Building faith: a2 Church builds, leads camp in mission trip to Ecuador
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
NORTH SHELBY—For Warren and Alisa Austin, doing mission work in Ecuador is a labor of love. The couple has made annual mission trips to the country for the past 12 years.
“We’ve been going for 12 years, and it still gets us every time,” Warren Austin said. “We’re hooked… I’ll keep going back until I can’t anymore.”
The Austins shared their passion with their church, a2 Church, leading mission teams to Ecuador over the past three years.
“We may build classrooms, we may dig ditches to help the property drain,” Warren Austin said.
This summer, the Austins led a 26-person mission team from a2 Church to Ecuador. From June 24-July 4, the team did construction work for a local church and led vacation Bible school for children in an impoverished area outside of Quito, the nation’s capital.
“It’s totally different poverty… they don’t have government assistance, they don’t have welfare, they don’t have food stamps,” Warren Austin said. “You love on these kids who literally don’t have a thing.”
The a2 Church mission team helped build two classrooms for the local church to use for job training classes. One classroom will be used to teach basic baking skills and the other will be used to teach construction, Warren Austin said.
The team also took on a “major drainage project,” digging an 80-foot drainage ditch on the church property, Warren Austin explained.
“It’s very intensive manual labor,” Warren Austin said of the construction projects the group tackled. “It’s physical, it takes its toll.”
In addition to the manual labor, members of the team held a well-attended Bible camp, leading up to 140 children in Bible study and crafts each day.
“This year, we had the biggest day we’ve had,” Warren Austin said. “Word spread and (kids) came from all around.”
The mission trip was beneficial to both those in Ecuador and the a2 Church team, Warren Austin said.
“You’ll change the things you do,” Warren Austin said. “It just grounds you, you have a different philosophy.”