Stuffed with Gratitude

Dear Ones,

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for your support in all its forms; we are truly and deeply grateful. We have much to celebrate!

Day of (Doubled) Giving

On Dec. 2, the United Methodist Church's General Board of Global Ministries will sponsor its second annual Day of Giving and will match the first $1 million donated to missions.

In the first few minutes of Tuesday, Dec. 2, Eastern time (Monday, Dec. 1, 11pm Central), gifts made to our mission, Advance Site #3021288, are pretty likely to be doubled. You may recall that last year our donors gave a staggering $26,000, but only one $500 gift was doubled by GBGM - a vexing, confidence-shaking, disappointment for many of our donors. And us.

One well-connected, well-staffed mission coordinator locked up about half of GBGM's 2013 match money. This year, to try to ensure a more equitable distribution of matching funds, GBGM has laid out new guidelines:

We are cautiously optimistic that this year's Day of Giving will be fairer to mission projects throughout the world. If you are thinking of making an end-of-year gift to help support our mission, please try to do so late on Monday, Dec. 1.

Making a donation involves three easy steps:

  1. Give NowGo to our mission's Advance page at this link 
    (or click the button on the right).
  2. Click on the big red "GIVE NOW" button.
  3. Complete and submit the form.

Global Ministries will allocate the matching funds dollar for dollar up to the first $1 million in gifts to Advance projects received online on Dec. 2 between 12 a.m. and 11:59p.m. EST. A maximum of $2,500 per individual gift to a project will be dispersed as matching funds. A project may receive a maximum of $25,000 in matching funds.

Preheat to 360 Degrees Around the World, Mix Well, and Bake

Five volunteers, hailing from the U.S (Grace Kube, shown at left working with us in 2012), Germany, Austria and Uruguay, have stepped up to run the mission's restaurant, Pan America, from Christmastime to the end of January while we'll be in the U.S.! Three others, from Poland, France, and the States, are still pondering the prospect.

Our helpers will begin arriving in just two weeks. They'll shadow us for a week or so to learn such important tips as where to find Copa's only vendor of parmesan cheese; how to bake at extreme altitude; where and how to buy cooking gas (close to our home, second and fourth Tuesdays between 6 and 7 a.m.); how to light the oven while minimizing the risk of singeing one's eyebrows; and that one can guarantee an influx of customers by trying to eat your own lunch or squeeze in a potty break.

The helpers will need to learn the quirks of living in our house, too: one must catch precious water early in the morning but close the tank valve before leaving, or a slow leak in the pipes will empty the tank in a few hours; what to do when heavy rains force sewerage geysers from the toilet and floor drains; and how to manage when the entire house floods. When we take off, they'll take over. Please pray for them!

Three New Churches; Sub-District Becomes a District

At the upcoming annual meeting of Iglesia Evangelica Metodista de Bolivia (the Methodist Church in Bolivia) three church plants in our area will be declared full-fledged churches. That will bring the number of churches in our region to eight, making the Sub-District of Copacabana a full-fledged district. In announcing this, Bishop Javier Rojas noted that the three new churches are in communities where Mision Fronteras has been working.

One of those communities, the village of Santa Ana, has just begun building a new Methodist church with some support from mission funds. In the small town of Sicuani, another new Methodist church will begin construction in 2015. As always we require that people in these communities contribute at least 25% of the cost in labor and donated (or gathered) building materials such as stone and sand.

Pumped Up: Greenhouses

Mision Fronteras GreenhousesOccasionally we make unannounced visits to the mission's seven greenhouses. Every so often we find barren veggie patches and sun-dried tomatoes on withered vines, choked with weeds.

But last week when Jeff made the rounds, every greenhouse was thriving. Six are attached to schools. At two of those school directors, teachers, and students were tending to plants. One director confirmed that, according to the original agreement, students eat some of the produce, the rest is sold providing cash to buy chalk and paper, and a contribution to the roof replacement fund (the harsh Andean sun disintegrates plastic roofs in four or five years).

Bearing photos and a gratified glow, Jeff breezed back into Pan America and shared the happy news with me and a couple of travelers from Seattle. The travelers paid for their lunch and handed us $200 to "keep up the good work!" Zounds! What a fabulous day! 

You can view more photos on the DGFUMC Flickr page.

Home for the Holidays; Will Talk for Food & Shelter

As noted earlier, we'll be back in the States for Christmas with our families. In January we'll be available to talk with individuals and church groups interested in hearing about our mission's projects; despair, hope and faith among poor, indigenous Andeans; sustainable aid projects; how free handouts hurt poor people and how partnered investments can help; volunteer opportunities; or anything else we could address that folks would like to learn about.

The hitch is that we don't have a home, a car, or incomes. If you or your church would like us to speak, we'll need to set dates and make thrifty travel and lodging arrangements as soon as possible. Rest assured: we'll be very low-impact house guests - we'll even bring our own sheets and towels.

Please let us know!

Again, Happy Thanksgiving!

Love and hugs,
Debbie and Jeff

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