What We Do

We are blessed to work in a team environment. El Refugio currently has twelve North American missionaries on the team in addition to the fourteen other Ecuadorians that make up our staff. One of the fundamental elements that we use in our ministry is adventure. We create environments in customized retreats that challenge participants to grow and learn through experiences that contain risk and challenge. All of our ministry staff members have a hand in hosting these retreats, planning them, and making sure we create the best possible experience for each and every participant. However, there are a number of other components to our ministry besides retreats.

Internships are a big part of what we do. Currently we have four different types of internships that we offer. Alturas is meant for native Spanish speakers and takes place for 3 months twice a year. Base Camp is our summer internship program for young adults from North America to experience our ministry, serve, and help with the English speaking summer teams that we host each summer. Ascenso is a six month long internship that is an adaptation of our Alturas internship, spread over six months on the weekends versus midweek over 3 months. The fourth is a 6-month to year-long internship for native English speakers called Elevation. Both Jim and Suzy work with our interns in a variety of ways. They often end up formally mentoring our interns, in addition to hosting them in their home, taking them on off-site excursions, and working alongside them during the work week.



We also offer backpacking, we have traditional week-long youth camps in the summer, and we host multiple mission teams from North America during the summer. Jim and Suzy are involved in these components in the ministry as well, ranging from design work and promoting of events to hosting teams, designing schedules, making videos, and working with the sites where we bring groups to minister. Jim continues to coordinate the communications side of things, ranging from newsletters to websites to promotional materials, and both he and Suzy coordinate all of El Refugio's short-term teams.


We bring our mission teams to different communities where we have ministry partners. Ministry partners are churches, individuals, or pastors we have identified who are doing good ministry but are under-resourced. Jim and Suzy spend time throughout the year connecting with these ministry partners to maintain a close relationship and continually revisit the conversation of how we can best use the resources we have to support and further their ministry. Watch the video below to get a picture of the fruit we see in investing in our ministry partners.



Another big part of what we do isn't formally or directly connected with the ministry of El Refugio, though it is supported and certainly makes a lot of sense with what we do at and through El Refugio. We have a heart for the town of Calacalí, where we live. Calacalí is a town of about 3,000 people, was founded in the 1400's, and is sorely lacking a Christian presence. There is one small evangelical church in the town which ranges from 25 to 50 people in attendance per Sunday. We attend this church, and it is a formal ministry partner site that El Refugio supports and invests in. Our desire is to see transformation take place in this small town and be a part of that change through the power of God. There are small, measurable things that we do to invest in lives and the community of Calacalí-- though at this point we are still seeking God's direction on what the big steps and action points should be in our involvement and investment of time. Please join us in praying for this town, the church, and that God would do big things in this community.