Wednesday, June 10, 2009

#10 From Ecuador: Email from leader that stayed in Quito

Hi Everyone,

Well, it took me longer that expected, but here is my first update from Ecuador. I got here Saturday night and some of the folks from Carmen Bajo were waiting for me. It was Sylvia and her family, my precious friends from the famous hillside at Carmen Bajo. They had walked there to meet me, a three hour walk. The level of commitment and love here never ceases to amaze me. Katty and a few members from our group were there to pick me up, so we gave Sylvia´s family a ride back to their neighborhood. In Latin America, you can ALWAYS squeeze five more people into a van. No problem.

Sunday, we attended church at Carmen. The church was bursting at the seems, Glory to God! This building that we broke ground for only two years ago now needs to be expanded to hold more people. The plan to start building up on it this summer (up is the only place to go in Quito). I think they want us to help with that project next summer. We had a precious time of worship with them. When some of our kids could see that there would not be enough communion cups, they quickly started taking one to share with someone else so that everyone would be served. That is how this group has worked. I cannot say enough about the willing attitudes and selfless behavior.

We all worked very hard yesterday leveling ground and renovating the playground here at Elohim. Last night we madly scrambled to get the teams ready for El Coca and Santo Domingo. They each went their own ways early this morning. Some of the girls on the El Coca team were a little unnerved to find out that we had misunderstood the need for the lice shampoo. It was actually for our team to use at the end of each day, not for treating the locals. Needless to say, this took a little time for adjustment. I have to admit kind of a sick enjoyment in watching their initial reactions. Everyone was able to adjust to the idea of holding and loving a child with lice as just as worthy and precious and in need of love as one without lice. I think that they are going to have the experience of their lives. From what I understand, the poverty there is much worse that it is here in Quito, and there are places here that are pretty extreme to those of us who have never known it. They will be helping to install a sewage system and a new well with a storage tank for clean water access.

The Santo Domingo team will remove damaged sections from the soccer court (it is concrete) and the workmen there will lay new. They have a Saturday morning evangelistic soccer program there that reaches far into the surrounding neighborhoods. I like that Elohim´s strategy is to reach children first and have the families follow. This way they raise up a generation of kids to continue the work. It is a very long term vision, but it seems to be very effective. We have heard of many of the kids that have come through the foundation who either have already attended seminary, are there now, or plan to attend. They come out with a vision to become part of the work. Alejandro´s vision of 100 pastors, 100 churches across Ecuador is developing before our very eyes. They now have church plants in two more places north of Quito, one in Pesillo and one in Corazon. Yes, they want us to send teams there next year. What a privilege to be a part of this!

We did hear from both the El Coca and Santo Domingo teams from their destinations, and they are safe and sound and working well already.

Teams 3 and 4 worked hard again here at Elohim again today. The guys installed the playground equipment that had been renovated, and the girls painted and painted and painted. We are covering the existing puke green color with a nice cream color. It takes a coat of primer and then the real paint, and it is a very large building, so I think it will take us all week. We did VBS for 51 kids today, and it was a kick. Tomorrow we will have more, and Katty says that she expects 200 by Thursday. Katty is a master with children. She can take a group that is hard to reach and motivate, and engage them completely for hours. She treats each one as though they were her own. What a gift. We are all learning so much.

Well let me assure you that everyone is just fine and there is no need to worry. This group is in the hands of God, and I can see it in their joy. I am so blessed to be here! Thank you all so much for your love and support!

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