April 2019

End of the Journey


As I shared back in March, Pastor Consepcion was diagnosed with cancer. His wife, Carmen, spent every day with him in various hospitals taking care of him day and night. This past Tuesday, his journey ended and the Lord took him home. The Quichua community sponsored the vigil and burial, Wednesday through Friday, with over 1000 people attending. My contribution was accompanying the women's choir with the accordion.



Carmen at the tomb site with her mother-in-law and sister.


Sunday afternoon in our home in Quito, we held a short time of sharing and singing with Carmen and others.


New Community: "Chismaute Telan"


Pastor Manuel has studied with us in Capulispungo for the past three years. I've been trying to visit his community for some time, and this Saturday, the opportunity finally came. His church is way up in the mountains. Even so, I learned that his son works on a farm near our house in El-Tingo, Quito. We participated in a special program for Easter. Since no one in the church plays an instrument, my accordion was well received. This visit reminded me of the difference between a Quichua church close to the city, and a Quichua church in the mountains. Both maintain their traditions, only those near the city have more resources such as finances and technology. What's the future of these rural churches? We continue to pray for God's direction.


Settling Down


These past months have been irregular with some old projects dying out, and new ones coming in. This weekend we visited different communities to nail down which projects will continue. The group in Shobol seems to be pretty serious about continuing with the home groups. In Capulispungo, level 2 of the FLET bible program continues with steady progress. In Cachisagua, we had to sit down with all the leaders to confirm if they're going to continue with the FLET bible program or not. I like how they decide: it's everyone or no one. In our culture, those who want to continue do so, and those who don't drop out. But they don't see it that way. For them it's "all or nothing."



Working with Shobol Llin Llin


We continue to consolidate the group of leaders from the community of "Shobol Llin Llin." This Thursday I began by playing UNO with them! My point was to avoid falling into a routine every week. A home group meeting needs to be dynamic and varied. Don't be afraid of trying something new or changing the program.

Sunday we were invited to participate in a baptism service, with me preaching. (Of course they let me know about an hour in advance that I was preaching. But I'm used to that.)

After the service (and lunch), the deacons invited us to a meeting where we are discussing the organization of the church. Most indigenous churches elect a board of seven deacons that changes every one or two years. They work with a model where the pastoral council remains the same and they (not the General Assembly) elect the board of deacons that can be re-elected indefinitely. This could be a good working model for other churches.



A New Emphasis


The church in Capulispungo has some migrants in Quito who have started a church among themselves. They have asked for help in starting cell groups. I met last night with some of the leaders to discuss a plan. My first question was, "Why do want to start cell groups?" Every church has different needs, so I wanted to see if they needed bible courses or if they needed to build better relationships within the congregation. The latter proved true. They need a new emphasis in the church, because the church has become simply a Sunday worship service. They want to create a family. So for the cell groups we are going to emphasize relationships more than a bible study, and continue to pray for God's leading.