January 31, 2023
Dear Family of Friends,
The New Year is upon us. . . almost a month over and we have been back in Ecuador a week. Our first few days were spent in Quito where we purchased our wares for this year’s fundraisers.
All is well at the clinic. . . and a highlight is that Michael, one of our water technicians, has finally taken the step to start attending Bible study with his wife!
We have previously jostled with making morning devotions mandatory. . . We have tried various ways and about 2+ years ago it was decided that everyone is to attend 8am devotions Monday through Thursday. Each Friday they take turns preparing a devotion. . . and patients wait for us to finish. What blesses my heart when we are here is the comments and dialog after the devotional reading which is taken from “En Contacto” that is faithfully provided over a decade plus by Atlanta, Georgia based “In Touch Ministries.” (You have probably heard me mention this previously). I can see The Spirit giving us a nudge (or ‘push’) with our devotions decision on everyone attending morning devotions.
Venezuelans greeted by Pastor Gabriel
Pastor Gabriel (who replaced Pastor Gruezo after his untimely departure) is a quiet man who has a car electronics repair shop at the end of the street in front of his home. The Venezuelans that have moved into the community have not been welcomed with open arms by the community. I nearly fell over when I saw that Pastor Gabriel had invited Venezuelans to a music project at the church. There must have been 20 families attending! Thanks to Cherry Creek Pres, Pastor Gabriel was able to give a Bible to anyone not having one. I am amazed at this incredible ‘ripple’ effect of The Spirit!
And one other development is ‘sponsored children.’ This is similar to the “Compassion” program only it is not from people outside of Ecuador, it is individuals in the church here that are willing and able to mentor a child whose parents aren’t involved in the church. In fact, 5 pastors met yesterday to be introduced to mentoring in their individual congregation. I know these pastors and where their churches are located. . . They are by no means ‘wealthy’ and yes, they are by American standards are definitely ‘impoverished’.
This is not the first time I have seen impoverished people here lend help to impoverished Venezuelan immigrants. You may remember Cherry Creek Pres held a clothes drive that were brought here and I timidly asked Pastor Gruezo if the church would make a lunch for the Venezuelans if we provided the ingredients. Without hesitation he said sure and immediately took me to talk with the church cook. I know I am repeating from a past update, but this is worth repeating! I feel sure some of you are as grieved as I am about certain events in our beloved USA. However, the power of The Holy Spirit is moving in miraculous ways. And these events among the impoverished make me want to belt out “Onward, Christian soldiers” to those of you that are not seeing what Richard and I are experiencing. Thank you! Bless you for what you have done.
And lastly, our dear friend Carlos. Last week he returned to Quito (an 8-hour bus ride) for a checkup and returned Friday. To our surprise he was in church on Sunday. That afternoon we walked down to visit him, and they invited us for lunch. He admitted his first church service was taxing but he was glad to be there. His recover will be months.
Yes, we have prayer requests:
**Thanksgiving for the bond that binds us together in Jesus Christ. . . never limited by distance, color, culture, or situation.
**Yes, the ‘transgender’ issue is here at the clinic; pray that our staff continues in the same compassionate manner as they always have.
**The government has increased the cost of living by $25; thus, to remain in sync with the government mandates all 12 staff have had their salaries increased by that amount. Please pray we can sustain the rising costs as we are acutely aware of rising costs in the U.S.A.
Our love and prayers,
Richard and Elizabeth <><