resources to preventive medicine, we recognize that there will always be those for whom prevention is not possible, and we will do our best to go to Cuenca, for that Miriam who needs us.
Jesus once crossed a lake to heal one demon-possessed maniac, if it was to show the disciples the significance of the individual, then the storm on the lake that night and a gentile farmers two thousand pigs take on a new meaning.
You can find the latest Esperanza report here.
You can give to the Ecuador team here.
This blog was inspired by Colossians Chapter 1; Mark 3:35-5:20; Mark 10:45; Matthew 8:23-9:1
All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
Feature image: Photo by EMAS Canada Ecuador Team
A physician and surgeon in his native Kenya, Peter has a passion for Christ-centred healthcare and has a wealth of experience both hosting and sending short-term mission teams.