For over 20 years, we have been helping churches and individuals partner together toward planting churches, training leaders, and restoring communities. We're thankful for your interest in our ministry, and welcome any questions you might have about who we are and how you can get involved.

Thank you for your interest!

Please give us a little information about yourself, and we'll reach out right away.

Steve Youngren Founder, Compassion Connection


Following Christ's plan to extend His Kingdom through local churches, we exist to see churches planted throughout Ecuador, Latin America, and the world.


The strength of local churches and church plants in Ecuador is dependent upon the foundations of those who plant, pastor and lead them. We exist to train these leaders biblically, theologically and in practical ministry.


Believing that Jesus' Kingdom is meant to restore the broken relationships between man and God, between one another and between man and God's creation, we exist to equip local churches in Ecuador to extend Christ's compassion by ministering to issues of poverty, injustice and disease.


Many churches desire to participate in international church planting, but don't know how to connect to new works.

We help catalyze relationships between churches in the United States and Ecuador through shared projects, outreach, and funding requests. Our goal is to establish long-lasting relationships between churches sharing in the work of the gospel.

Thank you for your interest!

Please give us a little information about yourself, and we'll reach out right away.






We'd love to send you more information about opportunities for partnership through Compassion Connection.



In many parts of the world, pastors shepherd with little to no training, and no opportunities for training on the horizon. We want to change that.

We provide needed biblical training at little to no expense to those being trained. Our three–year training programs feature seminars that also serve as an avenue for churches and pastors to partner together.


We have been building and developing the Cotopaxi Training Center for almost a decade.

We're proud to offer pastors training and means at almost no cost to those being trained. The food we provide is grown on the property itself, and the training comes directly from pastors and teachers willing to serve.





We're looking for qualified teachers who have a heart to serve.

If you desire to serve pastors in Ecuador, and believe you have the necessary qualifications for training them, we would love to hear from you.


We equip local churches in Ecuador to extend Christ's compassion by ministering to issues of poverty, injustice and disease.

We believe that the gospel came with power to not only restore our relationship with God, but also with others and with our world. We work to develop churches and leaders that will be engaging in the culture around them, looking for specific ways in which they can be a blessing. Often this focuses on partnerships with stateside churches and their short-term teams which help with community development issues particular to the vision of each local church pastor within their context.


It is our privilege to work with an incredible team of people. The term "synergy" comes from the same word translated "fellow-worker" in scripture and describes the multiplying effect that takes place when people combine their gifts and talents together for the Kingdom of God.


Steve Youngren

Steve graduated from Northwest University in 1982 with a degree in Pastoral Ministry, and has since completed his MA in International Development from William Carey University in Pasedena, CA. He is Co-Founder of Compassion Connection (1998) and oversees all operations of Compassion Connection (1998) in Ecuador, mentors church planters, coordinates and teaches in the training programs, as well as represents Acts 29 in Ecuador.

Sandi Youngren

Sandi is Co-Founder of Compassion Connection (1998) and integrally involved with networking and maintaining communication with stateside support. Sandi also has a small jewelry company that helps to support young women in Ecuador escaping human trafficking. See more at

Justin Eccles

Born and raised in Iowa, Justin is a graduate from Iowa State University with a two BA Degrees in Painting and Graphic Design. He completed his Certificate in Great Commission Studies from SBTS and has earned his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Painting and Printmaking. His missionary journey began 21 years ago in Istanbul, Turkey where he served as a church planter and evangelist with the IMB for 13 years visually communicating the gospel through art and design. Justin was the Art Director for AB Media in Madison, WI before moving to Ecuador. He now serves as the Director of Compassion Connection Ecuador, helping to oversee operations, maintain the facilities and provide care and discipleship for the team. On weekends Justin enjoys hiking, painting and spending time with his wife over a good cup of coffee.

Laurel Eccles

A midwest native, Laurel graduated from Iowa State University with a Degree in Fine Art and a Minor in Vocal Performance. She also has earned her MA in Biblical Counseling from SBTS and is an ACBC Certified Counselor. Along with Justin, she served for 13 years in Istanbul Turkey with the IMB as an evangelist and church planter. She was on staff at The Vine Church in Madison, WI for six years serving as the Care and Discipleship Coordinator. Justin and Laurel have two children, Hannah and Asher and one son-in-law, Nicholas who are all living in Wisconsin as they finish their college degrees. Laurel serves with Compassion Connection as the Assistant Director of Compassion Connection Ecuador, helping to oversee operations and provide care and discipleship for the team. On days off, Laurel loves to hike, read, work in the garden and find new restaurants to try.

