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.
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
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
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
*Photos by Daniela Sanchez
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
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 Aliyah
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.
Here are two interesting articles, that at least at first glance aren’t very Ecuador related.
First things first, we have our visas all sorted out so now are legal non-immigrant residents in Ecuador which is great fun.
I have been working on preparing a class/workshop covering the mission work the Mennonite team did in the Argentine Chaco with indigenous churches, especially focusing on sections of the book “Mission Without Conquest” written by the fraternal Chaco workers Willis Horst, Ute Mueller-Eckhardt and Frank Paul. I’ll be giving the class later next month most likely but will also include a general (very general) history of mission work with indigenous peoples starting from the Doctrine of Discovery from the 15th century. School is winding down here so our work with the after school program in Jardines del Inca will also slow down a bit, but we are also preparing for some possible young adult volunteers that might be coming for about 10 months to work with the Refugee Project and other projects starting in September.
We still appreciate prayers and thoughts as we work along side the Mennonite Church and its new projects and as it works through its evaluation of mission, vision and planning.
Peter, Delicia and Aliyah
Dearest friends and family,
A few weeks ago I posted right before I had gone down with David Shenk and Don Jorge to Portoviejo. Our trip went well and David spent almost two weeks down in the effected areas. You can read some about David’s experience here.
I spent a night in Portoviejo and above are a few images from the trip. We visited a few people from the local Mennonite church whom had had their homes/businesses destroyed. One lady’s home had fallen on top of her music store business and she lost a lot of her merchandise, along with the entire building. Another women was staying in a camp where the airport used to be, she was worried about her daughters’ safety and was hoping to move out of the camp as soon as possible. There are an infinite amount of other stories each one more devastating than the last.
David worked together with the folks from the Evangelical Mennonite church on the coast to develop a project to present to MCC, most likely in psychological support and reconstruction. We are planning on working together with MCC and the churches to work along side both of these possible initiatives.
From what we’ve heard from people who have just recently been on the coast and on the news, there is still much to be done. There are more than 300,000 people living in makeshift shelters since they lost their homes. In the most effected areas around Pedernales, Muisne and Jamas, there is still little food and basic items to survive and obviously no economy what so ever. When I was in Portoviejo, there were only certain parts of town that were severely destroyed, mostly downtown, but the rest of town businesses were starting to open back up and trying to get things back together. One large need, that we hope to work with, is supporting children and the psychological trauma recovery, the refugee project here has experience in that area and we will be coordinating with MCC to have a focused effort in that area.
Please continue to pray for Ecuador.
Peter, Delicia and Aliyah.