People from the Mennonite church of Guayaquil, Ecuador, load relief materials on a truck to take to Manta for those affected by recent earthquake. Photo provided. Click on image for high resolution image.

By Danielle Klotz
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

After the Apr. 16 earthquake along the coast of Ecuador, no major damage was reported in communities where Mennonite Mission Network workers serve. According to the BBC News, the death toll continues to rise; a current estimate is 570 people with many more missing and injured.

Currently, responders are attending to the wounded and survivors, and searching for those still missing beneath rubble.

In light of these events and the ongoing aid efforts, Peter Wigginton and Delicia Bravo wrote the following about their current experience living and serving through Mennonite Mission Network with the Ecuador Partnership in Quito, Ecuador:

 

 

Dearest friends and family,

The people here in Ecuador have been suffering through several days of tragedy, but the resolve of the Ecuadorian people is magnificent. We dropped off a box of clothes and provisions at one of the designated pickup points for donations, and there was a line of cars waiting their turn as a chain of people collected the items and passed them along inside, where the ministry of health has been organizing the response effort.
The most impacted areas are about a six-hour drive southwest of us, all the way down the mountains. There are several towns and two main cities, the port of Manta and the city of Portoviejo, each with populations of around 200,000.
We have been in touch with people from Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Ecuatoriana (conference that relates with Rosedale Mennonite Missions) in Manta, Guayaquil, and Portoviejo. One of the sisters from the church in Portoviejo has died, and others lost their homes. Some church buildings are also damaged.
We ask that you continue your prayers for the churches and people along the coast, as well as the Quito Mennonite Church as we seek to know how best to support the people and churches in the most impacted areas.

Kindly and prayerfully,

Peter and Delicia
Bendiciones

__________________________________

In the days since the earthquake, Mission Network workers and staff have been in communication with the Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Ecuatoriana church leaders, Rosedale Mennonite Missions, and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). A group of 10 people from the Guayaquil church left for Manta on Apr. 21 with a truck of basic food and water supplies they purchased to help alleviate suffering. Workers and church members in Quito are making preparations to help former Mission Network worker David Shenk travel to Manta to work with MCC and the churches to plan a medium-term disaster response.

The Ecuador Partnership personnel currently include five international workers and their families sent by Mission Network, and an associate sent by the Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (Christian Mennonite Church of Colombia).

Delicia Bravo and Peter Wigginton, with their daughter, Aliyah, live in Quito, Ecuador, and serve as partnership coordinators for Iglesia Cristiana Anabautista Menonita de Ecuador (Christian Anabaptist Mennonite Church of Ecuador), Mennonite Mission Network, Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia, and Central Plains Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA. They also use their gifts in music, education, and children's and youth ministries in the programs of the Quito Mennonite Church.

Gloria Showalter also serves in Quito with the Quito Mennonite Church's Education for Peace children's program and other ministries with children and youth, including working to form a youth group and supporting youth to develop leadership skills.

Jane and Jerrell Ross Richer and their family work half the year with indigenous church leaders in the Ecuadorian rain forest, focusing on creation care, economic justice, rights of women and children, and community development, and half the year as educators in the United States. Their ministry is embraced by the indigenous association, Consejo de Pueblos y Organizaciones Indígenas Evangélicas de Ecuador (Council of Indigenous Evangelical Peoples and Organizations).

María Helena López from Colombia serves as co-coordinator of Iglesia Cristiana Anabautista Menonita de Ecuador. She also works with spiritual ministries in the Calderón community, especially with Colombian refugees, and supports other ministries of the churches in Ecuador.

"Our hearts go out to all the people impacted by this tragedy," said Linda Shelly, Mennonite Mission Network Latin America director. "Although grateful that the devastation did not reach as far Quito and the Eastern rain forest where we are most involved, we anticipate there will be ways to support the relief efforts on the coast."

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Peter and his wife, Delicia Bravo, live in Quito, Ecuador, with their daughter, Aliyah. They serve as partnership coordinators. They help to maintain the relationships among the partners, and manage partnership roles within Ecuador.



 

 

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