Update #1 filled you in on our personal lives and home life.
Update #2 filled you in on La Fuente – the church plant that is the beginning of a movement of church planting.
Update #3 – What’s going on with Cotopaxi Training Center?
A BIT OF HISTORY
About 6 years ago we purchased 3 acres of land that sits in an agricultural valley with a spectacular view of Cotopaxi, a snow covered volcano (see map “Cotopaxi). The property is also on the Pan American highway, giving easy access from anywhere in Ecuador. Many of you have given financially or worked physically on this property to build a training center for Ecuadorian pastors and leaders. We’re in this TOGETHER!
Chris, Janet, and Elijah Nevins lived on the property as the training center was being constructed (Chris overseeing the construction). Most of you remember the forced entry and robbery that took place at their cost. Many of you have continued praying for them and have asked how they are doing as they returned to the states. We are happy to report that they are doing well and continuing in the ministry of Fuel the Mission.
We then concentrated on building a wall around the property in order to secure it. This is now complete as well as buildings that are also secured. Thank you especially to Matthias’ Lot church for all their visits and hard work, and Red Door Church for helping us to secure the property and make it more beautiful!
Our goal has been that CTC would be sustainable – providing food for all who come for training, retreats, or short term missions. Good friends and neighbors, Juan and Maria, have been living on the property and helping us to farm the land. We have been on a learning curve as the altitude, arid climate, and other natural factors continue to cause production problems that need to be solved. Still – we are now harvesting veggies every week, pretty much year round. Steve has also started an aquaponics system which is still in the experimental stage, but on it’s way! There are already guinea pigs (cuy), and rabbits being raised at CTC for sale and for consumption. We will add chickens (both egg providing and meat providing) soon. This, plus the fish used for the aquaponics system, will provide the protein to go with the veggies for CTC students and visitors.
The training center now has a kitchen, dining/meeting area, men’s and women’s bathrooms/showers, and bunks to sleep 30+ people. It has already been used to host La Fuente retreats and training seminars, as well as teams coming down from the U.S.
As you read in our previous posts, step #1 toward utilizing the center for training was to plant a church that the training would be rooted in, founded in, and church planters sent from. La Fuente (planted in Quito) is on its way toward being Ecuadorian led and ready to take on Ecuadorian interns as part of the training process for church planters. The goal is that men would spend half the year at Cotopaxi Training Center (in Lasso) for intense biblical study, and then the other half of the year at La Fuente (in Quito) to intern and train in the practical aspects of church planting. They will then be sent out in teams to plant churches.
For those of you who have been following us for several years, you might wonder what happened to IBCI – the training program that goes to those who cannot leave to get formal biblical training. We are continuing on with that under a new banner that will also be rooted and founded in the local church (La Fuente) and led by trained local church leaders (all over Ecuador).
As Steve begins a process of backing out of the “Lead Pastor” role at La Fuente, he will step into the role of administrating CTC in Lasso. This is the next step in the process.
Just this week we broke ground at CTC for a small house to build for just the two of us. Now this may not sound exciting to you, but we have only had our own space to live in for 2 of the past 16 years. We have loved the community living, have been challenged and stretched as our hearts have been laid open. It has been a good way to mature in Christ. But, the thought of our own (what we have dubbed) “Little House on the Prairie” sounds pretty wonderful about now! We will initially go back and forth between Lasso and Quito (half the week in each place) until the leadership reins are passed into the hands of the next pastor at La Fuente. We are incredibly humbled to have Karl and Paula Hatrak volunteering the month of August to come and help finish off the interior of the house – meaning we hope to be in it by September.
This is an exciting time of fruit bearing here, as we see the hand of God bringing all things together. We thank God for His faithfulness! We thank God for each one of YOU who have teamed with us in prayer and finances as we continue forward to what He has called us to.
With our shoulder to the plough and our trust in Him,
Steve and Sandi
Just a note…we have suffered pretty large losses of finances these past few years with the economic downfall in the U.S. We are consistently trying to run all the ministries here on about $700 a month LESS than we had a few years ago. The ministries have multiplied, but the finances have dwindled. Please consider helping us to continue to reach out to our Ecuadorian brothers and sisters by joining us with financial support.
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