Posted by: calloftheandes | November 24, 2015

Desperate for Hope, Woman Rips Pages from Bible


Hearing confessions generally lies outside the understood parameters of Edgar Benalcázar’s work as a Protestant pastor and a hospital chaplain in Ecuador. But before him a woman was confessing. Not only that, she was showing him compelling evidence—the pages she had ripped from the large Bible in the hospital’s chapel.

Benalcázar shared the experience with staff members observing the 60th anniversary of Hospital Vozandes-Quito (HVQ). Anxiously, the woman had waited as emergency room doctors treated her 19-year-old daughter for convulsions.

“To see her daughter like that was difficult,” said Benalcázar. “So she thought, ‘There’s nothing better to do than ask God to help.’ so she went to the chapel.”

Nearby, adjacent to a busy dining area, was the tiny chapel, complete with stained glass windows, pews, kneelers, and at the front, an altar and a Bible. It offered everything she needed. Here in the relative quiet of this place, she found solace and a chance to cry out to God in her desperate situation.

Going to the front, she looked at the book lying on a stand, and the words of a psalm captivated her—so much so that before she could stop herself, she had ripped it from the Bible. Back in the ER, she read the words aloud to her daughter.

“After her account to me, we noticed that [one of the pages she had] torn out was Psalm 91,” Benalcázar continued. “It begins with, ‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”’ These words strengthened this mama in the midst of difficulty.”

The emotive reference to the woman’s confession was not to generate disdain for her, but rather to give thanks to God. At a special service on Wednesday, Oct. 7, it represented a sample of 60 years of healthcare ministry. Earlier in the day outside the hospital’s entrance, passersby were treated to rousing music as Ecuador’s National Police Band performed several songs on the sidewalk.

Benalcázar also pointed out an HVQ distinctive—providing spiritual care even as bodies are healed of maladies. His talk focused on the effect of that distinctive in the lives of patients and their loved ones.

He said the woman recognized that “in times of difficulty, there is no better refuge for people than the Word of God. She did well by taking refuge in Psalm 91 in that incredible prayer, seeing God as our refuge, our strength and our hope. She took it and repeated it into her daughter’s ear.”

Edgar Benalcázar

Edgar Benalcázar

At a sesión solemne (service of remembrance) several days later in historic Quito, Benalcazar took the podium again.

This time he used Scripture references to reflect on the hospital’s founding and its spiritual roots. “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:1-2).

He followed by reading a verse that is emblazoned on a plaque placed when the hospital was inaugurated in October 1955. The text reads, “Cry unto Me and I will respond to you, and teach you great and hidden things that you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Ultimately, the hospital’s brick-and-mortar walls and the pages of a holy book serve only to point a person to that which is eternal. When hope and new beginnings are discovered in the truths of Scripture, Benalcázar is more than glad to hear it … even if it means two pages are missing from the chapel’s Bible.

Note: Video available for viewing here shows Benalcázar’s ministry work in 2008. He accompanied a disaster response team during flood relief in Ecuador.Note: Video available for viewing here shows Benalcázar’s ministry work in 2008. He accompanied a disaster response team during flood relief in Ecuador.hvqdesperate


  1. […] her findings and later offered people signed copies of 15 Años Vigilando Lo Invisible. The 60th anniversary event came 16 months after the hospital’s sale was announced to employees and the public—a deal that […]

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