New wells

We would like to thank everyone for their gracious prayers for this past while. It has been difficult for our entire family, but Ariana is doing much better, so this also means the rest of us are getting along better also.

I have been thinking of words to a song that I have been learning:

En ti confiaré

Tú promesa sigue en pie

Tú eres fiel

Confiado andaré

En tus manos estaré

Siempre has sido fiel

I will trust you

Your promise still stands

You are faithful

I will walk confidently

I will be in your hands

You have always been faithful

I would like to thank Bruce Yoder for the inspiration of the following topic along with Keith and Gretchen Kingsley and the entire Northern Chaco Mission Network team, including my parents.

At Mission Seminar last year Bruce Yoder shared about his work and about previous Mennonite Missionaries in West Africa. He shared a story in particular about an African Independent Church bishop who pushed Bruce on the history of the Mennonite Missionaries. You see the missionaries just supported the local church but never set up a Mennonite denomination. After many years the Bishop confronted Bruce by saying “Why did you never let us be a part of you?” He shares that this took him aback slightly. But then as he reflected on it he realized that even when Missionaries do not “impose” a denomination or particular way of worshipping or believing, the outsider is still “imposing” or being imperial by not offering those things.

I’d like to quote part of an article in the Mennonite that Keith wrote about 7 years ago. He mentions a “book by Gustavo Gutierrez, We Drink from our own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People.” Then Keith goes on to say “When I finally read it, the book troubled me, though not because of its themes, which largely confirmed and nourished my Anabaptist faith.

Written nearly 30 years ago by a Peruvian priest, its point continues to be an important one, that the emerging spirituality among the poor of Latin America is life giving because they are “drinking from their own wells.” Furthermore, the author contends that this new spiritual dynamic holds out life, salvation even, to those of us who drink from other wells, other spiritual traditions.

The Mission Network in all of its years in Northern Argentina never created an Anabaptist church. The way my mother tells the story, Albert and Lois Buckwalter actually started off with a Mennonite church but things weren’t going so well, so they decided to take a more hands off approach walking alongside the indigenous churches. That model continued while my parents were in the Chaco and continues to this day.

A model with some similarities happened here in central Ecuador many years ago and out of this came a new Mennonite conference. Earlier this year the Mennonite Church of Ecuador (Iglesia Menonita de Ecuador or IME) was formed from about 8 indigenous and mestizo congregations from the Andean and Coastal region of the country. One of the longest serving pastors, Jose Manuel Guaman, tells a story of one of the first missionaries. In the 70s and 80s a Canadian Mennonite named Henry Klassen worked with Avant Ministries (formerly Gospel Missionary Union). He taught and served in a newly formed mission school and also planted many churches. Jose says that he was one of the first pastors that was ordained since he knew how to read. Henry Klassen wasn’t a pastor, he was a farmer. But to this day Jose Manuel remembers how Klassen ordained other indigenous pastors. “Like Conrad Grebel, George Blaurock and Felix Manz, none of them were pastors but they ordained each other.”

I have also become good friends with another leader in the new Mennonite conference, Julian Guaman. He is a scholar and a teacher. He is truly in love with Anabaptism and what it has in store for his church, his people and his country. He has fond memories of Henry Klassen although Julian only knew him when Julian was young. He appreciated the work that Klassen left behind, but always wondered why a Mennonite church or denomination was never formed. Later, when Jose Manuel Guaman was part of the Indigenous Evangelical Church Federation (now FEINE), he invited the Mission Board to support theological education. This is when Mauricio and Sarah Chenlo came to work in Ecuador. Julian was one of several Kichwa young adults that were able to study theology and eventually get scholarships to finish their studies at the Latin American Seminary in Costa Rica. He is still in contact with Mauricio and that is how I was able to get in touch with Julian. Later on when the Mission Network sent Cesar and Patricia to continue working with Theological Education, Julian worked with them several times giving classes. Eventually Cesar and Patricia’s work led them to decide to start a Mennonite church in the capital. Today we walk alongside this church.

Several weeks ago when Cesar and Patricia were here in Quito for the inauguration of the new church building Julian asked Cesar, “why did you never let us become a part of your new Mennonite church conference?”


Now when I invited Julian over to chat and have some tea, he beams that they have finally started their own Mennonite Conference. He is also excited because his daughter has been accepted at Goshen and he hopes that he can fundraise enough funds so that she will be able to attend.

Recently, at the end of a workshop that I was giving on Anabaptism using Palmer Becker’s booklets, Jose Manuel told me that finally the Mennonite Mission has come to our church. I thought, well the Mission has been here since you invited them in 1989, but I see how he feels this is special. They actually have a Mennonite church and we are happily participating with them.

Through all of this there are many who are drinking from each others wells: the Mennonites in Quito, and in Colombia (the Colombian Church is the mother church of the Quito Church) and the Canadians who sent Henry Klassen, (who apparently left an Anabaptist seed through much of Chimborazo province in the central Andes). The Evangelical Mennonite Conference on the Ecuadorian Coast and the Central Plains Mennonite Conference who first sent Mauricio and Sarah, and then supported Cesar and Patricia and now our family, the churches in the Chaco, and now also in the Ecuadorian Rainforest and in Indiana, are all drinking from each others wells. Here in Ecuador there is a well that is springing forth with new lively water, excited to share in their indigenous Anabaptist faith with the Anabaptist family they have just become a part of.

We all should trust God and know that God’s promise still stands and we can walk confidently, and embrace these new congregations as our own, knowing that God never failed us.



Dearest friends and family,

We just wanted to let everyone know that we are traveling to the U.S. for a week and a half and ask for prayers for travel graces and the different things we need to get done in the US.

Thanks and God bless

Peter, Delicia, Aliyah and Ariana

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 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 (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

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


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

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.

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.
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.

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.
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