February 2022



I don't get a lot of pictures of myself, but we had a couple with us this week, and they took some photos.
The top photo is a candid shot at the same church in the previous blog. They called me in from the kids class to accompany the church choir with the guitar.
In the bottom photo I am teaching my Saturday bible class to four kids. We are folding paper into a picture frame. Then we drew Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey.


What about the children?


"What about the children?" That's the question I now ask when we visit a church. This Sunday we visited a country church near Riobamba with some missionary friends, Hiram and Janet. The church building looked more like a shack, but functioned very well for the small congregation. Even so they had another shack for the children. That impressed me. When the children left the service for their class, I went with them. The teacher explained that they didn't have any material for the children's class. Yet I had seen some pencils and crayons in the first shack. When I asked for some paper, a little girl who lives next door, ran home and returned with several sheets. So I taught them how to fold the paper to make a picture frame, and they drew and painted the story of Zacchaeus. The teachers still need help in planning and preparing the classes, but I'm glad they've made it a priority to have a classroom for the kids.




In our Bible class on Wednesday, we are studying the Exile of the Israelites. I am probing the question of "Identity." When the Israelites were captives in Babylonia, how did they maintain their identity? The 10 tribes of the North disappeared in Assyria, but the exiles from Judah survived their captivity. The best answer is that God promised to David a continual remnant, but on the human level, it was their interest in the Scriptures that preserved their identity. Since the students are all migrants from the rural areas to the city, we talked about their identity as Quichuas. Will they preserve their identity or become like the rest? Some of the women still wear the traditional dress, but not all. The men no longer use ponchos. The younger generation doesn't speak nor understand the Quichua language. Do they still consider themselves Quichua? In Quito, they live scattered in different neighborhoods, and have to travel more than half an hour to get to the church, yet they still make an effort to attend. Wouldn't it be easier to find a church closer to their homes? Or do you still identify with this Quichua church as Christians since you all come from the same rural area? I hope to discuss in a future class the question: "How do we identify ourselves as Christians? What gives us our identity?"


To Serve or Be Served


In Riobamba, in our building of 18 apartments, I have been the president for the past two and a half years. Normally we have elections every year, but because of the Pandemic we held off. So we finally held our "annual" assembly to elect a new committee. The result? No volunteers. The old committee continues for another year. "To serve or be served?" I see being president and serving the rest as a ministry and witness. Jesus came to serve. We follow his example. The treasurer wanted someone to replace her. She really does most of the work, collecting the dues and paying the bills. But she's willing to serve for another year. May God bless this ministry!

Donations on the Mountain Tops


The son of a friend heard about our trip to "Lirio" to help with the children's program. He runs an office supply business, and wanted to be part of our ministry. So he donated a white board, plus some water paints. We made the trip just to give Maritza and her husband the materials. They were encouraged not just with the gifts, but also with the visit. They don't get many visits up on the mountain tops. (The classroom is behind the church, beside the kitchen.)