Erika, Dad, death and a tent
She came through the gate timidly, with great hesitation and sadness about her. You see this was the first time Nataly had come back here since her nine year old Erika had been killed by a hit and run while the whole family was returning home after buying supplies for a big party the next day. Puerta de Esperanza was teaming with activity and life as we were gathering this Sunday morning to celebrate and worship, followed by a parents meeting. As she came closer with her youngest daughter Cecelia at her side, I approached her and wrapped my arms around her as her tears began to flow. It was not comfortable for her to be surrounded by life and joy.
Tim and I drove up to their house the morning after the tragedy after a relative called to let us know about the accident. We didn’t find mom or dad or Erika’s three sisters, we did find some neighbors which we knew because we had lived almost next door 6 years ago. They shared their concern about not being able to find a tent for the service because all of them were rented. They had already cleaned and cleared the area on the patio and they were expecting the family and body to arrive that afternoon. One week earlier we had taken down our tent for the first time in five years so we offered to loan it to them. On our way home from setting up the tent, we stopped to let some of our kids and families know what had happened since we cancelled program that day. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done. These kids had been Erika’s friends since before kindergarten.
That afternoon we returned to Nataly’s house for the beginning of the three day memorial service. As I sat under the tent which protected the coffin with this little broken body of Erika, God played back the many times-years earlier she showed up at our gate with her big amazing smile. She wasn’t even two when we first met her and her family. We watched her grow into a very social, happy girl as she was taught about Christ and His love every week. She was with us and her friends the day before the accident. Here we sat, watched and listened as we cared with them and held them, we felt overwhelmed but not defeated. We have had to deal with death more here in Ecuador than any other time in our lives, but never a nine year old child we had loved and cared for.
I praise God for the tent over all of us that evening as well as the years we taught and shared under it. The tent was bought with a memorial offering from Ooltelwah UMC upon the death of Tim’s dad. Their deaths are connected, not just by the tent, but by God and by hope.
You see, the same tent that was above her broken, lifeless body is the same tent that was above her as she first learned about Jesus’ love for her the years leading up to her short life on earth ending. Erika loved Jesus and continues to love Him now.
“He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
2 Corinthians 1:10-11
When Nataly came that day and settled into life around her almost three months later, we had some time to do some remembering so she could begin to have her broken heart healed. She shared how Erika would just sing Jesus loves me when she was happy and when she was scared. I shared about how the tent connected two deaths and many lives. Our loss is God’s gain.
Thank you for listening to God to support us with your many prayers and all the material gifts that are proving to be excellent long term investments. Only God can heal broken hearts and lives but I am so honored to play a part.
Playground and Beyond
Bigger + Better playground = Happy active kids. Every inch of wood has been sanded and painted or treated thanks to a mission team from Ootelwah, TN. We also added three more swings, a climbing wall, a new tower with a tire swing, climbing rope and tunnel. We hope to add a slide, fireman pole and trapeze bar soon. A second new tower will support a giant climbing net as well as some exciting new elements
Beyond the playground are several improvements; a new dishwashing station, tile installed in the bathrooms and walkway, tile in the office and new doors in the bathroom, six new tables, a bench seat and huge landscaped areas. The garage and workshop are advancing as well.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
A job very well done
One of our young ladies who has been part of Puerta de Esperanza for many years graduated with honors in July. She was number one in her school and top in the state of Pichincha as well a honored at a ceremony with the president. Paulina is the oldest of five and blazes the way as an example of excellence and hard work to achieve a better life accompanied by her family her Lord Jesus. The condition of her humble family has her looking for a scholarship to continue her education which at the moment for the country may be impossible this year. She is still very hopeful to go back to school in the future and thanks God for courage to serve Him and help her family as she waits. She has been a Compassion International sponsored child since age seven and will continue with us in a program called “Give Back” where she will serve the church as she learns new ministry and life skills as a tutor. She has charge of 15 children ages 6-7. She is a valuable example we aspire the youth and children we and you have invested in to follow. With Christ, everything is possible!!!
“Time to Go”
We had such a fun time teaching, learning, puppeting, singing, dancing and playing during this summer’s Bible Camp VBS. We had to wait until the last week of vacation so more kids would be back in town. We learned Bible stories about when Jesus went about to many places to share the Good News and how it is “time to go” to share with others. This was my first year not teaching the Bible lessons, I did crafts and Tim organized recreation. Our tutors did an amazing job in the workshops and many of our youth were guides/teachers assistants.
