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Executive Director Travels To U.S.

{Originally posted April 12th, 2013}

On April 12th Blanca Puma, FEDICE's Executive Director, began a 4 week trip to visit our partners in the United States. She will have stays in Oregon, Texas, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, and Indianapolis. Whew! Do you still want to be an executive director?

The first leg of the journey will be the longest by far. Blanca left Quito last night at nearly midnight and will arrive in Portland, Oregon, this afternoon. She will be hosted by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Oregon Region during her time there.

Besides speaking about FEDICE in various locations, Blanca will be able to attend a Special Regional Assembly on April 13th. On April 14th, First Christian Church in Salem, Oregon, will hold a Celebration of Life Service for Victor Vaca, our late Executive Director and FEDICE Co-Founder, who passed away on February 18th, 2013.

Specific Oregon churches she'll be visiting are Northwood Christian Church in Springfield, Oregon; First Christian Church in Junction City, Oregon; and Glenwood Christian Church in Eugene, Oregon. Some meetings are on the agenda, too. There will also be time to visit many of our very good friends in Oregon and do some sightseeing with them.

Another exciting thing happening in Oregon is that the region is sponsoring an effort to raise money for a project that will help 25 families to raise and sell sheep, resulting in better incomes, better health, and more jobs. FEDICE would like to implement this project to benefit families in Maca Atápulo, Cotapaxi, Ecuador. However, $10,000 must be raised before the project can get underway. Judging from Oregon's past track record, they will succeed in their goal. When they set a goal to raise money for a project to raise and sell chickens in the barrio of San Francisco, Cotopaxi, Ecuador, people dressed in chicken costumes and went to various churches in the state. We can only imagine what they'll do this time!

From Oregon, Blanca will travel to Dallas/Ft. Worth. She will be at First Christian Church, Plano, Texas, on April 21st to speak about the church's upcoming mission trip to Ecuador in August, 2013. The group will be working with indigenous people in Pijal Centro, Imbabura, Ecuador. One of the things the mission group is scheduled to help with, is the building of a new daycare center. Families can leave their children (0-5 years old) in a safe and loving environment while mothers work in fields, rose plantations, or businesses during the day.

Bill and Debbie Arnold, our good friends from Ft. Worth, will host Blanca while she's in Texas. Bill helped lead a group of students from Ft. Worth Country Day School to Ecuador in 2012. They worked on a daycare center in the barrio of San Francisco, Cotopaxi, Ecuador.

Yet another thing to do while in Texas will be to meet with Danny Couch, Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church, Weatherford, Texas. Danny is also on the board of the Bridging Cultures organization, which has been working to enhance the lives of people in Pusir Grande, Carchi, Ecuador. Since Bridging Cultures and FEDICE share many goals, it is possible that the two organizations can work together. This meeting will be another step in the process of determining if and how the organizations can benefit each other.

If it's April 23rd, it must be Minneapolis, Minnesota. Blanca will leave Texas that morning and arrive in Minnesota to transact some business and visit David Johnson. David is a Board Member of FEDICE, USA. He is also the nephew of Violet and Victor Vaca. Thus, he is well known to all of us on the FEDICE Team.

The next stop will be Illinois. Blanca will fly to St. Louis, Missouri, and be hosted by Lee-Allison Wilson, a member of the Illinois South Conference, United Church of Christ. Blanca will be visiting churches as well as established mission partners, such as Roseanne Franke.

While in Illinois, Lee-Allison will also drive Blanca to Indianapolis, Indiana, for two nights so she can meet with Felix Ortiz and the rest of the staff of the Latin America and the Caribbean section of Global Ministries. Felix has been able to visit Ecuador twice in the past two years. It will be nice for Blanca to have a chance to meet the rest of the staff.

Knowing Blanca Puma, she will fly home to Quito on May 6th very tired, but very happy. She will be overflowing with exciting news of old friends she reconnected with, new friends she met, and amazing experiences. We in FEDICE will be very happy to welcome her home.

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