Gabriela Puente

Gaby started volunteering with Compassion Connection in 2015 and has been on staff with CC since 2018. A native of Ecuador, she has her degree in Communications from Universidad Catolica, Quito.Prior to serving with CC, Gaby worked for the United Nations in the UNDE program. Gaby is the Communication & Logistics Coordinator and Social Media Specialist for Compassion Connection. In her free time she plays with the CC puppies, serves in her church La Fuente, studies Biblical Counseling and gets coffee with friends.

Mike Leonzo

Raised in a pastor’s home in Central Pennsylvania, Mike graduated from Cedarville University with a degree in International Studies: Missiology and a Spanish minor. He is currently pursuing a MDiv from Baptist Bible Seminary, and has had the privilege to teach, preach, and disciple others in local churches and ministries. Before joining CC as a full time staff member, Mike served in the International Headquarters of the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. Mike is happily married to Cristina and serves Compassion Connection as the Director of Pastoral Trainings and Pastoral Care. In his free time enjoys running, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Luis Osorio

Luis (Lucho) is a Venezuelan native who graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and a Masters in Strategic Planning. He arrived in Ecuador in 2010 and served full time with CRU for 7 years and began volunteering with Compassion Connection. As a full time staff member with Compassion Connection since April 2019, he oversees education for local churches in community development, helping to partner them with existing communities in need. Lucho also serves as the Hospitality Coordinator for Compassion Connection and is the Financial Administrative Assistant. When he’s not working, Lucho likes to be awesome and entertain his refined palette with chocolate cake, sushi and homemade pasta.


María del Carmen Atiaga and Jorge Luis Rodriguez

María and Jorge Luis represent the volunteer work force with organizing our seminary training events. Both have a degree in Communications and are a part of La Fuente church plant in Quito. They work together with the Compassion Connection team in the areas of promotion, logistics and translation.

Herb Neufeld

Herb Neufeld was a graduate of Elim Bible Institute (Canada) in Bibical Studies followed by a degree in Physiotherapy at the University of Manitoba. He has been a practicing Physical Therapist since 1989 in Southern California. He and his wife Wanda have been on the Board of Compassion Connection since its inception.

Wanda Neufeld

Wanda is a graduate of St. Boniface School of Nursing and has traveled the world giving medical help when needed. She has been part of Compassion Connection since 1998 covering communications and is the acting Board Secretary.

Noah Brennan

Noah Brennan graduated from Arizona Christian University in 2002 with a degree in Secondary Education. Noah has had had the opportunity to teach in Christian, Public, and International schools over the past 20 years. Noah and his wife, Cate, lived in Ecuador for 8 years and worked directly with Compassion Connection in the area of church planting (La Fuente) and church-based theological training--two things that he remains passionate about. Noah currently teaches at a small Christian school in Maui, HI. He is now a CC board member.

Cate Brennan

Cate Brennan graduated from Buffalo State University in 2009 with a degree in Elementary Education. During the 8 years in Ecuador, Cate had the opportunity to work with Compassion Connection and the church plant in different areas while also enjoying the growth of the Brennan family. She and Noah have four kids. Cate is now teaching fourth grade at a small Christian School in Maui, HI. She is now a CC board member.

Amie Youngren

Amie Youngren has worked with non profit organizations in India, Japan, Mexico and Ecuador. She helped to plant La Fuente church in Quito, and was the Administrator and Director of the Children's Ministry there. She was involved with Compassion Connection full time for twenty years, working with donors, incoming teams, and children's outreaches. She is now a CC Board Member.

Rhonda Hall

Rhonda has served on the Missions Committee at her local church since 2004, serving as the Contact Person for Steve and Sandi since 2010. She has been to Ecuador several times, serving Compassion Connection, La Fuente church, and the CC team in many ways. She joined the CC Board in 2017.


We would love to connect you or your church to those in need. Please consider partnering with us in one of the following ways.


Pray with us for new works, exciting initiatives, and bold evangelism. We will keep you updated with needs, updates, and stories of all that God is doing in and through our partner churches.


Find out how you can connect with a new work in Ecuador, and work together for the advancement of the gospel.


Compassion Connection is funded by kingdom-minded individuals and churches that give sacrificially of their finances in order to advance Kingdom work in South America.


Still have questions? We'd love to send you more information about our ministry, our statement of beliefs, or just get on the phone to explore new avenues of partnership you might be considering.