A Gypsum missionary’s next mission | VailDaily.com

A Gypsum missionary’s next mission

Katie Drucker
Eagle Correspondent
Special to the DailyPedro Manuel was chained to a tree before he was brought to the orphanage.

GYPSUM, Colorado ” As Johanna Moch lives her daily life in her home town of Gypsum, Colorado ” watching movies, spending time with her beloved family ” her thoughts are miles away on the beautiful, peaceful coast of Olon, Ecuador.

Moch, a 2003 graduate of Eagle Valley High School, is not day-dreaming about a suntan or playing in the waves. She is obsessing over seeing the children, so in need of love, at Santa Maria del Fiat, a home for 200 orphans, again.

“Everyday something reminds me of them and that my heart is there,” said Moch.

Moch first visited Santa Maria del Fiat, in the summer of 2007, during one of her five missions to Ecuador. She has since returned to the orphanage twice.

“It is such a peaceful little corner of the world,” says Moch. “It’s simple, the kids don’t have much … but sometimes you forget what the kids have gone through because they are so happy.”

Moch, who earned undergraduate degrees in psychology and theology, and a masters in counseling from Franciscan University, is determined to return to this orphanage to help these children cope with the stress of poverty.

Moch tells of one such child, Pedro Manuel, who was brought to the orphanage in May 2008 from the streets. The orphanage staff discovered he had spent most of his life chained to a tree.

“He had no human interaction. He didn’t know how to speak, eat with a fork. He would bite. You would think it was out of the ‘Jungle Book,'” said Moch.

But Moch said three months later, when she saw him again, after he’d received consistent love from the missionaries, he could speak a little bit, eat with a spoon and could even sit still for an hour.

“That is what this foundation does: Takes in kids the world would see as hopeless cases and gives these kids a chance to be loved,” says Moch.

Returning to Ecuador is a race against time for Moch.

In September, when Moch was last at the orphanage, she made a promise to the children that she would be back soon, and this time she would be staying for at least a year.

“There was joy in their faces,” says Moch.

However, Moch has recently found out that Santa Maria del Fiat is having financial trouble and will be forced to send the younger children elsewhere in January, the same month Moch is scheduled to arrive.

If Moch is able to raise a $2,000 or so by the end of this month, she will be able to push her departure date up to November, and will be able to keep her promise to those children.

“I just want to be able to spend three months with them on a consistent basis and give them a lot of love before they go to another place,” says Moch.

Moch only needs to raise about a $1,000 more.

“I have been fundraising like it is my job,” says Moch.

Moch’s newest campaign is called the Coffee Campaign. Moch is asking people to pledge to give up one $5 gourmet coffee a month for this upcoming year, in exchange for a $60 donation, to support her mission and the children of Ecuador.

If interested in the Coffee Campaign or other donations call (970)471-4644 or visit http://support.cmmb.org/goto/Johanna.

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