February 25 Update –
The Alliance Academy International of Quito, Ecaudor is planning to hold a memorial service for the Ladines family on Monday, March 8, at 3:45 p.m. in the school chapel. All members of the community are invited and encouraged to attend. (If parents of elementary-age children would like for your child to attend, but you are unable to be present, please communicate your wishes to the elementaryoffice.)
We are very grateful to those who have made donations to the fund being collected to assist the Porras and Ladines families with expenses related to the tragedy they have experienced. We will continue to collect donations through the receptionist office at least until the day of the memorial service.
I first became acquainted with Ana and her family when she stood up in our first faculty / staff chapel at the end of the summer of 2008. She had an interesting story to tell. She is Ecuadorian and so is her husband, Emilio, and two children. However, they had been missionaries in Kazakhstan for several years, and had come back to Ecuador to raise more support so that they can return to Central Asia where God has set their hearts. Ana was excited that she has been accepted as a permanent substitute teacher and that her children were given scholarships to attend the school. Last year, their son, Asaf, was in first grade and their daughter, Alejandra, was in fourth grade. Ana expressed her desire to serve the Lord here while her family waited for his provision for them to return to Central Asia to continue their ministry there.
The 2008-2009 school year ended without the door opening for them to leave Ecuador. However, it was during the first semester of this school year that their mission board (Christian and Missionary Alliance) gave them clearance to return at the end of this school year. They began the process of obtaining visas to leave Ecuador for this coming summer. At the end of the first semester, they withdrew their children from AAI and moved the family to Guayaquil to spend some time with their extended family before leaving the country.
But God had different plans. On February 12, 2010, God called three of them home.
It was a busy night for traffic. It was the beginning of the “Carnaval” vacation. Most businesses close over the weekend and into Monday and Tuesday of the following week to give employees four days of vacation. Many residents of Quito leave the city to spend their extended families outside of the city or simply to visit “the beach” somewhere along the coast of Ecuador. Several beaches have become popular tourist attractions.
On top of the busy road conditions, it was also a rainy evening with a decreased visibility in driving conditions. Reports would confirm that Emilio was driving down a narrow, two lane mountain road when the accident occurred. His father in law was in the passenger seat beside him. His wife, Ana, was sitting behind the driver’s seat with her sleeping son in her lap (seat belt regulations are not the same in Ecuador as they are in the U.S.). Their daughter Alejandra was sitting next to her mother. A truck going the other direction was trying to pass another car, but didn’t quite make it back into his lane. He ended up losing control and slamming into the their car on the driver’s side. Everyone sitting in the left side of the car were fatally injured in the accident.
I am not sure exactly where the family was headed. These details have not been made clear yet. However, God knew exactly where they were going when this car accident took the lives of Ana, Emilio and little Asaf. As he holds these three in the palm of his hand, we know that angels must have been protecting the lives of the other passengers of the car. The amazing fact that they survived the crash has not quite been explained as of yet. All we know right now is that Alejandra did not require a hospital stay and that she is with her grandparents and extended family in Guayaquil.
Please pray for Alejandra and her extended family, in their grief, that they will find peace in knowing that Ana, Emilio and Asaf are heaven. Just a few days ago, this little girl was expecting to move to Central Asia with her family this year. Now, she will live in the home of her extended family in Guayaquil. Pray that she will find God’s presence in her new “home” here on earth even as she struggles to comprehend why God took her family “home” to be with Him.