Part of the Capulispungo Family


Antonio, the pastor at Capulispungo, paid us a visit today with two deacons and their young driver. Since the Pandemia began we haven't been able to visit them, but they came to us. Only Antonio had been to our house before. They are planning a celebration at the end of October and want us to be there. We are still part of their family.
The church sponsored this trip to Quito to visit the families who have migrated from Capulispungo. Antonio told me they tallied a total of 45 families now living in Quito! Plus they have more in Guayaquil and other cities in Ecuador. They are scattered, but still consider themselves part of the church. The celebration is Thanksgiving for completing a five year building program.
One of the Quichua traditions is to invite people personally, not by telephone. This visit was for that purpose. We are privileged to be part of their ministry and pray for wisdom as they seek God's will for the future.

Instant VBS


Tuesday, 10 am. Segundo calls. He’s put together a two-day VBS in his community which is one of the most remote ones we have worked in. He calls regularly to chat or to ask for materials. “So what’s up, Segundo?” “Pastor, Alan, we need you to give a bible class for the kids.” “Ok, when?” “At 11 o’clock.” So that’s a one-hour notice to give a VBS bible class over the internet. Wow!

Not that we didn’t have a bible class prepared, but to do it over internet requires a new method. We tried. Faby and I sang a few songs. That went over pretty well. We could see the kids and I assumed they could see us projected on the church wall. The story of Abraham sacrificing his son didn’t work so well. I began the story with pictures, but I could see that the kids’ attention had expired after only a few minutes. I almost gave up, but managed to finish a quick version. Faby saved the day. She began by repeating the story and asking questions. The kids love to see who can answer first. Segundo helped because he was physically there with a microphone and would repeat the question.

I think we covered the main point: Jesus was the lamb of God sacrificed in place of us, but it wasn’t easy. Good experience. Probably with the Pandemic we’ll have more of these opportunities. Need to develop a new technique based on questions and simple pictures.




Final Exams


This week the students are taking their final exams for the semester. Danilo just took his English Final. Walter has Calculus today, English on Wednesday, and Statistics on Thursday. Danilo seems to be doing okay in his studies. Walter is really struggling, but he plans to persevere. I admire them both. What is my final exam? This week it's trying to find a water leak underneath the cement. I found one connection, cut off one side, and found that the leak is on the far side. The next question is to find the following connection and repeat the process until I find the leak. I have begun chipping away at the cement in the corner of the room. Will I pass the exam? Time will tell. That's the advantage I have over the students. I have no time limit for the exam.

Math Ministry


One of the strategies to advance the Quichua communities is to help their youth get a university degree. Few try. So I'm trying to help those few. These day I work with Walter who is from Capulispungo. Danilo, from Shobol Llin Llin, is doing all right so far, but he has to work hard. Their most difficult courses are Calculus and Statistics. (And English, but that isn't a problem for me.) I haven't studied math formally for over forty years. Yesterday I spent three hours working on probability problems. I have to figure them out, so I can tutor a student on how to solve them. I got a kick out of the first cartoon. The second one doesn't make sense unless you've studied calculus, but if you have, it's funny. My prayer is that these youth will graduate with a working knowledge that they will use to make a difference in their communities. Both of them are leaders in their congregations, but the added scientific knowledge will help with community projects.


New Horizons

The university cafeteria offered a new menu item: crab cakes. I devoured them. I thought they were the best thing on earth. My friends disagreed: "They're just filled with crab-flavored lettuce." Upon graduation, some of us celebrated at a sea food restaurant. I noticed "crab cakes" on the menu. So I ordered one. On my first bite I realized what a REAL crab cake tasted like. I had been eating imitations all during my college meals, but never knew it because I had never tasted a real one.
Danilo is a Quichua youth studying at the University in Riobamba. We have a pretty good relationship, and he is one of the students I am following and helping towards a university degree. He came over Friday to talk. He shared with me how his horizons have broadened now that he's reading and learning lots of new things. He has been an active member in his church, being the youth leader for many years and even giving bible classes to adults. Yet now he realizes that the church is content with its traditions. Since they have never seen anything better, they are content with their ways. Another version of my crab cake story. Education is not just getting a degree, but exposure to new horizons. That's why I'm working and praying with Quichua students, the future of their communities.