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September is for diapers

September 2017

Dearest friends and family,

 We have been back in Ecuador for a little over a month now and it has been great. We would like to ask for continued prayers in this process of purchasing the new building for the church. We are so very close to the end, and we thank God that we have been able to get this far and also thank the different people in the process, especially Patricia M. here in Quito who has been doing so much of the footwork and meticulous legal work to get this far. Also we thank God for the wonderful people who have donated funds.

 We would also like to request more prayers as the church continues to work together with the pastoral team that has been in leadership for the past 4 months.  Peter has been working with the Ecuadorian Evangelical Church, which is an indigenous Kichwa speaking group of churches that has worked with MMN and MBM mission workers in the past, as they discern about joining the Quito Mennonite Church conference or developing their own independent but fraternal Mennonite conference.  Peter would also appreciate prayers as he starts teaching some classes on Historiography and Thesis writing at an indigenous seminary in Riobamba.

 Two weeks ago the new team of Journey International volunteers arrived in Quito, they are three young women, Quinn, Shannon and Karina, who will be working here in Ecuador supporting the church for the next 10 months. We have received them in our house and have put them directly to work helping Delicia with a new project.

Making diapers!!

 According to smallfootprintfamily.com an average baby that uses disposable diapers (which is about 90% to 95% of the US, and possibly similar in Ecuador) will use an average of 6-8 disposable diapers a day which will in turn create 2,000 lbs. of garbage by the time the baby is 2 years old. This also means that an average family in Quito would spend about $60 – $85 a month for the first 2 years or so which is a total of more than $1,500.

 The reality is that in Latin America and especially refugee families babies don’t get the luxury of so many diaper changes a day, and families will usually just change diapers a few times a day.  

 This means less diapers in landfills and less money spent potentially than in the U.S., but it also means babies are more likely to get rashes and infections.

 Together with the Refugee Project here at the Quito Mennonite Church we have started a small project to supply cloth reusable diapers to refugee families with babies and small toddlers. The plan is to help families by giving them diapers that they can use over and over again, and even pass on to future siblings or relatives, also keep disposables (the Refugee Project had been giving about 15 disposable diapers a month to families previously) out of the trash, and a third part of our approach has also been to give some small employment to a few refugee women.

 Delicia had started several years ago making cloth diapers and covers for Aliyah with Becky, Peter’s mother, and now has been making some more for Ariana, (since a lot of Aliyah’s small ones had been passed on to other babies). As we delved into this new diaper project we were able to get a donation of waterproof diaper fabric from http://www.diaperfabricdirect.com (Thanks so much!!!) as well as good deals on other supplies such as snaps and elastic. The cotton diaper cloth was purchased locally and an Afghani refugee women was hired to sew 240 of those diapers, and another Afghani refugee was hired to sew several inserts. Delicia has been working with the Journey International team and with two women from the church to sew the diaper covers. Delicia was able to give the first set of diapers and covers and the mother was very excited to receive the diapers for her little one.

We appreciate your continued prayers for our work here in Ecuador and for the church.
Peter, Delicia, Aliyah and Ariana

God bless

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School supplies for refugee children!!

The Refugee Project of the Quito Mennonite church every year helps refugee children with school supplies, this year they were able to help twice as many children go to school because of many generous donations. Thank You!!

JI Video

Hello,

Here is a video we did of the Journey International team we had in Ecuador.

Peter
God bless

Prayer request

Hello all,
I wanted to share a prayer request:
A friend of ours, Michael J. Sharp, that we did MCC orientation with back in 2012 and later met up with while we were in Africa has been kidnapped. He has been working as a UN official in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We’d ask to please share this prayer request. Here are a few articles on about what happened.
https://themennonite.org/daily-news/united-nations-worker-mennonite-school-grad-kidnapped-drc/
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/united-nations-workers-kidnapped-drc-170313155946024.html
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/american-michael-sharp-kidnapped-democratic-republic-congo-n733176

Growing family

Dearest Friends and Family,
Last week, on Thursday at 10:45 God brought Ariana Naomi Wigginton Bravo into this world. She is a wonderful bit of God’s Kingdom that we are enjoying. Aliyah is really excited about having her baby, as she calls her.  
We appreciate your prayers and thoughts.
Kindly
Peter and Delicia 

God bless

Relying on God

We are constantly reminded of the need and reality of having God’s continued presence in our lives. I would first like to share some from Pastor Luis’ sermon from a few Sundays back and then we have a list of prayer requests.

