June 2021: Summer at SIFAT

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version. This month, we share about summer at SIFAT in Alabama this year – Worship on the Water and Learn & Serve Retreats!

Written by Marie Lanier, Promotions and Marketing Coordinator

Worship on the Water 2021

The summer season has kicked off in Alabama! From Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, SIFAT sponsors Worship on the Water (WOW) for our local community and visitors to Lake Wedowee. A guest speaker and musician/musical group lead the service, which starts at 9 a.m. and lasts about an hour. We meet under the pine trees on the shore of the lake at Lakeside Marina, just north of downtown Wedowee on US Highway 431. After postponing and eventually making the difficult decision to cancel last summer, it has been a breath of normalcy to return to our Sunday morning tradition.


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May 2021: Meeting Immediate Needs in Ecuador

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version. We began SIFAT Doctor in your House/The Golden Bread in response to needs in the communities in which we serve in Ecuador because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. To see all of our previous updates about these programs, click here.

Written by Marie Lanier, Promotions and Marketing Coordinator

When we first heard of COVID-19, we optimistically believed that our international mission teams would be postponed for a few months, and we would reorganize before too long to serve alongside our SIFAT graduates. As we realized the severity of this novel virus and its ability to spread, we were forced to make difficult decisions to protect our team members, staff, translators and the communities in which we serve. Here in the United States now, our daily lives are being minimally impacted by the virus. We may be required to wear a mask or need to self quarantine after a known exposure. Great strides have been made in treatment, and free vaccines are available for those who choose to have them. No, the pandemic is not over for us, but we have many resources available.
But this is not the case for our friends in Ecuador. On April 23, a new month-long order went into effect that includes a weekend curfew from 8 p.m. on Friday night until 5 a.m. Monday morning, as well as a nightly curfew during the week for the same times. Driving between provinces is restricted, working from home is encouraged and excessive fines continue to be imposed for those not wearing masks in public, attending large gatherings and breaking curfew.

The Golden Bread provides food for families who do not have enough to eat.


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Worship on the Water 2021

We’re back! Worship on the Water at Lake Wedowee this summer …

After having to cancel WOW last year, we are so excited to be looking forward to seeing you in a few short weeks. It actually feels like summer now that we’re looking forward to WOW. Please help us spread the word that we will kick off the summer on May 30 – Memorial Day Weekend – at 9 a.m. under the pines at Lakeside Marina. Come by boat, come by car, come as you are!


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March 2021: Easter in the Andes

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version. We have shared this story in the past, and it is a good reminder that we can have an Easter celebration no matter where we are.

Written by Sarah Corson, SIFAT Co-founder

The truck climbed slowly up the narrow ledge of the Andean road, cutting sharply to make the hairpin curves in Bolivia. At least two dozen hitchhikers joined us in the back, crowded with the produce, furniture, chickens and other cargo. It was the Saturday before Easter in 1985. We were hoping to get to the capital in time to go to the Easter service the following morning.

This had been the longest, hardest trip ever coming up the Andes Mountains. It took us 46 hours to drive 200 miles. Every time we got stuck, everyone helped dig the truck out, although we only had one shovel. The rest of us used our hands to dig out the mud in the tracks. Five times, a tire blew out along the way. It rained, and our sleeping bags and clothes were wet. Finally, at 3 a.m., we reached a pass in the Andes some 16,000 feet high. The cold was bone-chilling. Suddenly, the truck stopped. A wheel had lost some bolts and was about to fall off. We could go no farther. One of the church leaders walked down the road in the snowstorm and found a small hut where a sheep herder lived. The man got out of bed and welcomed us. We crowded in and, grateful for a roof, lay down on the dirt floor littered with sheep dung. As usual in the area, the sheep herder had no heat for his house.  In the freezing cold, we huddled together on the floor. The sheep herder’s daughter slept with a lamb, and when he jumped up and walked among us with his warm coat of wool, he was welcomed. For a few minutes. he lay at my head, and I buried my face in his wool, thankful for the warmth.

Happy Easter!


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February 2021: SIFAT Doctor in your House 2020 Report

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version. This month’s article is the report submitted by Dr. Roberto and Monica Contreras about our programs in Quito, Ecuador, in 2020. To see all of the updates from SIFAT Doctor in your House/The Golden Bread, click here.

Written by Dr. Roberto and Monica Contreras, SIFAT Ecuador Directors

Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?”

And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Matthew 25:37-40

A family receives a food donation that will help them survive the effects of the pandemic in Quito, Ecuador.

 

Isaiah was born on May 5, 2020, in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. He was completely malnourished at birth because his mother did not have the resources for a good diet during her pregnancy. His first cry would not be his only cry.  He continually was crying from his birth until August, because he was hungry.

In Ecuador, 1 of 4 children less than 5 years old is chronically malnourished. Isaiah was that child. Malnutrition limits a child’s full development and leaves traces for a lifetime. Children with malnutrition are more likely to become adults with low stature, fewer educational achievements and lower financial incomes during adulthood. This not only impacts the individual, but also affects the social and economic development of communities and our country.

Because of donations given for SIFAT Doctor in your House, we have been able to provide nutritional reinforcement since August when Dr. Roberto learned about Isaiah’s situation. He will not become a sad statistic.


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