Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Delicia Bravo Aguilar and Peter Wigginton of Mennonite Mission Network were shopping for supplies for a Quito Mennonite Church project on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 9, when they noticed that traffic was becoming denser and more frantic in Quito, Ecuador’s capital city. Shopkeepers were shuttering their windows and locking their doors. Radio announcements requested that parents pick up their children from school immediately. Happily, Aliyah and Ariana were in the taxi with their parents, as the children are being home-schooled this year.

The panic resulted from President Daniel Noboa’s declaration of a state of “internal armed conflict” in response to masked gunmen breaking into a live television broadcast. This action was part of an increase in violence throughout the country after two of Ecuador's most powerful drug gang leaders escaped from prison a few days ago. There have been explosions near the homes of government authorities, as well as killings and kidnappings of police officers. Noboa had already declared a national state of emergency on Monday, Jan. 8, that “gives the military free reign within the bounds of international human rights” and establishes an 11 p.m. – 5 a.m. curfew, Wigginton said in a phone call Tuesday night, after he finished a Zoom prayer meeting with Mennonite church leaders throughout the country.

FEINE, the council of Indigenous churches in Ecuador, also held a prayer meeting on Jan. 9 in response to the country’s crisis. Join their plea to be “constant in prayer and unity. Organize to overcome this crime, and this social, economic and security crisis that plagues us in 2024.”

Wigginton requests prayer for:

  • The people of Ecuador, especially those who are living along the Pacific coast, “who are feeling the brunt of the violence.”

  • Wise decisions to be made by government authorities.

  • Restraint in the use of martial law.

  • That the peace-building curriculum Mission Network and its partners have been promoting through conferences, publications and workshops will have a long-term positive impact in creating a more just and peaceful country.

Alexandra Meneses of Quito Mennonite Church shared in a WhatsApp group of the Movement of Anabaptist Women doing Theology from Latin America: “Sisters, we pray for the armed groups, the criminal groups and all these groups that are now the enemies of the country. [She names many of the drug-related gangs.] We can cry out for God's grace and love to reach them.”

Please add your prayers to those of our workers and partners in Ecuador.

 

 

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