Jesus asked that Peter leave the work and the way of life that he was used to. Peter and the other disciples could survive on their own, they had regular day jobs, if you will, and now Jesus had asked them to “follow me.” Jesus in his wandering and teaching did not rely on his own work as the disciples had, but instead relied on God and those around him. Mathew 4:18 Tells us: leave your families your way of life, follow me.

Here in Ecuador we see how we must rely on God. We also rely on all of your prayers and support from the different families and churches. Thank you.

We haven’t commented through this medium about certain political issues that are going on in the US. But last week we found out that two Colombian refugee families here; that have been going to the Mennonite church in Quito were supposed to leave for the U.S. shortly, to be resettled as refugees, since they have small children and have been fleeing violence in Colombia. They were called up by the UNHCR (UN High Commission on Refugees) telling them that the process for their resettlement had been post-poned, they would be in touch. This is very terrifying and heart wrenching since they are in real danger, last night (Friday, Feb. 3) with the court order from Seattle, the processes for refugees are supposed to continue as they were before Jan. 27. But we shall see how quickly UNHCR and the State Department will be able to get the process going again and we hope an pray that the process for refugees, from around the world, continues swiftly and safely.

The church here is still in a transitional phase. We ask for prayers that this process is a learning and growing process and that it will make the church stronger.

The Journey International volunteers are about halfway through their time here as volunteers. We recently had a retreat for them. We are very thankful for their great attitudes and hearts for service. We pray the rest of their time here is even more exciting for their work. Here they are in a photo at the Basilica in Quito with Sharon N., their supervisor who was visiting them from the US.

The Ross-Richer family has returned to Ecuador after a small delay due to medical reasons, they are all healthy now and we pray for continued good health for them. They are on their third semester in the Amazon and we pray for strengthening relationships with the different churches and communities they work with. 


Our family has had colds recently so we pray for good health, especially for Aliyah, and we want to start her in pre-school, so we pray that we find an adequate school and that that transition goes well.
Thank you all for your support. Please feel free to contacting us, we enjoy having conversations.
Kindly,

Peter, Delicia and Aliyah

God bless

Season of thanks

Dear Family and Friends,
As the year draws to a close we’d like to give some thanks:
First of all to our friends and family for their constant support. We are very aware of the fact that without the support from churches, friends, family, and the Central Plains Conference of churches we wouldn’t be able to be here working and serving. Next week a great friend and support to us will be returning to her home in Colombia. Maria Helena Lopez has served the Ecuadorian Mennonite church for more than 2 years. She has focused a lot of her work in the Calderón Church plant but has also served and supported many refugee families and several of the Quito Church projects, including being a constant support for Delicia in the Vida Juvenil project.
Maria Helena has really enjoyed her time here in Ecuador. You can hear some of her sharing in the video that we put together earlier this year about the Ecuador Partnership. One of the initiatives that Maria Helena had this past year was supporting regular women’s meetings where women from the church along with women who have been a part of the refugee program attend. I, Peter, had the pleasure of being a part of a few of these monthly meetings; Maria Helena had noticed that I really enjoy baking and asked if I could give a small workshop on how to make pizza for one of the women’s meetings. It was a great success, especially when we got the oven working after many failed attempts. Later, when my parents came to visit, Maria Helena told my mother how I had mentioned her many times during the chat on pizza making. And it is very true, without my mother’s coaching, mostly via email and skype, I would be making some very poor pizza. This past month Maria Helena asked us again. We decided to make Christmas cookies and talked about high altitude baking and icing making. These meetings allowed us to meet a family from Colombia who are currently supporting themselves making cupcakes to sell to school kids during their recess time.  We went and visited them and chatted about high altitude baking and got to know their entire family. Maria Helena will surely be missed.
This month we are also thankful to MCC for approving the support of our Vida Juvenil project next year. We are hoping to start a reading club program and a math competition and MCC’s support will be vital in the implementation of these programs. 
Lastly we are thankful for a new house. We just moved into a new place that has no stairs to climb up. Our moving-in process is almost complete and we will be ready to celebrate Christmas and New Year in our new home.
We appreciate your continued prayers and support. Please pray for the church in their process of developing their pastoral support team and also as the church and the partnership adjust and transition as Pastor Luis Tapia completes his term as pastor in February.
Kindly,
Delicia, Peter and Aliyah

