By Stan Friedman
CAYAMBE, ECUADOR (October 24, 2014) – Covenant missionaries Joel and Kim Delp say they have been humbled by the commitment of area Covenanters to make sure a home for at-risk children is constructed here.
Members of the Quechua Conference of Covenant Churches, comprised of nine congregations in the region around Cayambe, participated in several “mingas” recently to make sure the project stayed on track. Minga is a term in Quechua, the native language, that means “the coming together as a community for the betterment of all.”
The Delps have been partnering with the Covenant Church of Ecuador on the project as well as a medical clinic. However, they have been able to spend only a couple of days each week in Cayambe since an earthquake in August cut off the main road that runs between that community and Quito, where the Delps live.
Getting to Cayambe can take up to two and a half hours with the return trip later in the day being about an hour and a half, Joel says.
“Thankfully, we have excellent ministry partners who live in Cayambe that we can rely on for the day to day activities of the home construction and working with the local officials to obtain the required permits, agreements and such,” he adds.
But the passion of the people to push the work forward has been inspiring. On one day, 22 people from a single church showed up. ‘The majority were women who were carrying their babies on their backs and carrying pounds worth of dirt, or bricks or rocks,” Kim wrote on the Delps’ blog.
In addition to sharing about the intense work being done by the people, Kim also has been humbled by their graciousness. “Even when I feel I am having a good ‘Spanish Day,’ it is still pretty pathetic. There have been many times that I have made silly language errors and thankfully, our friends here are very forgiving and it usually brings a lot of laughs.”
Joel says the home would not be possible if it had not been for the work of one of the early pastors of the Covenant Church of Ecuador who would come to be known as the “Billy Graham of the Andes.”
Although he didn’t know the Quechua language that was spoken in the area, he spoke through an interpreter and eventually helped plant eight of the nine area churches, Joel said. “His presence will always be felt.”
His autobiography, “Pasion Por La Obra Del Senor” was recently published posthumously.
“The thing about Pastor Jaime Lomas that has always struck me is his humility,” Joel said. “The first time I met him at a national church meeting at the camp in Santo Domingo, we struck up a conversation before we introduced ourselves to one another, so I didn’t realize who he was. A woodworker by trade, he explained to me a good thirty minutes the different styles of doors that we had at the camp and where and how they were made which I found intriguing that he knew so much about doors, before I even realized with whom I was talking.”
Joel added, “The other story that has gone around the Covenant here in Ecuador is that Jaime went to an international conference in another Latin American country one time and word had gotten out that the great Jaime Lomas, the Billy Graham of the Andes, was coming to the conference. People were so excited to finally meet him. But then when he introduced himself, people didn’t believe that it was him because they pictured someone much taller and bigger and more outspoken. Jaime was a small, fairly humble guy, the folks there just couldn’t believe that it was him.”
Henry Burbano, the president of the Covenant Church of Ecuador, said “I think our brother Jaime Lomas brought great blessing to the Covenant churches, preaching in season and out of season, so not only impacting indigenous communities but also mestizos (the mixed-race Ecuadorians who are the predominant group) today can declare that they were trained by our Brother Jaime.”
Lomas lived with Covenant missionaries Jerry and Nancy Reed for a period of time. She recounts his amazing story here.