June 2018

Nieces in Capulispungo


Abby and Liza, our nieces, came for a two week visit, and spent their first weekend in a youth retreat in Capulispungo.




Doing theology in Capulispungo


Manuel asked the question, "Where was the cloud in the desert?" That started a discussion about God and clouds. I formulated new questions: "Can God represent himself as a cloud?" "Where in the bible did God reveal himself in a cloud?" That led to a discussion about God controlling natural phenomena. What I admired the most was that the best questions came from the student with the least formal education. My theory is that the best persons for doing indigenous theology are those least influenced by western theology. Then we discussed their worldview: "Do they see God controlling their crops, from sowing to reaping?" Of course they gave a positive answer. Then I asked, "Do your worship services (your liturgy) reflect your rural, agricultural life?" The answer was negative. The rest we left for a future discussion, but the seed was planted. Some day they need to develop a theology that fits their worldview.


Question for thought: as Faby leads a Sunday school class for children, what worldview will they develop as they grow up in a changing and migrating world?


Starting a new project


We've learned over the years that churches want workshops and conferences, but that these don't give lasting results. So we've opted to work on developing projects. These are harder to start, because the church has to understand that a project involves commitment to a series of workshops, to homework, to faithful attendance, and to putting what they learn into practice in the church. So this Sunday Faby talked with the teachers of the Sunday school about training them over a period of time. Ten people attended, but at the end when we asked how many would commit themselves to the project, only six said, "yes." But that's a good start. Our plan is to visit Cachisagua once a month. Alan leads the bible program FLET, and at the same time Faby will work with teachers. God is teaching us as well as teaching them.


More than FLET


Again, there were only five students on Saturday for the FLET bible program. But I discovered something more. Beside the church, in a small brick “house” (if you can call it that), I have often heard machinery at work. So on this visit, I decided to investigate.

I found a woman and a young man running a large, industrial loom. Pretty impressive! Who would imagine something like that in the rural mountains! (I didn’t take a picture out of respect, since I had never met them before, and they didn’t know me.) The woman then showed me three more machines! Wow!

After our bible study, I returned to meet the woman’s husband, and we talked a while about his industry. Over the years he has developed this business of buying thread and weaving fabric on his machines. He explained to me the process of weaving the fabric, then cleaning off the lint, then ironing and folding it.

As we talked, three of them, he and his wife and daughter, were feeding the cloth into a very simple iron press. He hopes to save enough money to buy a more modern press for ironing the cloth. He would like to buy more modern looms, but the cost is way beyond his possibilities. (Who or what bank would lend him twenty thousand?)

But I learned something that shocked me. I asked him, “So are you preparing your heirs for when they take over this great business?” He answered, “Only one son, helping me here, is interested in making and selling fabric. The other two prefer to carry sacks of potatoes at the market.” I grieved. Two sons with no desire to improve their lives. At least one wants to stay out of poverty.

I remember Ephesians 4:23 - “to be made new in the attitude of your minds.” The change begins there, whether it’s weaving fabric or studying the bible. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). We all need a Christ-given vision for our lives.