A Baptism in Quito
We are exploring getting a hall again, likely on the north end of Quito, where about 85% of the members are.
My company gives its employees the week of July 4th off, and this year my kids had other plans (the temerity!) So they gently cajoled me to find my own friends and activities, which allowed me to drop down to Ecuador for a week. Bro. Ruben Barboza from Cordoba, Argentina, also had some flexibility that week and agreed to fly up to meet with me.
We visited, saw most of the brothers and sisters, and did a few other things.
On the first Saturday afternoon, we hosted a “panoramic view of the Bible” for members and interested friends, as we had several out-of-towners and first-timers. We spent the afternoon starting from Genesis to integrate all our various doctrines and beliefs into a broader coherent narrative. We had good participation from everyone.
On Sunday, we held the memorial service meeting in person at the hotel we’ve used for the last five or six years, and had a pretty solid group attend, including a few new visitors. For the lecture/study, we broke into groups and did a deep dive into the women in Matthew 1 (the reading for that day), with each group presenting their conclusions at the end.
For most of the week, Ruben and I traveled around Quito, having 2–3-hour meetings with the brothers and sisters. Bro. Rodrigo, the de facto recording brother, was recently laid off and is looking for other work or options. He probably had the longest/toughest brush with COVID of anyone who didn’t succumb (20 days on respirator), and the last few years have been rough. But he’s focused now on pulling the ecclesia together and doing what we can. He is married to Sis. Jeanneth, daughter of Bro. and Sis. Galo & Ana.
One evening, Sis. Fabiola and I interviewed Rosa Duchi, Bro. Manuel’s second daughter. She came through the SS and CYC while we were there in 2003-2008 and then was mostly disconnected from us for about a decade before returning more recently. She was baptized that afternoon. The Duchi’s are a large family, and God willing this baptism will be the start of the second and third generations committing to Christ.
On Wednesday, we went down to Ambato with Bre. Diego and Fredy and visited with Bro. Vinicio and his family, and on Thursday morning, we climbed Carihuairazo (16,000 feet) with Vinicio and his son before returning that evening.
The two largest families in Quito (descendants and family of Bro. & Sis Galo & Ana and Sis. Clemencia) are now meeting regularly in person. God willing, we are exploring getting a hall again, likely on the north end of Quito, where about 85% of the members are. They are moving cautiously but ideally, they would find something in the Fall. After many years of ecclesial fragmentation and COVID, this is very encouraging.
The first group in Quito was baptized twenty years ago this fall. At the time, most of them were close to retirement, meaning the group is now anywhere from 75 to 90 years old. We saw them all during this visit, but meeting in person is challenging.