Friends last week we shared some photos of a fallen wall at the Santa Clara church in Quito. We asked you to pray about the situation. Sometimes, walls fall, roofs leak, ceilings crack, and floors get damaged. These issues tend to get worse over time, especially when preventative maintenance budgets get eliminated. This is unfortunately the case with the Churches we serve.
A Little History.
A long time ago now God spoke to a wonderful Christian Sister by the name of Roma Lee. He called her into a missionary effort through short term mission trips. Many of you who are reading this post have experienced missions on a Roma Lee trip. We have traveled with Roma Lee and the time we spent with her has changed the course of our lives.
When Roma Lee was alive she would take any (legitimate missions) excuse to bring a group to Latin America. She proclaimed the Gospel, trained leaders, fed the hungry, visited the sick, provided clothing, and built many a worship space. In the Country of Ecuador several of our Churches are happily meeting in buildings that Roma Lee and her missions teams helped to construct. Timothy had accompanied Roma Lee on many a construction work-camps working here in Ecuador.
In the past the global missionary effort of the Church of God supported such endeavors by collecting and making available a general construction fund to the Missionaries who served here. Roma Lee and her groups would fund much of the construction and provide help with labor. The Church here would provide hospitality and sweat equity. And through an organization named Global Missions, funds were collected and dispersed for ongoing projects and maintenance. This partnership was fruitful for many years.
So, What Happened?
Sometimes ministries need to change, other times leaders like to change things for their own reasons. We are not sure of the legitimately of the change in our previous sending organization, but we lived through it. It should be noted that we certainty are not criticizing the changes that were made, after all we were not called to lead the organization we are busy focusing on our own calling. Time will tell the need for the changes “For a tree is known by its fruit.”
One of the changes we lived through was one of funding policy. By the time we arrived in Ecuador the organization we were with changed their approach to project funding. Construction funds were only available to us in a focused and limited way. In other words when we inherited this ministry we did not inherit the ability to raise funds for it in meaningful ways. Because of this change we have not had the ability to help our churches with routine maintenance. They have not had the funds to provide the needed maintenance themselves. Consequently, we have seen several minor problems in infrastructure become major problems.
Seeing the need but having no way to meet the need was frustrating to us. This is one of the reasons we left our original sending organization.
We have asked each pastor that we work with to inform us on the infrastructure needs of their church. Once we get a good grasp on the need we will begin to plan with each church and find a way to help.
What Can You Do?
As we gather information we ask that you pray. Please pray for our churches as they struggle financially in a county with limited resources. Please pray that God will begin calling churches and individuals to help with this much needed ministry. And please pray that God will provide us with funds when the time is right.
Blessings, The Downing Family