Posted by: calloftheandes | June 30, 2009

John Munday, Missionary to Ecuador, Dies in Quito at Age 80

Sources: HCJB Global, God’s Fuel: The Story of John Douglas Munday

Known to many as “Don Juanito,” John Douglas Munday died Saturday, June 6, in Quito, Ecuador, at the age of 80. A funeral service and burial was held the following day in Quito.

Born Jan. 24, 1929, to Edwin and Jessie May Munday in Victoria, B.C., he later left his home country for a lifetime of missionary service. After several months with missionaries in Peru, he arrived in Ecuador in 1958.

An English teacher, Munday was commissioned as a missionary from a Plymouth Brethren assembly known as Victoria Gospel Chapel. During two decades he directed the orphanage, Diospaj Ñan (God’s Way), for boys. Diospaj Ñan offered a home and hope for orphans.

A friend, HCJB Global retiree Kay Landers who authored his biography, wrote, “For many years John Munday collected discarded and broken bits of humanity from the streets of Quito. Like the Lord he served, John did not despise the bent reed nor did he extinguish the flickering candle of those whose lives had been cruelly battered by their families and the horrific external circumstances into which they had been born.”

Following his time at Diospaj Ñan, he continued to serve the Lord as an independent missionary. Describing Munday’s years in Ecuador, Christian author Elisabeth Elliot, the widow of one of the five missionaries speared to death in the Ecuadorian jungle in 1956, wrote of him, “He offered up his life for the helpless. He suffered for them, with them and because of them. I think John may be numbered among those mentioned in Hebrews, ‘of whom the world was not worthy.’”

Munday was renowned for his humor as well as his compassion. Amid long days of caring for children, he also hosted a program, “Llamada Desde los Andes” (Called from the Andes), that aired on Radio Station HCJB.

“God gave me much when he gave me wise, loving and godly parents,” Munday wrote in his autobiography. “He didn’t give me a wife, but he did give me secondhand sons and daughters.”


  1. I spent the summer of 1985 with Teen Missions at John Mundy’s orphanage. While I spent 4 summers with TMI, this one was life changing, My hearts desire was to return some day. I would love to find out more information. He was an amazing man.

  2. Can anyone tell me what has come of the orphanage since the passing of John Munday? I spent the summer at the orphanage through Teen Missions International in 1987 and to this day, the memories are a highlight of my life. I have a book of all the children at the orphange (at the time) and about the history that I had misplaced for years and just found today. I was so excited, I ran to my computer and immediately searched Diospaj Nan & John Munday. I would love to know the status of the orphanage. I see there has been a book written about John Munday’s life. I cannot wait to get a copy…Kathryn Okum, your family was there when I spent my summer in Quito. I remember you very well…you and your family are listed & pictured in the book I have. I hope your family is doing well.

    What a blessing this summer was to me.

    • I also wondered about this as I can’t find out online whether or not it is still operating, but I just asked one of the men who was an orphan there when I went with TMI in 1988. What year did you go? I loved it so much and would enjoy immensely going back. God bless you!
      Melissa Scott

  3. I have an Inca Idol (est. 1000 years) from J. Munday to My Grandfather Chester W. Fisher. I was searching for who J. Munday could be and I found this. Looks Like I found the right man.

  4. Whoop! I thought I sent it. Anyhow, we’ll have some direct contact this August.

  5. Our family lived at the orphanage for a few years when I was 7 – 10 years old. My dad was helping John out on the orphanage. They built us a home right on the property. So many memories I will never forget even though I was so young. My dad buit a wood shop on the property as well and taught the boys carpentry. i still remember all the boys names.

    Kathryn Okum

  6. Delighted to discover this website. Please contact me at my email site. Kay

    • Great to hear from you Kay. I treasure the copy of John’s biography that you authored. Your email address doesn’t appear in your posting so there is no way to contact you. My email address is:

  7. I was amazed to find this website this morning as David and I have retreated for a week to
    Arizona. David, and our daughter Jill built this cottage for the day David and I retire. Presently, I continue to direct chaplaincy services for Alameda County Medical Centers in the San Francisco, California Bay Area. Our family misses John so much; life long friend to David and me and Uncle John to our childre I would love nothing better to talk to anyone who is interested in contacting me. Just send me an email and once we are at home in California I will connect.
    Kay Landers

