April 2017

Busy Weekend - Making Contacts


We spent the whole weekend visiting communities and churches that invited us to share what we do. These are our initial contacts. We get to know one another, and then let them discuss their needs, and call us later if they are interested.

Sunday, Manuel invited us to his church in Columbe to see if they wanted to start a Bible program.


On Saturday, Alberto, in the middle, and Segundo, on the right, invited us to the community "Pachamama Chico" to present our Foundation to them. Over a hundred were in the community meeting to discuss water issues, etc. We make a quick presentation and left.


But just down the road, on our way back, Segundo wanted to stop in at the next community and visit some relatives. We found the church congregation having a workshop with the pastor. We talked outside for a few minutes, and then the pastor invited us to come in and give a Bible study! So we spent the next two hours with the congregation.


Friday night, a few members from Capulispungo came to our apartment to discuss an agricultural project. Luis, on the right, explained to them that the Foundation that was offering them loans for the project was probably a fake.


We had a beautiful day on Sunday, driving through the mountains, back from the community.


Contacts for new projects


The first stage of our projects as a Foundation is to talk with the people. In the Quichua mindset this is called "Socializing the idea." Here Luis is talking with a group of women about the best way to organize themselves into a small company. We are still waiting for them to catch the vision and tell us they are ready to start a project.


This following group in Quito wants to start a bible training program in this their church. Our Foundation is not interested in working in Quito, but these Quichua are from Capulispungo. They have migrated to the city. I drove three of them home that night. In the car I asked the question, "If there were jobs in Capulispungo would you return to the community?" There followed a brief silence which I interpreted as "Could there really be jobs in Capulispungo?" But their answer was clear, "Of course!" May God grant this to be some day a reality.


Back in Riobamba, we met with two church leaders from a community we have yet to visit. Fidel has met us a couple of times, and came asking us to visit his community and start a project, probably one of training church leaders.


Seeing progress


Little by little we are seeing progress. One has to be patient. It's like watching a plant grow. From one day to the next, one doesn't see any change, but come back a few weeks later and the growth is obvious. In Cachisagua, we have held music workshops for about six months. I didn't see much progress during that time, but finally now I can see that they are learning to play guitar and charango. This Sunday we even managed to put together a small group of three. They played and sang well! Of course, Alejandro is helping me teach them, and he is a great asset!


In Capulispungo, we continue with the bible program, and are beginning to plan the graduation! They also finished putting the ceiling in the church sanctuary.


Helping just enough.


How much should we do and how much should they do? Can be a very hard balance to maintain. Here in the church at Capulispungo, the congregation has raised the money to install a ceiling in the sanctuary. They didn't need any outside help. It took them a year to raise $1500 dollars for the project, but they did it. That's our philosophy in ministry: give them just what they need, so they can do it themselves.

I reflex on how they have built their church structure. When I first visited them in 2010, all they had was the first floor. Yet in a couple of years they had build the second floor themselves, since many are construction workers. But they couldn't raise enough money for the roof. Estimated cost was $5000. So we helped them with the funds for the roof. Once the roof was in place, they did the rest: plastering the walls and sealing the edges. They just needed to get past that one obstacle of putting on the roof.

Now that the church building is near completion, we have realized another obstacle blocking their path. This time it's not a physical obstacle, but an organizational one. They need to organize their legal papers, plus the internal structure of the church government. We want to help. This time it will not be with funds, but with administrative training in legal work and church government. We are working with the pastor to begin this phase.