Closing out a year

Please trust that I haven’t forgotten you and that the long time without news is because there has been plenty to keep me busy. The most striking changes are that a number of families that attended the church plant in Calderón have left Ecuador. Leider and David are in Phoenix, Arizona. Oscar and Katerine with their two daughters are now in Nova Scotia. Most recently, Giovana and Humberto, with three young adult children Julián, Santiago, and Mariana left for Florida. With each family leaving we had a farewell celebration with the progressively smaller Calderon group.

There are a few new families that may be interested in participating, both Colombian and Ecuadorian, but there is still plenty of uncertainty. It leaves me with a sort of void saying goodbye to some of the primary people I have related to over the past year. Maria Helena has returned to Colombia for the holidays, but will be back in January. One of her roles will be to continue with the Calderon church, so together we will work to find a way to invite more families to participate, including Ecuadorian families. One new family has visited but may also depart for a new country before too long. Because we have primarily had Colombian families, the church has taken on the character of being a community of support for refugee families.

I had a good visit to Iowa (and very briefly in Indiana) at the end of October in order to see Beth and my family. Soon after returning I gave a workshop on conflict transformation and conflict styles at a Methodist missionary training. The middle week of November was the Partnership meetings, with the folks from Central Plains Mennonite Conference (including my former pastor Dave Boshart), the Colombian Mennonite Church, and the Mission Network. It was nice to have company as Brady Peters who works with MMN stayed at my apartment. Following the meetings, Patricia Urueña stayed longer to give a ProPaz course on Theology and Gender. December is a busy month for most people here so ProPaz will continue with more courses and workshops starting next year.

I am really excited to receive my family over the holidays: my parents, three sisters and brother-in-law, and my grandpa. They will arrive the 22nd and be here a week. This last week Sheldon has kept me company, a puppy that Giovana and Humberto’s family had been caring for before departing for the States. I am looking for a family to give him a permanent home.

You can see pictures clicking where it says “Photos/fotos.”

Some prayer requests you may want to remember:

  • Pray for additional families for the church in Calderon.
  • Pray for the families who are establishing themselves in new countries, with a new culture and language.
  • Pray for María Helena López and the Ross Richer family as they prepare to arrive to Ecuador in January.
  • Pray for wisdom and conviction for the Mennonite churches in Ecuador in order to faithfully live together in a way that provides a glimpse of God’s kingdom, including in our economic relationships.

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