    • 08/5/10. Have had some spare time and Googled your name. Lo and behold, here you are so intimately connected to John Munday. I remember him from my first term in Quito. He was an exemplar of lthe “Brethren” piety I respect so highly. I recall that you mentioned him in your recent mail but had no idea you three were partners in child rearing.
      Chuck Duey

  8. I visited John Munday’s orphanage in July 1987 while with a workgroup from a Lexington MA church. He had a parrot that for some reason flew to one of our group members and then stayed on his shoulder the entire time we were there – I think it wanted to go home with him:) I was impressed by what John had been doing for so long already, with vision problems and -as I was told – a heart condition too. Its hard to find examples of that kind of devotion to something these days. I didn’t know of his death, as I have only just now found this blog. It sure is bringing back memories of that trip, which was one of the high points of my life. As it happens, I am returning to Quito this October (2009) on another workgroup, and I may ask some of the people at HCJB about him; I believe many there knew him.

  9. I grew up close to Don Juanito. I used to go to the church where I enjoyed so much the way he shared the Lord’s word with us every Sunday. While I was growing up, one of my dreams was to sing and he is the first one that believed I could do it, and let my brothers and me sang many times at church to praise the Lord. I keep singing for my daughter every night, the same songs I used to sing for him, all to praise to the Lord. When I got married, nothing couldn’t make happier that having Don Juanito blessing my union with the man I love and God reserved for me. I left Ecuador 15 years ago and spoke to him twice since I came to United States, and today while I am going through out this note, tears come to my eyes because I never said good bye to him, I never gave him the last kiss and I never told him again how much I loved him. If there was somebody that knew the truly meaning of the words love and forgiveness, that was him, my dear lovely Don Juanito.
    I always missed him so much, I still do and for sure I always will.

  10. I well remember meeting John when we first went to Ecuador under HCJB Global in 1986.

    We stopped at his orphanage and he gave us a tour and shared his heart. One couldn’t help but be impressed.

    His “museum” and zoo, and ideas of how he’d be able to use all that to fund the ministry was intriguing! And his stories behind the things he had collected! Like an amputated foot (in formaldehyde!) of one of his boys who had climbed over a fence and literally lost his foot (when it was found to be too badly mangled to save!) And many legitimate antiques as well!

    It amazed and challenged me to see how neither severe health problems nor lack of financial means kept him from loving and caring for people … and always, always giving!

  11. I never visited the orphanage but my daughter and I had the opportunity to visit him during our two trips to Ecuador.

    Speaking of those antiques, he had this old skeleton in his house. He told me that once he hid it in a bed under the covers and then waited for the cleaning woman to come along and make the bed. Well, you can guess what happened.

    He taught me a lot, even though I only really knew him since 2001, although I knew him before that time through his letters which appeared in the Castlegar News through John Charters’ columns. I was a reporter/photographer for the newspaper and one of my jobs was to edit the letters for publication.

    I have started a Facebook group in memory of John Munday for it is my desire that the legacy he left behind will live on in the lives of others.

    • Under what name is the facebook. I would like to enjoy the group.

      Judith Sanchez

      • Judith,
        Thank you for sharing your story of your connection with Juan.
        I stared a Facebook group in hopes that John’s memory would be kept alive. The name of the group is: In Memory of Missionary John Munday

  12. My Name is Sarah. My Great Uncle was John Munday….I am trying to get in contact with the author of God’s Fuel; Kay Landers. I have many questions about my great uncle and my desire is to know, understand and somehow connect dots on my uncles life. I never met him. Only recently I discovered the book written, and like I said….I want deeply to get in touch with Kay Landers. Any one know how I can do this?
    God Bless,

  13. Dick and I visited him and his orphanage several times and it was really a perfect place for that ministry.

    He was a collector of antiques and Indian artifacts and had a lot that I’m sure are worth plenty. I wonder what will happen in this regard.

    Because of being almost blind, he did NOT drive. He taught Bible at one time at the Alliance Academy International, I believe. And he was an English-language camp counselor and speaker when Dick was the director. The kids loved him.

    We always kidded that I am much older than he is – my birthday is in November and his was in January, I think. So I am several weeks older!!

    He probably erred on being too generous, trusting people too much, etc., but I would rather err that way than the opposite!.

    He told us on numerous occasions that he prayed daily for my kids (and I believe Wally’s too, but I’m not sure). This amazed me, that he continued to do that down through the years, but it was a real blessing.

    Helen Broach Swanson

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