On Sunday, April 17, 2016, Ecuador was hit by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake causing widespread damage. The earthquake was approximately 12 miles deep and centered approximately 17 miles south-southeast of Muisne, in a tourist area of fishing ports. As of Tuesday, April 19, 2016, over 400 deaths had been reported and more than 2,000 were injured. Traumatized survivors are evaluating their next steps amid the rubble of their former homes. Physical damages reported so far include demolished buildings, broken roadways, and lost electricity along the Pacific coastline. The Ecuadoran President, Rafael Correa has indicated that reconstruction will cost billions of dollars.Read more
Even as search and rescue efforts continue following last week's devastating earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador, UCC Disaster Ministries has begun its response with grants for relief efforts in Japan and Ecuador.Read more
Week of Compassion is currently responding to emergency needs in both Ecuador and Japan after serious earthquakes struck over the weekend. At least 42 people have died on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurred Saturday, 2 days after a smaller quake struck the same area.Read more
Easter is upon us and the Christmas holidays of 2015 are a far distant memory. Yet, I would like to share a little of our Christmas cheer.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Prayers for Ecuador:
In Ecuador, we regularly come across situations that challenge our sense of justice. One day it's an indigenous woman and grandmother with liver failure struggling to care for four orphaned grandsons. Another time it’s a rural community that feels helpless to keep their families healthy without access to local, affordable care. These are times we feel moved to seek solutions beyond our regular programs and despite limited resources and staff.
After completing two of his most famous miracles — The Feeding of the 5,000 and Walking on Water — Jesus did something else which motivates us at the Ecumenical Foundation for Integral Development Training and Education (FEDICE) on a daily basis. At the end of both stories, we know Jesus had already performed his miracles. He was ready to rest and call it a day. But instead, he recognized the needs of the people, put his own aside for a bit longer and changed course.Read more
I write this letter as a delinquent. I’m embarrassingly late turning this into the patient folks at Global Ministries, but I admit I’m glad because now I can tell you about the last two weeks. They’ve been fast-paced, medicated, challenging, and travel heavy. They’ve also been two of the best weeks of my life.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 12: 20-33
Prayers for Ecuador:
God most high yet here with us! We sometimes think you do not care. We are lonely: full of distrust, pain, sadness. Even your Son endured much, and we are told, for us.
Why must we die in order to live? Serve instead of being served? Why cannot we be the focus?
The “prince of this world,” the devil, will be driven out. So when will this happen? War stories abound. Glimpses of your love seem too brief.
Lectionary Selection: Mark 1:1-8
Prayers for Ecuador:
God of radiant light and restorative darkness; we join hands across cities, countries and continents in order to pray together as partners in manifesting your vision for this world.
We pray that as the sun rises each morning, the light of opportunity and of equity shines out across the mountains, the creek beds, the tundra, the fertile valleys, the cities, the beaches, the jungles and the deserts. We pray for the courage, strength and compassion needed in order to build opportunity and equity into the fabric of our communities.
We pray that as night falls, we can rest in the confidence of your enduring peace and exquisite justice. That we can be still and know you are God. That as we sleep, our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world are working in the light toward this vision we share as God’s people.
We commit to being active participants — carriers of your light and protectors of your darkness. We commit to bearing witness to your glory and to going “all in” towards its manifestation on earth.
Hold this vision in our hearts so we might rise each day with a renewed and unquenchable drive to continue amongst the many challenges we will face.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Ecuador:
One of the most important ways we can affect change as individuals in the developed world is to vote with our dollar. And so, today’s moment is built around what’s possible when we do just that.
We all know you can buy a lot of things with $200 — especially at Christmas. Everywhere we look, people are telling us what we can buy with our $200.
For instance, we could purchase a mother-daughter spa package. Surprise our spouse with really nice dinner out (no kids! adult conversation!). Score great seats at a holiday concert or basketball game. Give our daughter the new snowboard she’s been begging for. We could treat ourselves to those new boots or the watch we’ve been eyeing. We could even upgrade to the latest and greatest smartphone and spend the week between Christmas and New Years glued to its so much clearer and slightly larger screen.
But that’s what you can buy with $200, not what you can do with $200. $200 also happens to be the amount of an initial credit for participants in FEDICE’s community building programs. In their case, $200 isn't about better battery life, it’s about access to a better future.
One where your daughter dares to dream about being a lawyer and the money your five dairy cows bring in can actually make that happen. One where you become a respected entrepreneur, your husband doesn’t have to rely on seasonal construction work, and your onion farm employs three other people in your village. One where your once-hungry family is fed and economically self-sufficient due to an ever-expanding chicken coup that has taken over every square inch of space behind the house.
As we near crunch time for the holidays, my hope is that we remember what $200 can do, not just what $200 can buy. I’m not advocating we throw out Christmas gift giving, but rather we rethink how we’re going to invest our resources. What will your dollars stand for this holiday season? Will they support some “doing” out in the world as well?
Organizations like Global Ministries, Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, Week of Compassion and One Great Hour of Sharing can do magical things with $200 or $10 or $50. Investing in an alternative Christmas option alongside your traditional gift gifting (or maybe in lieu of it) means that our work building a more just future for God’s people can continue.
The possibilities are as endless as the holiday discounts. Your gift can do things like bring live-saving equipment to hospitals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It supports the credits and training FEDICE gives indigenous women in Ecuador. It ensures a child’s education in China. It brings clean water to Syrian refugees in Jordan. And it sends people like me to work alongside partners around the world. All of these things, and more, are possible when we vote with our dollar.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from the majestic peaks of the Andes Mountains! Thank you for your sustaining prayers and continuing support of mission work throughout the world.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Bethany Waggoner)
Mission Partners in Ecuador:
Fundacion Ecumenica Para el Desarrollo Integral Capacitacion-Education (FEDICE)
Iglesia Evangelica Unida del Ecuador (IEUE)
More information on Ecuador:
Global Ministries Missionary in Ecuador:
Bethany Waggoner serves with the Ecumenical Foundation for Integral Development Training and Education (FEDICE) in Ecuador. She works at strengthening capacity building of those organizations in areas of communication and finance. Her appointment is supported by Week of Compasssion, Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.
Since the last time I wrote, SO much has happened. For one, I am no longer traumatized by the simple questions one is asked in the checkout line at the grocery store. This is a great triumph! To again be able to exist as an intelligent adult, with opinions and the capacity to express one-self is tremendous. A huge thank you to everyone who supported me through the process & frustrations of learning Spanish.