Mission Teams

Experience the global kingdom through serving with us and engaging in Ecuadorian culture


Short-Term Mission Teams

We create cross-cultural spaces and bridges so that various parts of the Kingdom of God can come together to serve and learn from one another. We’ve been doing short-term teams for over 20 years, and we’ve found they are an incredible support to our long-term ministry. We’ve hosted mission teams ranging anywhere from 12-50 people, though groups of 15-30 people are most common. We receive adult teams, youth teams, family teams, and multi-generational groups.
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A typical stay ranges from 8-14 days. The experience we offer is comprised of 5 key elements: local and off-site ministry opportunities, exposure to the local church, service projects, adventure programming, and cultural exposure/tourism. In addition to the day’s activities, time is spent together each evening (typically around a campfire) where our hosts lead a time of discussion and debriefing to facilitate processing the experiences of the day and connect what we're going through to God's Word and our spiritual lives. Teams often bring instruments to incorporate times of worship in those evening times, though some of our staff hosts have the abilities to lead worship with our teams, as well.

Local and Off-Site Ministry Involvement: Taking part in the work Christ is doing

Through community exposure and involvement, our teams are able to engage with and participate in the work Christ is doing around Ecuador. We have several ministry partners in the jungle and oftentimes the ministry opportunities a team will have might take place in a jungle town, at a school, or at a church. We work together beforehand to plan what kind of outreach your group would like to do and then you as a group prepare everything stateside before arriving here. The types of outreach can range from VBS-type experiences to English classes/camps, to sports ministries, evangelistic presentations, home visits, painting, lessons presented in schools, workshops through the local church, etc.

We provide history and context to our short-term mission teams regarding each ministry site (both locally and off-site) as they prepare to serve alongside them. We as a ministry desire to develop intentional relationships, and though team members may only make brief contact for a day or two, we are here partnering long-term and consistently with each of these sites, focusing on strengthening and deepening these relationships with increased frequency and contact.

Involvement and Exposure to Local Church: Experiencing the Body of Christ in a new cultural context

We value supporting and being involved in the local church. Our desire is that each team has at least one experience attending a service at an Ecuadorian church. As we support the local church, we invite our teams to come alongside us and experience what that looks like. Depending on the needs of the church, there may be opportunities to help lead Sunday School classes for kids, participate in Adult Sunday School classes, share testimonies during a service, preach, or simply attend and take on the role of an observer and learner. Local Church involvement is an opportunity for a rich cultural experience that often springboards into meaningful conversations.

Service Projects: Putting our hands to the plow to further the kingdom

Service projects primarily take place here on our property at El Refugio and help us grow as a ministry to better serve those that we minister to. Many hands do in fact make light work, and as teams come to understand the heart of our ministry, many express how overjoyed they are to be able to leave their mark on the camp in making it a more beautiful, peaceful space for Ecuadorian groups. Our service projects range from simple tasks that people of any age can handle, to more specific ‘skill-focused’ projects for those team members who offer experience and skills in certain areas. From interior and exterior painting, to concrete work, sanding wood, digging trenches, roof work, to weeding in our planters and gardens; we take the experience and skills of group members into consideration when choosing which projects are appropriate and realistic for every team we receive. Getting dirty, working hard, and building friendships with our Ecuadorian maintenance staff often becomes a highlight for mission team members!

El Refugio Adventure Programming: Tools for personal and team growth

This is what we do! We want our short-term teams to experience the programming that we provide to our Ecuadorian retreat groups so that they might better understand our ministry and see what they are supporting. A percentage of the funds raised by each team member goes towards off-setting costs for Ecuadorians who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford what we offer. As you are contributing to our ministry in making it accessible to others, it’s of great importance to us that you also get to experience it first hand! Our programming helps our teams focus on their own group dynamics and sets the tone for how they will work together throughout their short-term experience. It is a tool to strengthen the team and challenge them to grow as they do Kingdom work. Our programming ranges from low-ropes group challenges to our high ropes static course, zipline, the ‘leap of faith,’ and other memorable team challenges. We firmly believe in ‘Challenge by Choice,’ and will never force group members to step too far outside of their comfort zone, though many end up surprising themselves in just how much they are capable of!

Cultural Exposure and Sight-Seeing: Opening our eyes and minds to new realities

Ecuador is a rich and beautiful country. We want our teams to take in and experience Ecuador while they are with us. Seeing and engaging in the culture gives us context for the people we are meeting and serving, and often gives us the needed perspective to understand someone in their daily life. It’s good for teams to be able to enjoy this beautiful country and experience first hand the sights, sounds, smells, and context of where they are serving. Activities may include visiting the historic center of Quito, driving to a nearby waterfall, going to the village surrounding the equator, or visiting a local artisan market.

Planning and Logistics

Aside from the ministry outreach preparation, we coordinate and provide everything else. We assign two of our full-time staff members (and usually an intern as well) to each group and they coordinate and plan all transportation, accommodations, meals, etc. Our staff and team hosts will coordinate with your team leaders in the months leading up to your in-country experience. Additionally, we will coordinate pre-field training components to ensure your team is prepared before leaving your home country.


We will work with you to determine appropriate distribution for your team as to whether you will be staying in our cabins or dorm-style rooms taking into consideration the size of your group.

Dorm-Style Room: Accommodates up to 12 people, all contain bunk beds and one queen bed, and are conveniently located next to our Dining Hall. 

Cabins: These are ideal spaces for an individual, couple, or small family. This option provides a refrigerator, coffee and tea, and in certain cases your own kitchen or kitchenette. 


Teams greatly benefit the work we do here in Ecuador. Though the primary focus of our ministry is providing adventure-based, customized team-building experiences and retreats to Ecuadorians, a huge part of what we do is in and around communities: building relationships, discipling, and partnering with other individuals and ministries that are doing good work but need support.

God is alive and moving here in Ecuador, and it's a privilege for us to take part in what He's doing. Our hope with short-term teams is that people are moved to have a global perspective, to realize what a large God we have, to serve with the attitude of Christ, and be impacted in such a way that they are sent home inspired and motivated to bear fruit that lasts in the name of Christ.

To find out more information please contact us by emailing

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