OMS Outreach Jan-Apr 2013 - Page 20

the Douces and other OMS missionaries upon the Saraguros was not lost upon the priests who had ensconced themselves in the area as dictators. Before long, friendly residents of Saraguro advised the Douces that a conspiracy was afoot, one that would settle for nothing less than the extermination of the American Protestants and shutting down the work of the clinic. For years, the Douces endured one obstacle after another. This opposition took many forms. “The first was a tax on our bodies,” Ilene explained. She suffered four attacks of debilitating malaria. Bill, due to a freakish misidentification of medication, suffered terrible poisoning and was rushed to a distant hospital. Doctors predicted that he would be dead by morning. At another time, a cholera epidemic in the area was so bad that as many as 20 Saraguros a day were dying of dehydration. It soon became evident that satanic forces were not happy that the Gospel was being preached in the OMS clinic and church. But the Douces survived, and longer lines formed in front of the clinic each morning, a witness to the Saraguros’ faith in them. At the hands of Dr. Bill, Ilene and their team, they were experiencing a compassion they had never known. The threats against the Douces culminated one evening as they celebrated Christmas with many of their neighbors. The mood took a frightful turn as several men appeared at their home, with angry threats and cries for them to get out of town. One rough, burly man boasted, “We are going to see the Protestants’ blood running in our streets.” Then, they saw a mob of Saraguros approaching. Some carried clubs and others, machetes; all shouted slurred threats. Ilene shares, “Some people later told us that, at that moment, they saw an angel guarding the entrance.” Bill recalls that a wall of friends then formed to protect them, opposing the advance of the rowdy mob. It was then that the police showed up, and the priests declared it had all been a misunderstanding. Today, the work that the Douces began among the Saraguros more than 50 years ago continues, although OMS has yet to see the mass results that other areas of Ecuador have seen. The clinic continues to administer love and healing. The church fearlessly preaches the Gospel to both Saraguros and Spanish-speaking Ecuadorians, and the OMS-founded radio station proclaims salvation throughout the vast jungle region. We believe more than ever the promise that, “they who go forth bearing precious seed will doubtless come again rejoicing.” photos, top: Dr. Bill and Ilene Douce today inset: Dr. Douce, last summer, in Ecuador with a Saraguro in traditional dress. bottom: Dr. Bill helps a small patient. 20 20 20