July 2020: Graduates in Action Around the Globe
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.
Written by Marie Lanier, Promotions and Marketing Coordinator
SIFAT has been training community leaders in development for 41 years. As community needs change, our graduates’ ministries often shift their focus. A global pandemic? That is definitely a call for adaptation to meet immediate needs. Around the world, governments are enacting strict lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, which has led to economic hardships and job loss, inflation and food shortage. We reached out to a few of our graduates for updates, so we can better understand the challenges they face, but also to see the ways they are thriving, despite unexpected circumstances.
Bolivia: Mt. Bethel UMC Update 2
The Mt. Bethel UMC mission team is currently in Quesimpuco, Bolivia. Each year, a group of men from Marietta, Ga., look forward to spending time together serving the people in this remote Andean village and sharing during devotions. SIFAT’s executive director Tom Corson, administrator Terry Haynes and board member Art Stephenson joined this team. Bert Blanchard, a former team leader, could not go this year, but he has been sending out daily updates he receives from the team to family and former team members. Bert’s updates include photos, descriptions and stories from previous years that will help you understand the landscape and culture of the area. For more information on SIFAT’s work in Quesimpuco, download our latest update here. For the first half of the Mt. Bethel team’s week, click here.
Wednesday, October 28
The team finished the irrigation pipe work that could be completed and are planning to spend more time getting to know the families in the village. They completed the work faster than expected with the help of their new friends. He said there was one woman in particular who was carrying large stones down to support/protect the pipes that no one from the US could keep up with.
They have been enjoying time together in the small-group atmosphere: sharing devotions, cooking meals and playing cards. Wayne Hiott is leading the music and songs. Andy Rogers is leading worship, devotions and setting the tone for their spiritual nourishment.
Today, they were planning to spend more time playing with the kids, and Art Stephenson was to share a devotion with the people of Quesimpcuo about his experience with NASA.
Thanks to the past 20 years of support by SIFAT and mission teams like this one, the kids now have clean drinking water, more nutrition in their diet, a school, a medical clinic, and they get to worship and hear about Jesus Christ. Before, none of these things were possible. You can see the impact in one generation already. The kids are taller and healthier than their parents and have many more opportunities to use their gifts to support a bright future for the village.
Bolivia: Mt. Bethel UMC Team Checks In!
The Mt. Bethel UMC mission team is currently in Quesimpuco, Bolivia. Each year, a group of men from Marietta, Ga., look forward to spending time together serving the people in this remote Andean village and sharing during devotions. SIFAT’s executive director Tom Corson, administrator Terry Haynes and board member Art Stephenson joined this team. Bert Blanchard, a former team leader, could not go this year, but he has been sending out daily updates he receives from the team to family and former team members. Bert’s updates include photos, descriptions and stories from previous years that will help you understand the landscape and culture of the area. For more information on SIFAT’s work in Quesimpuco, download our latest update here.
The team left Atlanta on Friday, October 23, to begin the long journey to Quesimpuco. We have combined Bert’s updates from Saturday through Monday into this first post. Tomorrow, we’ll post the next couple days of updates.
Saturday, October 24
The team made it safely to La Paz after a long overnight flight. Everyone and everything made it through customs, and the group ate breakfast before starting the long road trip. They were able to send the photo below.
Today’s devotion: Our Image is His Image
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26
Bolivia: Mt. Bethel UMC Men in Quesimpuco
Our last Bolivian team of the year is in Quesimpuco this week. Each year, Mt. Bethel UMC takes an all men’s team to this remote area high in the Andes Mountains. John Moxley, a former team member, has received a few phone calls from the team and shared with friends and family what the team has been doing. In Quesimpuco, the only communication available is through a satellite phone or one phone at the town hall. There are no current pictures to accompany this post, but John has done a great job adding details from his personal experiences to explain what the team is experiencing.
Yesterday went better than expected: a long drive, an enjoyable picnic beside a lake with flamingos, and most importantly: no problems! No flats, mechanical issues or overly bad road conditions. Given what they just drove through, this is an accomplishment. They arrived at about 9:15 p.m., and it is, indeed, a tiring drive. The last several hours are very off road, plus being in a car for 11+ hours is just no fun. However, the team had enough energy to unpack and have a devotional. While Carey did the first devo, each team member will have a turn this week. Additionally, Carey set the team up with a daily scripture to read and focus on. Our team is covered up with God’s word, fellowship among themselves, and prayer from you. Great things are bound to happen!
International Mission Teams: 2014 Team Members Needed in Ecuador!
Please join us in helping the children of Ecuador. SIFAT offers you that opportunity now! We need team members on several of our scheduled teams to Ecuador this year. Below, you will find dates for teams that need additional members and a summary of the project. We also have weeks available if you are interested in leading a new team from your church, school or community. Please contact Peggy Walker, SIFAT team coordinator, at email@example.com or 256.396.2015 if you are interested in joining or leading a team in 2014.
Current 2014 teams needing members:
More 2014 teams still needed:
We still need an additional five (5) construction/VBS teams or medical teams between August and November of this year.