June 25, 2010

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Sod Hut Church:

Church Women Singing for the Team:

A team of 17 youth and sponsors from Grand Rapids, Michigan, recently came to Ecuador to work in the jungle town of Santa Elena.  The indigenous congregation of about 60, which mostly spoke Quichua, was excited to receive this team as they have been meeting in a sod hut for the past two years.  Every day the team drove an hour up into the mountains to reach the site of the church.  They worked at an elevation of 11-12,000 feet each day surrounded by the beauty of the Andes Mountains.  The drive was educational as they observed the nationals herding sheep, planting food, walking to school, tending to their cattle, and walking from one place to another.  The nationals‘ lives required much work and many sacrifices.

On Sunday night, when the team first arrived, they crowded into the hut and had a church service.  The nationals and the team share songs with each other, and Pastor Phil from Grand Rapids shared a devotion.

Church with roof (the walls were there when the team arrived):

It took three days to finish building the roof.  While some of the group worked on the church, the other half of the group prepared for Bible School held everyday around 3:00.  The team taught active songs in Spanish, played relay games outside, presented puppets with skits, and always had a craft for them to do.  The children especially enjoyed the puppets, which were new to them.

The children and their crafts:

The church people from the village didn’t have a lot that they were able to share but they wanted to show their gratitude to the team.  On the last day they cooked a meal of potatoes, aves (a large meaty bean), and cuy (guinea pig) for lunch.

On the last day the church people gathered with the team to dedicate the church building.  Everyone stood inside and held hands.  Words of thanks and gratitude were spoken to each other, and it was immediately a moment the team would cherish for years to come.

On the last night team members testified that these experiences will shape their lives from here on out.  As we continue to remember the church people of Santa Elena, we welcome you to join us in prayer.  Also, we need to remember and pray for the youth members from Grand Rapids that they would keep seeking the Lord daily.