July 2018

Change your plans!


We arrive Sunday 9:30am at Cachisagua. We have prepared a couple of days for our meetings: 9am - 11am planning for the VBS program two weeks away; 11am - 1pm scheduled monthly meeting for the FLET bible study. As soon as we arrived the pastor, Ruben, tells us, “We can’t have the meetings. First of all, a member of the community passed away this morning at 5am and we have to help with the funeral. Plus, two church members are celebrating their high school graduations, at different homes!”


How would you react? If I had just arrived from the US, I would have flipped. But after working in the community for many years now, my reaction was, “Fine. What do you want us to do?” Mentally, I cancelled all our plans, and joined in the action. First we visited the home of Mayra, one of the high school graduates, and helped set up chairs and install the sound system. Beside the house, some women were cooking up lunch.


After about half an hour, the program started. A pastor from somewhere moderated with a natural, casual manner. First an opening prayer, and then some singing. He had a great voice. Rare in these parts. Of course, the international speaker, (Ha!), me, gets asked to give the message. Since we had attended another graduation in Capulispungo a week before, I just gave the same message.


The second half of the program contained words from the family, friends, pastor, plus special music from anyone who wanted to participate. Then folks formed a line to congratulate Mayra. In this culture, when you “congratulate” someone, it is with a gift or some money. Finally, the graduate shared her thoughts and thanks. We held a special prayer for her, and ended around 12:30pm. Abundant food followed as usual and always in these events.


At 1:00 we left for another house, where Luis was celebrating his graduation. They had already finished the program and were handing out the food. I wasn't very excited about repeating lunch, but many of the others, who had attended Mayra’s celebration, were already there enjoying a second lunch.


After all, we did hold our planning program at 2:30pm in the church. (The FLET meeting was obviously postponed for another date.) We are helping them learn how to plan and execute a program for children, which included singing, games, puppets, and drama. The VBS date is in two weeks. We’ll see how they do, but what’s important is how they are eager to learn.


I’m learning to be flexible, and not get bent out of shape when things don’t happen as planned. Trust God, and let Him do His work in His time.

(We left for home at 5pm. They still were planning to attend the funeral that night. Wow!)

Family Reunion


We celebrated a wonderful family reunion in our home in El Tingo with food and games!

Playing uno.


"Cross four"


Modern day "charades" with an iphone.





And of course "Ping-pong" round robin style.


Understanding questions


I left a couple of reference books on the table. When I returned to the classroom, they were looking up a map, in one of the books, to see where Noah's ark had come to rest. I consider that success! When students begin to investigate on their own. We've been together four years now in Capulispungo. They are now in the FLET program at the second level. We had a good class! We are now able to discuss issues and draw conclusions together. One student, Manuel Lema, is always asking questions. I like that. When we first started, no one would ask anything. Now we spend most of the class time working on questions. We went over Genesis 1-11. My challenge is not to explain, but to get them to understand. Again, success! They understood that Genesis 1-11 was not written to explain everything and answer all our questions, but it was written to answer very specific questions at the time. Questions like: "Where did we come from?" "Why is there evil in the world?" "Why are there so many different languages?" "How did the human race survive the flood?" etc.

And to finish off the day, after talking about Noah, the flood, and God's promise, we witnessed a full rainbow in the afternoon!


"Zapatero a tus zapatos"


So what's a good translation for "Zapatero a tus zapatos?" We use the phrase often in Spanish. The literal translations is "A shoemaker should make shoes." A dynamic translation might be "Stick to what you know."

Last year, for my father's funeral, I spent some time with my brother Dubside, for whom I credit the following. He's spent a good deal of time with the Greenland folk, a very different culture, learning and teaching kayak rolling. As far as teaching in another culture he shared three points: 1) Are you an expert in the field? 2) Do you understand their context? and 3) Are they asking you for help?

I find those points very relevant to our work with the Quichua. Number one, we are discovering that you should stick to what you know. "Zapatero a tus zapatos." Faby and I have lots of experience and knowledge in teaching the Bible and working with churches. So that's what we do. We enjoy it and do it well. In the photos we are: 1) teaching the Bible FLET program in Sablog; 2) preparing Sunday school teachers in Cachisagua; and 3) again working with FLET in Cachisagua.

Do we understand their context? That's a continual process, but I think we have made great progress. Each time we hold a class or workshop, we are not only the teachers, but students as well, continually learning from them: how they think, how they live, what are their real needs.

As for the third point, we only go where we are invited. Thankfully, we have more invitations than we can handle. But still, we don't just visit a community because we want to go there. We wait until a friend or contact invites us to come and help them.

After years spent in the communities, we are discovering another of their needs: sources of income. The majority are looking for work in the cities, because small agriculture is no longer profitable. To stay in their communities, they need to produce and sell in a completely different way. Sadly, this is not our forte. "Zapateros a tus zapatos." But Luis Moya, who is part of our Foundation, works in this area. So we are looking to him to help in this area. We could use more like him.

Usually we interpret and apply "The harvest is plentiful" to winning souls for Christ. In our case I apply it to the great need the Quichuas have for learning how to survive in a new world. There is much to do to help them. We could use more help.



Experiencing Ecuador


Our two nieces, Abby and Liza, travelled with us their second week here, and enjoyed the beauty of Ecuador: good food, lizards at the beach, and butterflies in Mindo. We ended the week with a youth retreat in Ambato, held in a local park.