We are often asked about the value of short-term visits to the ministry. Our answer is always the same: short-term teams leave a long-term impact. This has certainly been true of the teams we have received since our return to Ecuador. Since our arrival back on the field in June, we’ve had the opportunity to work with two teams with very different objectives, but whose work will have effects for years to come.
The Cotinga Foundation exists to empower and equip special education teachers in the developing world through free seminars and mentoring from practicing professionals. This is the third year we have been able to partner with this ministry in Cayambe. It was the largest team of teachers we have ever hosted, and the largest impact we have ever made on the special education school here. There were 9 teachers on the team with varied specialties including speech pathology and hearing-impaired education. We spent five mornings giving each teacher the opportunity to receive personalized help in dealing with the specific issues in their classroom. The afternoons were reserved for specialized workshops that were given to the entire staff of the school. Many of the lessons and techniques presented in previous years are now put into practice at the school. Simple things make a great impact. For example, the first time we visited the school we noticed many of the children with very poor personal hygiene. Terry, the president of Cotinga, was able to make some very constructive suggestions on establishing a routine in the classroom that includes brushing their teeth, combing their hair, and washing their face. The following year, we noticed a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the students. This helps give the students and their families a better self-image within their community.
Of course, the educational aspect of the ministry is the focus of Cotinga, while our focus is on bringing Christ into the lives of those we meet at the school. One of the teachers of the school now attends our church regularly. Please be praying for the other teachers and families of the students who have attended our church and are open to Gospel conversations.
Camp Eden Team
The second large team we were a part of this month was a group from Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Meade, Kansas. The team spent a week at the camp our association of churches maintains in the Bolívar province of Ecuador. We spent the week working on three primary projects: painting the girls dorm, laying tile on the floor of the new dining hall, and digging and installing the septic system for the dining hall. It was a lot of work, but we were pleased to be able to support the effort with a group of nine from Cayambe. God worked through all of our joint efforts to accomplish a lot in the 5 days we had there. The work will continue for the remaining two weeks in our absence in preparation for the campers who will be arriving in August. Please pray with us for this year’s camp that the campers would come with open hearts, and that God would use Dave’s messages to change lives. The work that was done this week will serve many generations of campers to come.
Mission Meetings in Mindo
In between our two mission groups, we had a few days with the other Crossworld missionaries here in Ecuador as well as our directors from the home office. We had several days in Cayambe to update them on the ministry here, then we met the others in Mindo, a small town two hours to the West known as the bird-watching capital of the world. We had a great time reconnecting and spent some time enjoying the attractions of the area. Have a look at the video to get a glimpse of our adventures flying through the canopy of the forests of Mindo.
- Pray for our follow-up with the special school here in Cayambe. Especially pray for discipleship opportunities.
- Pray for this years campers to be receptive to what God wants to teach them. 12-16 years old will be August 1-6, 17-25 years old meet August 22-27.
- Pray for wisdom as Dave prepares his conference messages for the second week of camp.
- Pray for our VBS programs this summer in both Primero de Mayo and in Cangahuapungo.