7.8 Earthquake Impacts a Nation
Shake, rattle, roll, crash, crumple and repeat. It was a long and fairly violent shake for us here northeast of Quito but we had no damage, we are fine.Ecuador has recently experienced shaking rolling ground which has had tremendous and tragic consequences. Although the major damage with over 600 deaths has been in two coastal provinces the shaking was felt extensively, provoking widespread fear. The world, Ecuadorians as well as the church, has activated with incredible compassion and generosity. One month has passed since the destruction so those not directly affected have resumed the “me and mine above all else” lifestyle while leaving the rebuilding in the hands of the government.
“Tragedy brings out the best and the worst in humanity”
There are thousands living in shelters and many others moving in with relatives. I can only imagine what life in a shelter is like for a family seeking refuge amongst the chaos surrounding them. In the first weeks they are mostly thankful to be alive with available water and food, to be done burying their loved ones who had no escape. How are they feeling after weeks in an overcrowded shelter? The nature of a shelter is temporary and fulfills many felt needs for survival. We have heard about many coming to faith in Christ while the pastors are preaching with urgency through their own broken hearts. One pastor buried his wife, his mother and two children in one day while awaiting the rescue of two other children. Many hurting people are seeking hope and escape as they are surrounded by a place they don’t even recognize.
There is so much that we could share about the help the evangelical body has invested in the effort to restore broken lives and hearts but there is something else that has been revealed to us which could help change the way the worldwide church approaches evangelism and discipleship in Latin America. I believe the root cause of slow growth of God’s kingdom has been unearthed through the tragedy the Ecuadorians are facing. God is not just a shelter and that is how He has been presented in many cases. Evangelism explosions rarely get beyond the very basic need to be saved, meaning that they are left as babies who have had basic needs met but when the crisis is over they just go back to what they know. Many times, we as the church present Christ as temporary, a shelter in time of crisis. This idea once again affirms the work of missionaries and Christian foundations who stay connected before, during and after the crisis which life presents. Please lift up all who are sharing and living out that Christ is for them until eternity and beyond.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you. I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Breakfast Club Becomes Lunch Bunch
This has been a fun school year with these Jr High kids. We meet for a few hours every Wednesday to finish homework, Bible study, play games, learn english and other stuff. May and June is dedicated to baking. We are learning to make pizza (dough, sauce and toppings), empanadas, cookies, healthy breads and muffins. After each baking session we will calculate the cost as well as a strategy to sell each of the ‘goods’. Thank you to the GA Lunch Bunch who helps pay the rent for the room we meet in. We pray for you.
“It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.”
Our year so far at a glance
We have had a really busy and challenging year so far. Some of you have followed us on Facebook but maybe really haven’t connected all of the events so far this year.
January started with me (Tim) coming down with pneumonia. This landed me on bed rest for a couple of weeks. then slowly regaining strength to what it was before getting ill. In the midst of being ill I made a trip to Costa Rica for The Mission Society regional gathering. The day after returning from Costa Rica our truck engine blew up.
February was busy as well. Starting with our youth doing a purity pledge weekend. 24 youth in attendance led by Kevin and Esther. We had a visit from long time supporters Dewey and Diane Howard from TN. Then I left again for the US to attend a Global Impact Missions Conference at Grace UMC in Ruston LA. I also got to visit our daughter Kellyann and family in Atlanta.
March came and went very fast as Holy week started after returning from the US. Also Daina’s mom Rae Stuart came with me to visit for three weeks. We finally got the truck running in March, 8 weeks without our own transportation.
April as many of you know came with a pretty destructive blow to Ecuador with an earthquake which left much of the north western coastal region of Ecuador destroyed.
May started with a visit from the president of The Mission Society, Max Wilkins. Followed by an mothers day celebration with about 180 in attendance. Then on the 17th we received two more earthquakes not as destructive but it made everyone very aware of where we live.
As you can see we have had a pretty busy first half of the year so you can only imagine what the second half may be like. We thank each and everyone of you who have partnered with us prayerfully and financially through this first half of the year. Please continue to partner with us to see what God has in store for us this second half.
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
I am excited to say that we now have a regular weekly meeting for women’s ministry which began when my mom came for a visit so we gathered to learn to knit together. We are learning to ‘share life’ together. This new time and place has been a delight as I meet new women who bless as well a challenge me. The needs, hurts and brokenness are real. My new friend Anita lives two doors down from our meeting room. Her 8 yr old daughter has been faithful at our saturday kid ministry for over a year. Anahi has three older sisters and a younger brother who will be one of our new Compassion sponsored kids. Anita has shared some of her concerns and problems she has faced since she pulled away from God and His word several years ago, she is ready to get back on the path God has for her and her family so ‘Sharing Life’ will offer her a community, an ear, a Word as well as a time to be healed by God together.
Just days after the earthquake we gathered at the church (our house) to sew and assemble 20 simple backpacks to send in care packages to those who lost so much in the coastal region of this small country. Many new ladies came to help with big hearts as a way to reach across the country with a hug.
Please pray for me as I take on this sometimes overwhelming task of ‘sharing life’ with some of the strongest broken women I have ever met. I need them too since I sure am missing the blessing of the ladies I studied with for ten years in Susanville, CA until God grabbed me and said GO, so here I am.
