November 21, 2009

Work & Witness: Building the Kingdom for Eternity

Recently a team of 21 from Calgary, Canada, came to work with and minister to our Indigenous people in Los Treboles del Sur (The Clovers of the South) church in southern Quito.  While teams always come prepared to work on a physical building, it is always amazing to watch God work as He uses the team members to build His Kingdom for all eternity.  Such was the case with this team.

The church needed a floor for the second story, which they will use as their sanctuary.  The team spent the first three days preparing to pour a concrete floor.  Because it had been raining each afternoon, the team left at 6:30 a.m. to try to get the job done before the afternoon.  However, when they arrived, a crane that was supposed to be rented wasn’t available.  Lucho, the Work & Witness worker, and Pastor Miguel left to try to find another crane, even though it is a hard job to find a large piece of equipment at the last minute.  While waiting, some of the team members began praying, and prayer worked as always.  The workers put the cranes in place, started up the concrete mixers, filled the containers with water and began the process to pour the floor!  Forty Ecuadorian brothers and sisters worked alongside the Canadian team, and about 60 people were fed at lunch that day.  By 3:30 pm the work was done and everyone was tired but very pleased.  God held off the rain that afternoon and into the night.  See picture 1.

The team still had a few days to work, so they turned their attention on repairing the landslide area behind the Work & Witness center.  They dug out the area, made large cages to put rocks in and then filled the cages with rocks.  That was a great help to us because rainy season had started and we need didn’t want to lose any more land.  We give a huge thanks to the team for working so hard to have time to help with this much-needed project.  See picture 2.

While the work was going on everyday at the church, another part of the team was holding Vacation Bible School in the afternoons in the small portable chapel beside the new church.  The team focused on teaching scripture verses and acting out stories so that the children would remember them.  The children also received prizes for learning scripture, bringing their Bibles, and bringing a friend.  One little girl, Allison, brought her mom, Grandma and brother to VBS with her.  The entire family helped to teach the stories and songs.  They did not attend church anywhere but were very interested.  The theme was “obedience.”  On the last day the team members presented the plan of salvation with the soccer ball and the evange-cube.  See picture 3 and 4.

On Sunday afternoon the team began the hour trek to the church and it was pouring down rain and even started to hail.  They were wondering if they’d be able to have service at the church since it didn’t have a roof yet.  Once they arrived, they took chairs to the new sanctuary and swept the standing water off the floor.  Soon it was all ready, except there was no electricity.  The children remembered the songs from VBS and sang without any music.  Everyone could hear their voices so clearly.  Luz was the helper/teacher from the church that worked with the team in VBS all week.  She was very shy and wasn’t sure she could tell the stories in front of adults while the children acted them out.  However, she did an outstanding job, especially when she presented the plan of salvation.  The team was so proud of her.

Pray for the Los Treboles del Sur congregation that they will see the need to reach out to help other churches as two Work and Witness teams have helped them.  Pray that they will experience the verse, “It is better to give than to receive”.  Pray for the Work and Witness team as they have returned home and are processing what they have experienced.  Pray that they will be open to what God has for them.

November 06, 2009

God's Plan Is Never Plan B

In September, a team of 18 arrived from Joplin, MO.  While the Fischers were at the airport waiting to pick up the team, they got a telephone call from the District Superintendent informing them that due to complications the team couldn’t work on the planned project, and that he had another project in mind.  So although it was plan B for the team, it turned out NOT to be God’s plan B.  God had a wonderful surprise in store.

The team worked at the District Center in Riobamba for a couple of days and put the roof on the conference center area, poured a ceiling and put up the walls on the guard’s quarters.  An opportunity for evangelism arose with the children as one team member cut hair and others created new hairstyles for the girls using pretty ponytail holders.  Many of the mothers wanted their hair cut also.  (See photo 1.)

While working at the District Center, some of the indigenous church people worked alongside the team.  Then on Sunday night, the team went up into the mountains to worship in the church of the indigenous brothers and sisters that had been helping.  It took an hour to wind along the narrow, dirt roads to get to the church, which was the next project.   They didn’t have a roof so they worshipped in the cold mountain air.  While singing, there was a rainbow in the sky, and everyone could see it because there was no roof.  The church cooked and served llama afterwards to warm the team up.  (See photo 2.)

During the next couple of days, the team helped the church put up a roof.  The indigenous people proved to the team that carrying roofing and blocks is so much easier when you carry them on your back.  Believe it or not, it is!  The roof was finished just in time before it began to hail.  (See photo 3.)

Part of the team had another evangelism opportunity in a little school at the bottom of the mountain.  One lady on the team is a teacher, and the kids in her school had collected a lot of school supplies.  The parents of the indigenous children came to the mountain school and thanked the team over and over for the little bags of supplies, probably worth $2.00 each.

The Fischers found the team to be a joy to work with because they were so flexible, humble and appreciative of everything.  The team saw a need for the floor to be put in the mountain church so they raised over half of the money needed before they left.  When the team returned home, one of the members shared in his church and they took a love offering and raised well over what was needed for the floor, doors and windows.  Praise God!  Furthermore, the little mountain church been praying and waiting for help to put a roof on their building for over 20 years!  The team shared that working in the mountains was exactly what they needed.  Praise God for putting the Joplin District team with the mountain people and for orchestrating plan B.  Everyone was blessed beyond measure.