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This past summer, Glendora Community Church sent a team of 14 volunteers for a two-week Work and Witness trip to the Ecuadorian Andes. The GCC group was charged with building a new facility for the growing Nazarene church in the community of Atapo Santa Cruz at 11,750 feet. The small but popular faith community had quickly outgrown its small one room church, and called upon the volunteer group from Glendora, ranging in age from 18 to 76, to aid in building a new facility. Using the limited resources available to them construction began in earnest, and in just nine short days, the dream of a 60-foot long church became a reality.
While the Nazarene group came to serve, they soon discovered the real treat was in seeing the local community serve along side them. Villagers young and old joined in to help in whatever way possible – similar to a “barn raising” in Middle America. Young children gained experience operating a cement mixer and pushing wheelbarrows, while mothers carrying babies on their backs hauled heavy cinderblocks and hundred-ten pound bags of cement. While the day’s work was mostly construction, the children joined together to sing songs, play games and learn Bible stories in a Vacation Bible School as well.
Once the facilities’ roof had been installed, over 3,000 blocks were set into place and 1860 square feet of concrete was poured to complete the project. Whether rejoicing in English, Spanish, or Quechua the entire team came together on that final day to celebrate with a traditional fried ‘Cuy’ meal. Some of the volunteers were slow to acclimate to the traditional feast, made of Guinea Pig meat, which is considered a delicacy throughout Ecuador, Peru, and Columbia.
One of the volunteers said after being asked how the church building went, “Well, we built a building, but we are just a small piece of Christ’s Church.” What a powerful idea and what a wonderful way to spend some of your summer vacation. Great Job Team.