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. 

SIFAT teams have been helping the people of Quesimpuco for almost two decades. Within this beautiful landscape, daily life is a struggle with harsh obstacles. But, the people are improving their lives with education and opportunity! We are seeing a generation of young adults returning to serve their own people.

Saturday Update

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 or 256.396.2015 if you are interested in joining or leading a team in 2014.

This year, SIFAT teams will return to Villa Flora to begin work on the third floor of Pastor Rafael and Anita’s church. Teams built the first two floors in 2009 and 2010.

Current 2014 teams needing members:

  • 5/10 – 5/17 – University of Southern Mississippi Wesley Foundation – 4 spots for college students
  • 6/28 – 7/6 – Multi-church team led by Bill Etheridge, Aldersgate UMC, Huntsville – 6-7 spots for any age
  • 7/26-8/2 – Calera UMC, Calera, Ala.- 8-9 spots for any age
  • Doctors and nurse practitioners are also needed on several medical teams this year.

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.

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Learn & Serve: Birmingham Youth Support SIFAT Training Graduate in Nigeria!

Pastor Ogbatabo is a pseudonym for one of our SIFAT graduates and trainers in Nigeria. Because of his work in a violent area, we want to protect his identity for his safety. Pastor Ogbatabo submitted a proposal to SIFAT, which was approved as a SIFAT international project. 

SIFAT’s Learn & Serve department pledged to help Pastor Ogbatabo fund his project through educating North American youth on the issue of smoke inhalation around the world and allowing them the chance to partner with SIFAT through financial contributions.  Several L&S staff members and leaders from various participating groups have contributed.  One inspiring story of a group committing to fund Pastor Ogbatabo’s project comes from Canterbury United Methodist Church of Birmingham, Alabama.

When students from Canterbury UMC met Pastor Ogbatabo while at SIFAT during Summer 2013, they decided they wanted to sponsor his project in Nigeria. After telling their friends and parents about Pastor Ogbatabo and his work, they decided to take up an offering once a month at their Sunday night youth program.

Canterbury UMC students keep a tally of the amount raised each month on their prayer (chalkboard) wall in a drawing of the rocket stove.

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Ecuador: First 2013 Medical Team

Last week, we posted about this year’s first international mission team from the Auburn University Schools of Building Science and Nursing. You can read about the construction part of the team working in Puengasí here. Just as a reminder, Jeff Etheridge of Auburn University Photographic Services documented the trip. In case you missed our updates on Facebook, here are links to the Facebook albums Jeff posted: Quito, Ecuador, Building Science & Nursing Team, Middle of the World, Nursing team in Marianitas, Building Science team in Puengasí (you can find all of the photos posted below and more in these albums!).

Before leaving Miller Hall, the team along with friends, faculty members and families joined to pray for their trip and those they would be serving.

The medical component of the team served in Marianitas with SIFAT graduate Pastor Mario. These nursing, pharmacy and nursing practitioner students and faculty held a women’s health clinic. Not only did the women have physical exams, but they also attended an educational seminar taught by the nursing students. Of course, the team also held VBS for the project’s children and some children from the community.

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Ecuador: First 2013 team returns!

Our first team of the year spent their spring break from Auburn University serving the communities of Puengasí and Marianitas in Quito, Ecuador. The Schools of Nursing and Building Science took a combined team of 35 students and faculty, including three pharmacy students and a pharmacy alumna. This year, Jeff Etheridge of Auburn University Photographic Services took photos and video of the team. In case you missed our updates on Facebook, here are links to the Facebook albums Jeff posted: Quito, Ecuador, Building Science & Nursing Team, Middle of the World, Nursing team in Marianitas, Building Science team in Puengasí (you can find all of the photos posted below and more in these albums!).

On Sunday, the Auburn University Schools of Nursing and Building Science attended church at Agua de Vida and took a tour of Mama Yoli’s House, both of which were built by SIFAT teams.

In this post, we’ll focus on the building science component that served in Puengasí, an urban neighborhood of Quito. SIFAT teams have worked in here for the past two years building an addition SIFAT graduate Pastor Oswaldo’s church. This addition will be used for their after school programs and community outreach. In a later post, we will share about the nursing team’s women’s clinic held at SIFAT graduate Pastor Mario’s church in Marianitas.

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