It's summer. Where I come from, Texas, things heat up drastically in the summer. It's no different in the Andes of Ecuador - unless you happen to be talking about the weather and comparing apples to apples. I happen to be comparing weather predictions to human development projects.
In Texas, the temperature will likely be predicted to hit 100 degrees in the not-too-distant future, if it hasn't already happened. In the Andes of Ecuador, there's no need to worry about 100º Fahrenheit temps (one reason might be that temps are measured in Celsius). The weather is spring-like year-round in the Ecuadorian Andes. No, the heating up I'm referring to is the Lord's work that FEDICE accomplishes in the summer. FEDICE is and has been very busy.
From May 24th to May 29th, FEDICE hosted a group from Fort Worth Country Day School who worked in Romerillos, south of Quito. Marilyn and I didn't have an opportunity to go down there, but we understand that these high schoolers were simply amazing. They helped pour a concrete slab for the roof of the second floor of a preschool that FEDICE helped build a few years ago with the Lisa Franke family of Illinois. It was originally built for 20-25 children. However, last summer the government decided to consolidate preschools so that each had at least 40 children. Because of the quality, this school was kept open but is now overcrowded. Thus, the second floor is needed.
FEDICE had a week's respite to plan for our next visitors. One group arrives tonight. They are a mission group consisting of architects and engineers that designs buildings free of charge for people that need their expertise. The group is called Engineering Ministries International (eMI) and is based in Canada but has members in various countries. They will be designing a new church in Pijal Centro. The existing church is old and not well-built. To tell the truth, I refused to worship there because the staircase to the second floor, where worship services are held, is very narrow, very steep, and has no railings. I'm somewhat of a daredevil, but even I have my limits. The group of seven is going to stay at our house for a week. We're fortunate enough to have a pretty large house, but we'll see how many toes get stepped on anyway.
On Sunday Pastor Doug Deuel, minister at First Christian Church in Plano, Texas, arrives for three days. He will also be spending time in Pijal Centro. Last year, he led a mission group from his church which helped build a preschool replacing one with tiny rooms and not the best sanitation. The group also helped fund other projects in the community. He'll be evaluating these projects and making plans for when the group returns in 2015.
The heat doesn't abate yet. The day after the architectural group from eMI leaves, a group from Bridging Cultures, a partner of FEDICE, arrives. They'll be working on various building projects in Pusir Grande, about two hours north of Otavalo. During their stay, there will also be a fiesta marking the first anniversary of the partnership between FEDICE and Bridging Cultures. By the way, it IS hot (temperature-wise) in Pusir Grande.
When Bridging Cultures leaves, FEDICE gets a well-deserved two-and-a-half week break to catch our collective breath and fine-tune plans before a mission group from various churches in Oregon arrives. They will work in Cachiviro, near Otavalo, for two weeks. But we'll talk about that later.