December 2018

The Stark Reality

Every day I learn more about the Quichua communities and the dilemmas they are facing. These two photos represent two of those crisis.


In Capulispungo, on Saturday, the pastor and deacons were meeting to discuss plans for the church for the new year. They were talking about ordaining two pastors, building a new platform for the sanctuary, and a discipleship program for the church leaders. But the reality is that many church members are moving to the cities, and church membership is declining. They need economic projects that will keep them in their community.


Sunday we visited Cachisagua for a wedding. A young couple took their marriage vows to begin a new life together. All looks well. The reality? Many Quichua youth finish high school, marry, and move to the city. Neither he nor she have a more than a high school education. Neither will earn more than minimum wage the rest of their lives. The youth need to get a good education BEFORE they marry. I continually encourage those who are still single to strive for a college degree before marrying.

Merry Christmas!


A Time for Everything


And this was a time for house cleaning! I cleaned out my file cabinet. Lots of old papers that aren't relevant anymore, plus papers that I scanned onto my computer into the digital age.

A young couple we are discipling visited us this weekend just to help us clean out a couple of storerooms. A time for cleaning and a time for discipleship. A time for everything.


Weekend in Capulispungo


Someone will always ask the question: "What's a typical day for you?" They don't realize that "the typical day" doesn't exist. But I can answer what this weekend was like. Saturday we drove 1 hour to Capulispungo for the FLET bible study program, level 2. I met with 7 students from 9 til 1, going over six lessons on the book of Jeremiah. We broke for lunch from 1 to 2 pm, and met for another 2 hours to finish the lessons. Then we drove 1 hour back to Riobamba to rest.
Sunday we returned to Capulispungo, along with two passengers Walter and David who live in Riobamba but return to Capulispungo every weekend. I had 6 students for FLET level 1. Our class is only one hour, as they meet every week. We finished at 11 am, and I helped Faby set up her class for the children at 11:30, played my accordion for a couple of songs, and then started a movie on Joseph for them to watch. As they watched the movie, I met with Neicer, a young boy, who's in FLET level 2, but can't meet any more on Saturdays with the group, because the high school is holding work days every Saturday. So I agreed to meet with him on Sunday during the church service. Faby and I finished about the same time at 1:30 pm. Then we all went up to the second floor to catch the end of the service for the music specials. The kids sang the song they practiced, led by Faby, and accompanied by my accordion. Then the church invited us for lunch in their dining room. We finished around three, and returned to Riobamba.
Is that a typical day? Maybe a typical weekend.



The Real Situation


This weekend we visited both communities, Sablog and Cachisagua, to continue with the FLET bible study. In both, the study was cancelled. In Sablog, because they need to renew their commitment to the study, and in Cachisagua, because they had travelled to Quito the night before for a vigil, and they were all dead tired.
But I'm learning that the informal times can be just as profitable as the formal times. Even thought we didn't have "class," I've learned to spend time developing conversations.
And I learned something very important that I didn't realize before. During the week, few men stay in the community. Most of them spend Monday through Friday working in the city, and come home on weekends. They are thoroughly connected to the city, although they would prefer to spend most of their time in the countryside. On our way back to Riobamba I confirmed this with two other communities. In Herrerías, they all congregate on Sunday for church, and then return to the city to work. We picked up a woman returning to Riobamba from her community Pungul. She still has land and animals there, but lives and works in Riobamba. Where would she prefer to be? In her community.
What is the future of the communities and their churches? I don't know. But we continue to go where God leads.