June 27, 2023
Dear Friends and Family,
Our first Music Mission was so multi-faceted I barely know where to begin. So, perhaps, the first concert the day after they arrived; and after bouncing back from their red eye flight Sunday/Monday, a five-hour layover in Quito before their flight to Manta and finally the 40-minute drive to Floron . . .They arrived with smiles (Unsure, they may have been delirious).
Daniel (bass guitar – Pastor Mountain View Christian Church), Kaitlin (keyboard – Deputy Director of “More than Music”), Chris (saxophone, flute, harmonica, keyboard – Director of Worship Arts – Colorado Community Church), Terrill (drums – Director of Global Production Engineering)
Cleofe (singer – IT Specialist – Cherry Creek Public Schools), Victoria (singer – Engineering Project Manager), Ashely (singer – Empower Client Service Manager), Suzanna (singer – HS Spanish Teacher), Elizabeth (singer – IT Project Manager)
Note: Chris (Christopher Lang) is an active member of Mercy Music located in Aurora and highlighted on their website (www.mercymusic.org) as a music missionary. Many of the music instruments were donated by Mercy Music.
The first concert was in Floron 8 under the stars. Not a vacant chair could be found, standing room only (this is where our day guard and pastor Meza lives and has a church).
Team luncheon with pastors Gabriel, Jhon, Alexi and Yandri. (The team ate all of their meals on the roof of our apartment.)
The concerts were excellent, but they still did not top – for me - the luncheon with the team and four of our local pastors. (I wish I’d thought of this long ago.) The conversation exchange didn’t seem inhibited by language – of course the team member who teaches Spanish did enhance the pace of dialogue.
The two major priorities/concerns were from Pastor Yandri and Pastor Jhon. Yandri’s congregation is 1.5 to 2 hours away. He said he always knows what parishioners are going to ask him to pray about either: diabetes or kidney issues. He said the drainage ditch is close to the water source. Sunday I will travel with Pastor Yandri to survey Olmedo. And Pastor Jon said education . . . I haven’t been able to reach him to have him expound upon ‘education’. (I am guessing it is education beyond high school).
Wednesday evening was the ‘concert on the roof’ … followed by the showing of Season 1 (episodes 4&5) of “The Chosen” in the clinic parking lot. . . another standing room only event. I was leery how clear this would show up on the white sheet Pastor Meza and Richard rigged up, but it was perfect! Pastor Gabriel and the other pastors plan to continue showing episodes at their respective churches.
Friday evening and Saturday morning the team spent at the church with budding musicians. . . and all the instruments they had brought. They divided up according to the instrument they played, and the singers gave lessons in the church.
Saxophone taught by Chris Guitar taught by Stephan
Drums taught by Terrill Piano taught by Kaitlin
I was astounded at all the instruments that were brought to Ecuador for donating (2 Keyboards, 2 Bass guitars, 6 violin’s, 1 Acoustic guitar, 2 Electric guitars, 1 Saxophone, 1 complete Drum set, 1 Drum repair kit and 1 Drum training kit). WOW!! All remained with their grateful new recipients.
The big night arrived. The stage at the Las Vegas Park is huge! (I was hoping it would not ‘swallow them up!)
The lighting and sound systems were impressive. Three other churches (Grupo Emanuel 3:16 from Montecristi, Grupo Emanuel from Floron #5, Banda Hidall from Portoviejo) pre-empted the American group Grupo C3 from Colorado Community Church, Aurora, CO.
The Youth Group passed out Bibles that Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church and Colorado Community Church had provided. . . during the concerts 197 Bibles were handed out.
I hope slices of the concert come through. The photo below was taken before the start of the concert. The seats are cut into the hillside and were 95% taken by the time the concert got underway.
At the end, Pastor Jon gave a mini sermon and alter call that was followed by the American Grupo C3 team asking all the students they instructed to join them for the last song of the evening (“The blessing”). The concert lasted 4-1/2 hours – it took 6 hours to set it up!
We cannot close without identifying some behind the scenes people that made this all come together. Tatiana and I invaded the new government open market in Portoviejo for 4-1/2 hours of food shopping so she could prepare a daily feast fit for a king! We have used Tatiana for the majority of the medical teams we had through the years.
And Pastor Meza did a spectacular paint project on the outside of the clinic building AND he and Fabricio came to the rescue in weeding the garden.
And our four water techs interrupted their day to act as ‘bell boys’ to tote luggage and escort our guests to their rooms upon their arrival; and to load and haul in the water truck all the musical instruments to and from Las Vegas Park.
Every morning the team joined the staff for morning devotions.
Via a board decision we have decided to support a young man with his last 2 semesters of the Institute where he pursues a chemical engineer degree. I am aware of his long standing.
In closing, Pastor Yandri and I did make the 2-hour journey by bus to the small village Olmedo in the beautiful lush green hill country. Richard could not go as he didn’t have enough visiting days in Ecuador to stay another week – however, it still took him 4 days to get out of Quito). The rolling hills display acres of corn where most people find work. Mount Moriah Church was built about 2-3 years ago; about 30 families sat quietly awaiting our arrival. Their humility in the midst of such poverty brings me to shame as one lady brought me a bag of avocadoes along with pineapple and apple chunks accompanied by a plastic spoon and napkin.
My trip to visit was also to investigate the water supply and waste drainage situation. Pictured is a small pump that each home has.
When it rains the water supply flows; currently it is minimal due to the dry season. However, in most homes the septic tank is within close proximity. I discovered this water is used for washing clothes and bathing. By “accident” one lady came and beckoned us to her home where I noticed a large-labeled jug of purified water. The cost is $1. I am continuing to survey the situation. Could a family afford $1/week for water? Their septic tanks are never drained but totally leach into the ground. On my way home my flight was delayed 5 hours which gave me great opportunity to chat with the man next to me who is an environmental specialist … and describing the situation we came up with the possibility to add chlorine tablets to the septic tanks. But for now, more investigation is needed.
Dios los bendiga,
Elizabeth and Richard <><