Small world

MariaCaiza

I keep wondering if we'll continue to have a ministry with the Quichua now that we're not able to visit their communities. God gave me a surprise on Monday. Just down the road from us a Quichua woman runs a small business of fruit and vegetables. Wherever I see a woman wearing the dress only those in Chimborazo use, I have to ask where they're from. She told me, "From Riobamba." I know enough that they're not really from Riobamba. So I pressed the question: "Where are you from?" She replied, "From Guamote." Again, I know that she's not from Guamote, a 45 minute drive South of Riobamba, but from some nearby community. I repeated the question: "Where exactly are you from?" "From Sablog." Sablog is a collection of communities on the mountain behind Guamote. I've been there, so I asked, "From Santa Rosa, San Isidro, San Francisco, or another of the nine communities of Sablog." Now I had her attention. She responded, "From San Isidro." I've been to San Isidro many times and know the pastor there, Luis Ortiz. We connected. Now we have a good relationship and stop by often. Our ministry to the Quichua continues.

Looking back

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In 2002, my cousin Sandra, and her husband Bill, invited me to Thanksgiving in Tehachapi (paying for the plane ticket). Tuesday I arrived at Norman’s house and he told me we had Wednesday to hang out. Why don’t I visit Fuller Seminary? I met a professor who told me about Ethnomusicology and I ended up applying to Fuller. Once at Fuller we attended an Hispanic church. There I met Miguel Endara, an Ecuadorian who taught at a seminary here in Ecuador near our home. He invited me to help him teach bioethics at the seminary. The seminary recruited me for others courses, and then the director sent me to their seminary in Riobamba where most of the students were Quichua. Teaching there I received invitations to visit their communities and teach bible. Thus we spent the next 12 years in the Andes mountains with the Quichua. Thanks to their invitation.

God works in wonderful ways and uses his children for his purposes.

Transition

ChimborazoYellow

“A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.” John 3:27

We are in a transition period. Faby can no longer make the trips to the Quichua communities in the mountains, so we are vacating our mission apartment base in Riobamba. So now what?

I want to be active. I can think of many possibilities and needs. But I have to wait for God’s timing. Many families from the Quichua community of Capulispungo have migrated here to Quito. El-Tingo, where we have always lived for the past 35 years, is an indigenous community. Now I better understand how such communities function. We are visiting two nearby churches to see if we fit in.

Faby’s health has greatly improved, with occasional headaches that caffeine seems to work best to take it away.

Still waiting for God’s direction and timing.

Agent of Change

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“What does the world expect from the church?”
A seminary student here in Ecuador asked me that question in a survey. As I thought about it, in the Ecuadorian context, my response was: “Nothing.” The church is not an agent of change here in Ecuador. In my opinion, people expect change from the government, not from the church.
I’ve been reading about the history of the church. During the middle ages, the church was powerful and influential, for better or for worse. The popes and emperors challenged each other for authority. Today, the government controls the schools, the hospitals, and social welfare. The church’s role is spiritual. But are we making changes in the society? Or are we focused just on our internal programs? I fear the later.
And I pray for change, beginning with me.

ILLEGAL MIGRATION

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So what do you tell an Ecuadorian who has decided to migrate illegally to the US? Can you convince him not to go?
“It’s illegal. You’re committing a crime.” That doesn’t seem to register because “if my family and friends did it, then it’s okay for me to migrate as well.”
“It’s dangerous and risky.” They think it’s worth the risk. They’ll take their chances.

I just talked to a father, whose two children are migrating illegally to the US. One is already in Guatemala with his family, and the other is about to take his family on the risky and illegal journey. His own response to me was, “What can I do? I can’t find jobs for them, nor can I support them. So I can’t tell them ‘don’t go’”

I ask, “Where do you get thousands of dollars to pay the “coyotes” who take you to the US? If you can find $10,000 to $20,000 dollars for the trip, why can’t you start a small business here in Ecuador?” My guess is that the illusion of earning money in the US outweighs the debts they incur here in Ecuador.

So the final answer is, “I hope you arrive safely.”

That’s our reality in Ecuador.