The Shalom dental clinic helps with more than just teeth.
“Let the children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:14, NKJV.
Caleb and Mateo’s situation stirred our hearts from the first time we met them. At the delicate ages of 2 and 4, these two boys had already endured greater physical, mental and emotional anguish than many adults.
Their grandparents brought them to us for dental care after the authorities revoked their parents’ custody. The parents had not been taking care of these children—not feeding them, not bathing them, not nurturing them in any way. Both had anemia. Both suffered from chronic tooth infections. The dental problems we could treat, but they had other conditions that we wanted desperately to be able to help with.
The grandparents, who now cared for the boys, said that the children had been drinking water from the toilet and eating used toilet paper, so both had big problems with parasites. Caleb, the 2-year-old, had rectal prolapse. Sometimes he dealt with fecal incontinence, and each time he used the toilet, part of his large intestine would slough out. We knew it must hurt him terribly—but of course, abused children often hide their feelings. On top of it all, Caleb developed epilepsy, and the medications that counteracted his seizures gave him unpleasant side effects.
Dr. Gaby agreed to treat the boys’ dental issues at no cost, and at every visit we learned a little more about the living conditions they had been subjected to. During one of their dental appointments, we found that their infections had not subsided even after the root treatment. When we tested their hemoglobin and hematocrit, we realized that their situation was beyond our ability to treat. With such severe anemia, their infections could not heal. We needed expert help from a pediatrician.
Taking both boys to the city of Ibarra, we had them seen by a pediatrician. He treated their immediate issues, but he told us Caleb’s rectal prolapse required surgery—a procedure that neither we nor Caleb’s grandparents could pay for. “I strongly recommend this to be dealt with as soon as possible,” the doctor warned. “One day his large intestine may not return.”
With the grandparents’ permission, we took care of Mateo in our home for a week, since he seemed old enough to stay away from home for a while. This enabled us to make better progress with his dental treatments and help him recover from his anemia. We found him to be an obedient and cooperative child, a joy to care for. We continue to monitor these brothers and help provide for their wellbeing, and we pray that somehow God will perform a miracle in their lives and provide for the full restoration of their health.
“The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:8. God has all the resources to meet the needs of His children, and we trust Him to work in the best way in their lives. God will answer our prayers, because His is “the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.” Matthew 6:13. Please pray for Caleb and Mateo, and if you can, please give so that we can help them and other children who come to us. Our dearest hope is not only to help them recover their health, but to help them find their way to Jesus and experience His tender care.
Fernando Endara is the co-director of Shalom Healthy Living Center in Ecuador.
How You Can Help
Pray for Dr. Gaby and Fernando as they use health ministry as the entering wedge in their community.
Pray for Caleb and Mateo as they recover from the physical and mental abuse they endured.
Give. To help reach other souls like these boys, mark your donations “Ecuador” and send to:
Mission Projects International
PO Box 151
Inchelium, WA 99138
To give securely online, visit:
Thank you! Generous donors gifted funds for Caleb’s medical care, and these means provided him with medicines and nutritional care until the doctors can clear him for his urgently needed surgery. Thank you for praying about how you can help!