Riobamba and Covid


We decided to make a trip to Riobamba. Since Faby’s medicine seems to be working, we needed to see how she would travel. Plus we hadn’t been to our apartment for three months and needed to check on things there. On our arrival Faby announced, to no surprise, that this was her last trip. She doesn’t travel well. So Thursday I bought some cardboard boxes and began to pack the apartment.

Friday we visited a family I have known from the first class I taught at the seminary in Riobamba in 2010. Alejandro is an excellent musician and we enjoy playing together whenever we get the opportunity. He has a son and three daughters. The first daughter married early and the second followed suit. I have always encouraged the youth to get a university degree, but marriage takes priority. The last time I saw the youngest, Genesis, she wanted to study at the university. Now she is entering her third year, and somewhere along the way she also completed a diploma in theology. How time flies, and what a joy to see at least one concentrate on studies before getting married.

Saturday, three youth from the seminary church came over to help us pack dishes, pots, and pans. But the surprise came Saturday night: fever! We had planned to visit a couple of churches on Sunday, but visited a doctor instead. He highly recommended a test for the Covid virus.

Monday, the three youth returned just to help load the boxes into our car. (We live on the fifth floor.) Faby wasn’t feeling very well. The boxes were loaded within minutes, and I proceeded to take Faby to a local clinic. The doctor said she could just take the medicine and stay home, but Faby wanted to stay at the clinic. An exam confirmed we had Covid. After a 24-hour stay she was doing well. I picked her up and we drove directly back home to Quito.

Good to be back home, but we’re going to have to quarantine for the next 10 days at least. We had to call a doctor today, Thursday, because we had so many prescriptions from three different doctors that I got frustrated with the medicine. He got us straightened out.

So we’re still absorbing the decision to leave our apartment in Riobamba.
One day at a time. Matthew 6:33-34




The Quichuas have been leaving the countryside and moving to the cities for many years now. Many dream of going to the United States for “a better future.” I know many here in Quito who have left the community “Capulispungo” where I have worked for the past ten years. Whether it’s the US or Quito, what does a migrant face in a new setting?

Today I talked with both the pastor Antonio of Capulispungo and his disciple Abel who pastors the migrants from Capulispungo here in Quito. The church in Quito is falling apart from lack of interest and commitment.

I don’t know all the reasons for the situation in the church, but I do know the migrants face many problems. First of all, they have relocated to a new situation. They have to find housing, a job, and new friends. They don’t live anymore near their original neighbors. So they struggle for a new identity. Second, their children quickly adapt to their new environment, while their parents try to maintain their previous lifestyle and customs. This creates a lot of stress on the children. Third, they realize that their move to the city didn’t solve all their financial problems. Their expenses have greatly increased. (In the country, they didn’t pay rent or transportation, or have to buy all their food.) Many fall into debt, thinking that with a loan they can start a business. The business fails and the debt remains. Fourth, they don’t have more than a high school education if even that. So they’re going to work at minimum wage most of their lives.

The pastor Antonio has invited us to speak to the youth in “Capulispungo” at the end of August. I know that most of them, if not all, will migrate either to the city or to the US. Subsistence agriculture in the community holds no future for anyone. Personally, I think the best solution is to help the youth get a college education, which is still complicated. We tried to help some indigenous college students in Riobamba, but they face two problems. One, they need to pay room and board, which most of their parents can’t afford. Second, they need tutors. When you have a question about your classwork, to whom do you go?

I’ve kept in touch with one student, Danilo, who lives close enough to Riobamba that he can commute from home. He’s had to pay tutors to get through some classes. The first two tries to pass Calculus failed, but he persisted and passed the third time around. I often help him with English.

What’s the future of the Quichua youth? Good question. I just try to walk along side them and go through the process together.

So far, so good


For those who have been reading the last three blogs, Faby’s health has been our major concern for some time now. We appreciate all those who have been praying with us for wisdom and healing. Thursday I consulted with a doctor in Riobamba whom we have been visiting for a few years. We concluded that Faby could take a certain medicine daily to help stabilize her. We started Friday and so far Faby hasn’t had headaches or anxiety or blood pressure problems! She’s still getting used to the medicine, but the results are good. Praise God for His goodness!

Health, Bible, and Medicine


God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” (Reinhold Niebuhr)

I’ve thought of adding a line to that prayer: “and wisdom to discern the timing.” Because some things you can’t change now, but you may be able to later.

We continue to deal with Faby’s health, but are learning to “handle it for now.” Still headaches and anxiety, but with lifestyle and medicine, manageable.

Some thoughts from Scripture:

I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.” 2 Tim 4:20
God doesn’t always heal when we want him to.

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” 1 Tim 5:23
Timothy had health problems, and Paul recommends some dietary changes. Prayer?

Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14
Assuming oil was the medicine of the day, here we see a combination of prayer and medicine. Use both?