Casa Gabriel – A Training Ministry for Quito Street Kids
A Story about the Beginning of Casa Gabriel: The Quito Street Kids Training Ministry began informally in 2001, when Youth World missionary Phil Payne saw a need for teens living on the streets. He offered a meal, a change of clothes and a Bible study one or two days each week. This ministry operated out of the former Youth World office. Jeff Swenson, another team member, helped Phil Payne facilitate and reach out to these troubled teens. Gabriel, a young Peruvian Christian who had been reaching out on his own to street kids, heard about the ministry and approached Phil Payne about working together.
Gabriel and the younger boys, along with Miguel Angel, who was at that time 15 years old, moved into Youth World’s former office. Youth World had changed locations and allowed the boys to remain there.
When Phil Douce and his family arrived in Ecuador, Gabriel and several of the young boys, as well as Miguel Angel, were now living in Youth World’s office. The Douce family was drawn to this ministry due to their former background of working with children at risk. Often they’d bring pizzas and just spend an evening hanging out and playing together. They would end the evening gathered together in prayer. It was their favorite place to go and always left feeling that they’d receive much more than they had tried to give.
In September 2003, Phil Payne asked Phil Douce if he would take over the leadership of the street kids ministry, which after much prayer, Phil accepted. He soon realized that if the ministry was to continue, it needed to be under the umbrella of Youth World. After much prayer and team discussion, the street kids training ministry became a formal part of Youth World International.
The Quito Street Kids Training Ministry is now formally called Casa Gabriel. Its purpose is not just to provide housing and basic care for kids in crisis, but to provide a training program in all areas of life that will give these boys the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential as leaders and disciples of Jesus Christ. The training is an intentional and integral part of every attribute of casa Gabriel. Each aspect points to developing a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. It is their hope that every child in the training program will become a successful Christian leader in their home, church, community and world.
The building where the Casa Gabriel boys live was purchased by some members of First Lutheran Church and First Lutheran Church, through the Global Missions Committee. Pastor Craig Hanson gave it the name Casa Gabriel. Miguel Angel (Mike), who was one of the original boys, became the leader of the house. He is married to a Dutch missionary and they’ve recently had their first child. He is attending seminary, is a gifted evangelist and helped start a jewelry business that hires trafficked young women to make the jewelry, providing them an income.