Oregon Region Mission Trip to Ecuador
2007 ECUADOR MISSION TRIP
July 5-19, 2007
First Christian Church in Salem, OR sponsored its third mission trip to Ecuador, July 5-19, 2007. Thirteen people came from Oregon to work for a week on a new church building, to share worship and fellowship with Ecuadoran Christians, and to see the results of the sheep program supported by Oregon Disciples with gifts totaling $35,000 in recent years.
The group enjoyed the gracious hospitality of Victor Vaca, longtime Global Mission partner of the Christian Church in Oregon. We also became acquainted with Blanca Puma, Victor’s capable successor as Executive Director of FEDICE, now that Victor is in semi-retirement. On the last night, Victor and Violet Vaca hosted the group for dinner in their home in Quito. Most of the time was spent with indigenous Indian communities in the high altitudes of northern Ecuador. For the first time, members of the Oregon Disciples regional staff joined in on the Ecuador mission trip. Having gone in 2007, Audre Bratcher and I now understand even more why the group from Salem FCC has returned with so much enthusiasm after previous trips.
Activities of the Ecuador Mission “grupo de Oregon” included:
- One week of construction work on a new church building in the community of Cuatros Esquinas. Work included sanding, painting, shoveling, pouring cement and doing electrical work in the new church. A dedication service (for both the building and a newborn infant) capped off the week.
- Worship on Sundays with Christian communities in Cuatros Esquinas, Huaycapungo, and Capillapamba and at an evening service with a Disciples of Christ congregation in Ibarra, Ecuador. The Sundays also included participation in three weddings and three wedding receptions. Our group sang each time and the pastors asked me to preach at all four of these services.
- Visits with women’s organizations in four communities where flocks of sheep have multiplied after original gifts from Oregon Disciples. Audre Bratcher has written a summary of these visits which is attached with this letter. Hearing the appreciation expressed for the gifts of Oregon Disciples was both unforgettable and humbling.
- Site visits with other projects started with microloans from FEDICE, including a strawberry project, a cooperative for crafts and hand woven goods, a one man “mini market,” and community based projects for raising chicken and cattle.
- A quick stop for photos at “Mitad del Mundo,” the Middle of the World on the Equator and tours of cultural sites in Quito.
Audre and I are grateful for special gifts which made it possible for us to be part of this amazing partnership with Global Ministries, FEDICE and Ecuadoran Christians. We want to thank First Christian Church in Salem for putting this trip together. Of course, our thanks also go out to our Oregon Disciple friends, for your support of Disciples Mission Fund, our regional sheep project, and the continuing ministries of FEDICE in Ecuador.
Yours in Christ,
Doug Wirt, Co-Regional Minister
Christian Church in Oregon