From Dogs to Jesus

Dogs and their owners in Ecuador’s capital city, Quito, are thrilled that One Year in Mission volunteers have become part of their community. The young volunteers went to the city to share the love of Jesus—and surprisingly, this includes taking care of dogs.

The story began when a Global Mission pioneer couple, Christian and Maribel, moved into the community and found no Adventists living there.

“We wanted to reach a group of professional people who, for various reasons, haven’t included the church in their hearts and lives,” Christian said.
In this upper-middle-class neighborhood, people seemed to have everything they needed, like nice houses and cars.

“The challenge in this place is that people don’t open their hearts easily,” Maribel said. “First, we wanted them to open the doors to their homes.”

Christian and Maribel started by finding out what the people truly needed. Since this was a large community, they recruited a team of One Year in Mission volunteers to help them.

“There were quite a few people who wanted their dogs to be walked,” Christian said, “and the One Year in Mission team helped with this. . . . They even held a health fair for pets!”

By taking care of the dogs, the team got to know the owners. “Our objective is to reach people by making friends, visiting them, and going to the park with them,” Maribel said.

Because of these new friendships, community members started scheduling Bible studies when planning walks for their dogs. Over time, several people gave their hearts to Jesus.

“I feel happy when someone accepts Jesus,” Maribel said. “It’s gratifying to know that they know and believe in a God of hope and love.”

Now, because of walking dogs and building relationships, a new congregation of believers meets each Sabbath and is still growing!

*This story was first published in Mission 360, Vol. 9, No. 1.