God bless
*Photos by Daniela Sanchez

Pizza instruction

Doris helping out with the pizza


María Helena

Prayers / Oraciones

Dearest friends and family,

We have a small prayer request on behalf of a friend from church. We recently found out that he has pneumonia, and Jennifer and Daniel from the project were able to take him to the hospital a week ago, and he has been there since then. Today he has gotten worried because they have told him if he does not improve until tomorrow they will have to put him on a respirator with a tube down his throat. Please keep him in your prayers.

Tenemos una pequeña petición de oración para un amigo de la iglesia. Recientemente hemos descubierto que tiene neumonía, y Jennifer y Daniel del proyecto pudieron llevarlo al hospital hace una semana, y él ha estado allí desde entonces. Hoy día está muy angustiado porque le han dicho que si no mejora hasta mañana van a tener que entubarlo a un respirador. Por favor, manténgalo en sus oraciones.

Thanks, Peter and Delicia

Picture: Daniela Sanchez

September newsletter

Hello friends and family,

We’ve had a very active last few months.  We had a fantastic Vacation bible School week at Vida  Juvenil and many different meetings and activities at church.  We have been participating in several Evangelical Indigenous Federation meetings (more on this below).  In addition we have had several friends and family members visit, some expected and others not as much (which makes it even more wonderful).

Aliyah is growing with zero sign of slowing down and is very serious about letting everyone with whom she speaks with know that she is from Quito, not from Bolivia or USA. She also participated a decent amount during the vacation bible school and all the kids know her very well. We had a great time with crafts, bible stories, games. Making pizza was just as big of a hit as it was last year. We feel like we are truly getting to know the kids in the neighborhood and plenty of parents are getting to know us as well.

We have been working with the FEINE, the Federation of Evangelical Indigenous Churches in Ecuador, as they work on a long time dream of theirs of developing a curriculum of Evangelical Indigenous education, from preschool all the way to college.   We ask for prayers as we work with the pastors on this project and for guidance and support for the future of it. We have been very pleased that Clever Mashiant, from the Amazon region has been involved in the entire process and is very excited about, this is great since in the past indigenous groups and pastors from the Amazon have felt ignored in the past and the FEINE leadership has expressed that they will try their best to include them in future projects and this has been a great opportunity.

We have also received three Journey International volunteers from the States this month and have been doing orientation with them. We pray for smooth transitions and open minds and hearts for all people involved. This is bound to be a fantastic experience for this young people and for the church as well.

Peter, Delicia and AliyahDSC_0245.jpeg

World situation, Ecuador reality

People leaving. Here in Quito there seems to be a trend at the church, from my understanding it has been going on for many years. Since much of the church community is transient, particularly the refugees, there is a lot of people coming and going, some people stick around for several years, others for only a few months. Besides the refugees there are also volunteers who come from north America or Colombia who come for a few years or months to help and then move on to other things. The presence of all these people is later sorely missed.

Please pray for the church and for people who move on, we would especially pray for a terrifying trend that we have come across, many people, in their desperate attempts to get to the US (from many different places, Colombia, Cuba, the Middle East and Africa) try using Ecuador as a starting point, they come here first to see if they can obtain a refugee asylum visa for the US or Canada and if that doesn’t work they then try the terrifying journey via land to the US through Central America. This has happened in the past with many different people from Latin America, but the trials of the journey are well documented: 80% of Central American women who attempt to cros in the US via Mexico are raped (Huffington post article). According to a Smithsonian Magazine article since 1998 to 2014 more than 6,000 people have died attempting to cross the boarding into the US via Mexico. According to the UNHCR this year we have reached the highest level of displaced people worldwide at 65.3 million (that’s like combining all the population of the two most populous states in the US, California and Texas, together) and have 21.3 million refugees, over half of these people are under the age of 18. Currently there are around 50,000 refugees here in Ecuador.

I will end with repeating our requests for prayers for the church and migrants around the world.