January 2020

Leading a Church Retreat


The church in "Quislag Chico" has an extension in Sangolqui just 10 minutes from our home in Quito. These are members who have migrated to the city looking for work. They wanted to hold a half-day retreat at our house. Our response has always been: "You're' welcome to come!" When asked if we could help with the music and teaching, we knew what to expect. We led the music, Alan taught on the Christian home, and Faby taught on evangelism. We also took turns taking care of the kids. In other words, we led the whole retreat. Not unusual. This is common in many churches: they hold many weekly activities, but have no general plan or goals in mind. In "Shobol Llin Llin," we have reached this discussion with the leaders, and I gave them a six month plan to consider, that deals with reviewing the gospel. The goal is to help them plan specific objectives for their church. It's all a process.


The Dynamics of Ministry


Saturday we drove to "Shobol Llin Llin" for Faby to work with the single moms, but they didn't show up. At the same time we learned of a delicate situation at one of the homes. Two of the church leaders showed up at the time. We all went to visit the home, but Faby was the one most indicated for the counseling. So I sat in the car, which now doubles as my "mobile office," with the two church leaders. The conversation led to the need to create a plan for the church. I gave a few suggestions, and then we found ourselves the next day in a planning meeting with all seven of the church leaders. They have all the activities planned, but no purpose or direction. I committed myself to develop a six month plan for their church, which aims at studying the Gospel, with a plan for three sermons a week, five bible readings a week, and twelve verses to memorize.

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New Methods in Flet level 3


Saturday we began the Third Level of the FLET bible program. I'm going slow because this level requires a whole different system of study. Up to now the books were designed as "figure out the right answer." But level 3 asks for your own answer. I had to explain it slowly and demonstrate it, but they caught on quickly: "Hey guys, now you have to think and reason. We're not looking for the correct answer. We're looking for your answer. I want to hear your opinion and reasoning." We had some really good discussion. I'm pushing for them to "do theology." From my point of view, Western theology is done from within a scientific framework. I hope I can help them do theology from within their "nature" framework. Since they live and work in the mountains and countryside, I assume that makes up much of their worldview. I want them to see God and the Bible from their worldview, not from the Western worldview.

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In the bottom photo, I confirmed what I discovered in my dissertation: Quichua are more interested in their identity than in "theology." I took a thesis from 1948 that was a census of all the Indians in Ecuador. Their communities and populations are listed in the census. Without urging them to look, they spent time looking up their communities and reading about themselves. I had the same experience in El Tingo where we live in Quito. They were more interested in their history than in why they celebrate festivals.


Reaping what you sow


Maria Flor called me Friday, "Don't tell Faby, but Saturday at 8 am we're going to surprise her with a birthday breakfast!" Faby has been working with these single moms for several months, often reproving them. But Saturday she reaped a harvest of gratitude. They truly appreciate all Faby is doing for them, and they wanted to demonstrate their thankfulness. So I tried hard to keep it a secret, but since they arrived an hour late, I almost had to break the silence. Faby was surprised and delighted. Nice birthday surprise! Although the menu was not the most common one.

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