Mercer Student Documents Mission Trip to Ecuador On His Blog

June 16, 2008

Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

PATATE, Ecuador — Mercer student Andrew Lockwood, of Ringgold, is spending his summer working with Baptist missionaries in Ecuador and is documenting his trip on his blog, andrewinecuador2008.blogspot.com. The trip, which began June 6 and will end Aug. 2, marks Lockwood’s fourth time in Ecuador. The junior industrial engineering student is keeping the blog this year to document his trip.

Lockwood is assisting missionaries Steve and Carol Thompson in their work. The Thompsons have been working in the country for 21 years and run a camp for church groups who come on mission trips. Lockwood said he plans to do whatever is needed to help the Thompsons, including construction, vacation Bible schools, translating and hosting church groups that come in from the United States on a weekly basis. Lockwood hopes to travel to the Amazon jungle, another area of Steve Thompson's ministry, which is located in the outpost city of Tena.

“I’m writing and keeping up this blog primarily to expose the life of mission work in a developing nation,” Lockwood said. “Many people aren’t exposed to the culture and lifestyles of people groups outside the U.S., and I wanted to give a first-hand account of the many different ways we reach people for Christ.”

Lockwood will be stationed at Camp Chacauco in the Andes Mountains, located about 45 minutes southeast of the city of Ambato, which is about three hours south of Quito, the capital.

“Camp Chacauco is a really special place, the home of several different youth camps, a pastoral retreat center and, hopefully, the home of a future seminary. It's also pretty close to an active volcano, which is about 5 miles away,” Lockwood explained. “The volcano, Tungurahua, is currently active and is billowing smoke as I write this to you. Its last major eruption in 2006 destroyed several villages in the nearby area, but also provided numerous ministry opportunities as well.”

Lockwood’s first trip to Ecuador was a one-week church-based mission trip through his home church, The Church at Catoosa. On succeeding trips, he helped to construct two churches, held vacation Bible schools in nearby villages and had the opportunity to explore the Andes Mountains nearby.

“Much of our work was done in the communities of Patate and Puatug,” Lockwood said. “I had the privilege of helping to finish the first church in the community of Puatug, a small, poor town that sits above 10,000 feet in the Andes, and helping to finish the First Baptist Church of Patate last summer.”

Many of the areas in which Lockwood will be traveling have posed difficulties for missionaries and the persecution of Christians. Lockwood said he hopes to explore those topics in his blog posts.

Lockwood is the son of Terry and Gina Lockwood of Ringgold and a graduate of Ringgold High School.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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