My favorite part was the impressive, energized and genuine worship time. 20 youth and 5 tutors learned and taught 7 songs with choreographies in 4 days. It was crazy! The songs were all based on the Bible stories of the day so after they had fun learning, they took home the stories of hope and healing thru Jesus. With over 150 kids we realized we need more tables and spaces to be more effective when they come in so that afterwards we can go out. #couldthisreallybeajob#
“ “Glitterman” Our Very Own Superhero”
As our VBS team was preparing for ministry we were making banners and giant flowers with glitter foamy. In most cases I hate glitter, it gets everywhere and is difficult to clean up even after months of not using it. As we were wrapping up the glittery experience, I noticed all 25 servants were glowing with glitter. I caught glimpse of Erik who has a contagious, inspiring attitude trying to remove the glitter because he had to ride home on the bus. I shared with them that as we prepare to shine for Jesus, we need to be like glitter, we need to rub off on all those we meet.
I now call Erik glitterman because his passion and joy has ignited our youth and kids over the two years he has served here with us. His passion for Christ as he teaches music and worship is rubbing off on his students.
He has gone with us on two short term mission trips and seems to have caught a vision to reach others. He will be going on mission to Venezuela for 6 weeks in October and November. We can hardly wait to hear what God reveals to him as he spreads glitter in the hearts of all he meets. Join us in praying for him.
New year offering Hope
September marks a new school year of hope and possibilities with 84 Compassion International sponsored kids. We are challenged with many changes and higher goals to impact this generation for the Kingdom.
First challenge —Compassion International has restructured several people and processes which gives us a new facilitator (our link to the central office) to work with. We are learning the new processes as both sides work out the kinks.
Second challenge — our director Esther has a new job in Quito so the work she has done for four years is now divided in two positions – Director Tim and Secretary – Nelly. We have also been blessed with 15 new kids so we now have four groups on Thursdays so we need more space and tables. We are excited to add Paulina as 6-7 year olds tutor, 3-5 year olds and Bible teacher Daina, 8-9 year olds Nelly and 10-11 year olds Erik. Lunch bunch 12-14 year olds now come to the church on Wednesday’s instead of the rented room in town. All youth 12-20 meet on Saturdays led by Erik and Tim.
We are getting up to speed with the challenges that change brings. We are hopeful and excited to see what the new year of possibilities yields. Thank you all who support and sponsor kids through Compassion International, it truly is a life impacting ministry around the world. As you support the ministries of Puerta de Esperanza you all give hope and love to many additional kids who do not qualify with CI. Pray for them, their families and us.
Our brother Segundo
A little over a year ago we asked Segundo if he could work for a couple of weeks to help us out with a few projects. Well those two weeks turned into almost a year of work. We had been richly blessed with a generous offering that has provided for the ever expanding ministry of Puerta de Esperanza.
Segundo has helped to construct many new paved areas as well as improvements to the ministry bathrooms with tile on the walls and floors. He has helped to construct the garage and workshop and with several landscape issues involving construction of a large retaining wall. All of this was completed while ministry was going on around him so he got a first hand look at the challenges and joys involved on a week by week basis.
I must say it requires a very special person to put up with trying to work on construction projects in the midst of chaos with children running around. Segundo certainly has or at least developed that talent over the last year. It is so hard to believe at how much work has been done in the last year. All things are possible with God. We thank Him for allowing us the privilege to have Segundo here for so long. We have been truly blessed by God and by Segundo. He has left his mark on much of the ministry here at Puerta de Esperanza.
It is our prayer that as we have been blessed by his diligent and skillful hands that God blesses him abundantly as he goes about blessing others. Thank you Segundo.
Great things God is doing with our youth
Hey everybody, Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written anything for newsletters. Esther, James and I through God’s guidance have taken a position as Dorm parents at Alliance Academy International in Quito and we are very busy at our new job. Before moving on to where we are now, we were working with the youth at Door of Hope and we saw wonderful growth. In our time as youth pastors we had lots of events, but our most fruitful endeavors were 2 workshops we did, on sexual education and on drugs and alcohol. The most recent one we did was on drugs and alcohol, and it was a very fun experience as we went over all the different drugs there are and why as followers of Christ we should not consume them. We also had the privilege of testimonies from Ted Wasson and Matt Burton from Ooltewah UMC. Esther and I have seen growth in more than just numbers but also in the hearts of the kids, I would love to share specific details but it could fill pages just describing the small changes of heart that blossom into entire transformations of a lives. Esther and I are praying that God will continue to bless the youth Ministry at Door of Hope through my father and Erick.
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Ways to get involved .
Ways to get involved .
Windows for the ministry center $200 each.
Storage bench with cushions for Clubhouse $300
Bookcase $100 each
Ministry center cabinets$150
Desks $50 each
Any donations for these projects should be sent to: The Mission Society Designated DATWYLER SPECIAL PROJECT ACCOUNT
Favor with our neighbors.
Our continued church growth.
The economy of Ecuador.
Our truck to hold out until we can get a newer one.
More spaces to do ministry.
A new meeting place in town.
Web site: puertadeesperanza.org
Skype direct dial: 678-701-4825
Tax deductible gifts may be sent to:
The Mission Society
Norcross, GA 30010-2637
“DATWYLER SUPPORT 5/255/DY”