The upside to the earthquake
Door of Hope has been a Compassion International center/project for over 4 years. We had 110 sponsored kids until recently transferring 45 kids from the extension in Atucuchu where Kevin and Esther were serving recently. This leaves us with 75 which has been challenging financially. Because of the overwhelming world-wide response to the disastrous quake, on April 16th we have been given 20 new slots for kids 3-8 years old. This is the first time for any new kids to come into the project with all its benefits for 3 years.
We are excited to receive new families and challenged because it means up to a 15 year commitment for the Door of Hope. Each child is important to us so we take this ministry and Kingdom opportunity seriously. Please pray for all of our kids and for our team who seeks to glorify God while walking with, guiding, teaching and feeding each and every one God allows us to be blessed by. Pray for their families who also need Christ’s amazing love.
Compassion International team Puerta de Esperanza – Esther, Kevin, Tim, Daina, Erick, Nelly, Maria, Graciela and Erika.
Ecuador for many years has enjoyed the riches from an abundance of natural resources; mainly oil. For years millions of dollars have been invested in exploration and development of oil reserves in the amazon region of Ecuador. As a result, a few years back the government nationalized the oil in Ecuador. This made it easy for the government to depend on oil sales as revenue for the national budget. With this all said the budget last year was set based on oil prices in the $150 a barrel range. But as oil prices plummeted this hefty budget became increasingly impossible to meet. As a result, many projects have been halted in there tracks. many almost complete but too much debt for the contractors to continue or for the goverment to pay. Many social programs are being cut back as well. There is an increasing number that have found themselves without a job and it becomes even more difficult to find work.
Then in April Ecuador has faced one of its biggest challenges with the impact of a 7.8 earthquake devastating most of the northern coastal region. Major destruction in many of the coastal cities, some to the point that less than 10% of the buildings are still standing. 26,000 people have sought refuge in temporary housing. Well over 600 dead and 20,000 or so injured.
Last year alone the annual growth of Ecuador fell by 4%. The projection for 2016 was that there would be at least a 5% loss. Now after the earthquake Ecuador is facing 10% loss for 2016. All this said Ecuador is in an economic crisis.
The solution at this point is that the goverment had placed an import fee on a sliding scale on certain goods. This varied from 15% – 45% and was supposed to be in affect for 1 year. This has since been extended for an undecided period. Also recently increased taxes on beverages has been applied $.25 on the liter. The latest tax to go into affect in June will be increasing the sales tax from 12% to 14%. Loans have been made from China in the billions of dollars. All this to meet the needs of a developing country. Ecuador today is very different than what it was 11 years ago when we first came. But along with the improvements come a very high price to live and many are suffering along the way. Each year it is costing more to live and to do ministry here. Along with that, we are seeing more and more coming to The Door of Hope looking for help. We continue to offer Hope in the One that can only truly offer Hope, Jesus Christ. Many truly need financial help but it is becoming every increasingly more difficult to help with rising costs and more needs.
Best Jewels EVER
The decorations and balloons paled in comparison to the precious jewels that were carried in our bodies then in our arms and now are pieces of our hearts walking beside us, our children! 120 kids wrapped around the 80 mothers necks proved to be a precious time during our most recent Mother’s Day celebration. Double the blessing with a first time ever visit to Door of Hope from Max Wilkins, president of The Mission Society.
Mothers, grandmothers, fathers and kids gathered first to worship God, hear a Word of encouragement from Max W. followed by some special presentations the kids prepared with the excellent guidance of
our Door of Hope team. A few youth chose a verse or two to dedicate to their moms along with a testimony of love; there were tears. I enjoyed the entire morning sitting with the crowd with sleeping Rebeca in my arms and later sleeping James. We finished with a special prayer and blessing for all the moms and then all the 15 yr olds served the meal in record time. Door of Hope desires to bless all you moms a belated Happy Mother’s Day.
Life in the middle of the world
Thank you TMS and Pastor Max Wilkins for a great visit and a day to show you a little bit of our amazing Quito. Maybe next time we will get to see a volcano or two.
Sometimes life here in Ecuador is very much like it would be back in the US but there are times then it is very different. For example when the engine on the truck blew up it took about two months to repair it. Not because of the amount of work that was involved but just trying to get parts for the repairs. Most of which if available in Ecuador cost 3 times as much as they should plus some where not even available. This resulted in purchasing them in the US then bringing them here. Even paying import fees it was far less expensive but it required more down time. All the time the truck was down we continued with ministry sometimes requiring a lot more time to buy supplies or paying more for taxis, so now every time we get in the truck to go somewhere I thank God for having a running vehicle. We often take for granted the use of utilities such as electricity and running water. I can’t remember the last month when we haven’t gone without one of them for at least a day. We frequently have power outages. I know this is common in many countries and we are becoming increasingly aware here. Over time we have learned that when we turn on a light switch and the light comes on or open a faucet and water flows or when the toilet flushes we praise Him for the blessings.
– For the victims of the earthquake.
– For our Compassion project and the new challenges we are facing.
– For the economy of Ecuador.
– For our vehicle to hold out until we can get a newer one.
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
• Vehicle fund
Any donations for these projects should be sent to:
The Mission Society Designated DATWYLER SPECIAL PROJECT ACCOUNT