In February, we moved to the small fishing village of Pacoche. The transition from Quito to our new home was an emotional time, with our daughter and her family moving back to the states and the physical challenge to relocate our belongings. We are grateful for the strength and protection the Lord gave us during this time.
It didn’t take long for our unique houseguests to make their appearance. We spotted the first one climbing up the shower curtain and Susan felt another one crawling on her back after getting dressed. She assumed one of the big cockroaches had made its way into her shirt. She reached back, grabbed it and tossed it down. What could be worse than a giant cockroach? A scorpion! We are grateful she was not stung. We now shake out our clothes before we put them on; it makes us ponder daily what we need to shake out of our life. Flashlights are also important for us to have in the dark to see if our houseguest are running around. It reminds us how important the Light of this World is to us too.
Another houseguest that visits daily is, El Caminante, the walker. We have learned that in the country you always need to plan for El Caminante to show up. Therefore, you always prepare enough food for one extra person. Well, in the home of Pastor Fabian and Graciela, they always have someone extra at the table and usually more. It is neat to watch people give a little off their plate to feed El Caminante.I talked with Unikael, an El Caminante, after a meal and he shared that he liked music. He had recently written a song and his Bible readings were the catalyst for the words. He was happy to sing the song for me and his singing touched my heart. I shared that he has a gift for music and encouraged him to keep studying God’s Word and writing songs. Unikael is new to the youth group, but is a regular at many activities and has been actively inviting his extended family to church.
It would take several pages for us to share all that we’ve experience the last few months. We hope the following “bits and pics” give you an idea of what God is doing here in Ecuador. He is so Good and Faithful.
Our friends, Tim and Ann, made another trip to Pacoche and we are grateful for how they served us and the community. Susan is especially thankful for the kitchen cabinets they built. Their friend, Pastor Steve, also came from the states and he is passionate for reaching out to those who struggle with drugs and alcohol. We spent time at homes, drug clinics and soccer fields encouraging people to seek Him who can give them freedom, peace, and eternal life. Pastor Steve’s personal testimony is about how Jesus Christ can change a life, even when people think it is impossible.
What would you think if you found out when you were an adult that your name is not your name? That happened to a lady here in Pacoche. She is one of the women that signed up for the new adult education program. She cannot read or write and has always signed documents with her fingerprint. We are excited for all the people that are signing up for the program. A ministry in Quito is providing the materials and approved by the Ecuadorian Government to provide a certificate that is similar to a GED when they pass the final exam.
Pacoche Kids Club continues to be a spirited time with the kids and moms. Susan continues to do an awesome job preparing materials. We are very grateful to everyone who provides crafts and other materials.
Oyambrillo Kids and Mom’s Clubs are doing well too. Pastor Jose’s Church has been reaching out to the nearby community. It all started with the Kids and now there is a Mom’s group that gathers at the same time. It is fun to see the women learning, sharing and laughing too. Teresa never misses an opportunity to include the women.
Pacoche Ladies program had a couple of visiting teams this past month. A few testimonies were shared by the team members that were impactful and brought tears to many eyes. Graciela has a tender heart for the women.
Home visits can be an emotional and heart touching time. They can also be a fun, encouraging and challenging time. Over the past few months, God has been using teams and individuals to make a difference in families’ lives. We have loved those special moments in both Quito and Pacoche.
Teams have come and served and we loved all that happened. Many old relationships rekindled and new ones cultivated. You just have to come and serve with us some time to see lives impacted, both spiritually and physically. It was one crazy night when it was time to say good-bye to the Youth Team that came to serve in Pacoche. We planned for it all to happen during the scheduled Prayer and Praise time. Well, it started pouring down rain, the creeks swelled in Pacoche. Paul had to tow a truck to the church because it stalled out going through the creek. Nevertheless, the people in Pacoche said, “we have to go say good-bye to the team”. So, we pulled out the raincoats and plastic and loaded up Pastor Fabian’s and Paul’s trucks to the limit and headed to San Lorenzo. What a special time that crazy night turned out to be.
The workers at the Quito trash transfer station are always a delight to serve. I often wonder if I would be able to smile and laugh like them if I had their job of digging through the city’s trash for a living.
Maria Agustina is young woman that many of you know. She came and stayed with us for about a month. She enjoyed seeing some of her old friends in Quito, Manta, and Pacoche. She enjoyed singing at Casa de Dios and playing soccer with the Girls Team during a weekend soccer tournament. Please pray for her and Amy who is teaching and loving her every day. Both of them are facing challenges and need some extra prayers.
We had the privilege of being invited to Erwin’s house for his graduation dinner, a simple meal of BBQ Goat and Green Bananas. We had a great time with His family, Pastor Fabians Family, and a friend that played the guitar as we sang for a couple of hours. He is a youth that has been attending the tutoring and scholarship program in Pacoche. He is excited about the possibility of getting to go to University. He passed the entrance exam and now we just have to figure out some financial details.
We had fun celebrating Susan’s 60th birthday with our Ecuadorian Family. They always do things to make it a special day.