Pan de Vida (Bread of Life) is a charity which exists to serve the poor of Quito in Ecuador.
In a ‘normal’ week the Pan de Vida house sees over 400 men, women and children who come for physical and spiritual nourishment. On 16th April 2016 a severe earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, struck the Pacific coastal region of Ecuador. As a result:
660 people lost their lives.
73,000 people were displaced of whom 33,000 remain homeless.
7,000 buildings were destroyed and 560 schools have been damaged.
The earthquake caused massive destruction to the coastal areas and several strong aftershocks. Many hundreds of people now live outdoors in makeshift tents with no protection against mosquitoes or the heat. They have no running water or sanitation and very little food.
Pan de Vida immediately called for emergency supplies and food from their supporters and contacts. Two loads of food, water and other essentials were dispatched during May to the earthquake zone. The costs were met by specific donations. The aid was distributed through Pan de Vida’s contacts with local churches in the area. 692 families have received help and 1319 ’emergency kits’ (food, water, nappies and other baby items) were distributed.
The VISA team from Fulwood will help to distribute another shipment when they visit the area in August. They will join a group of teenagers from Quito with whom they will run a short children’s programme for displaced youngsters.
2016 is proving to be a very busy year for Cedar House. If current trends continue, we will have seen more new clients than ever this year. Cedar House offers counselling to approximately 120 different clients, each one offered up to 18 sessions.
Counselling gives opportunity for clients to be heard as long-buried difficulties are brought into the light. Clients with recent traumas and loss can feel very isolated and in darkness. At Cedar House clients are not told what to do, but have the chance to overcome their problems by working through them with their counsellor.
Far from being cold and clinical, Cedar House is described as a calm, friendly and tranquil place. Clients are often surprised to be offered a cup of tea or coffee while they wait in a comfortable room. Most clients and volunteers tell us how different we are to other services they have experienced. We believe this difference is because the presence of the Holy Spirit is at work through us, bringing the light of Christ into the darkness.
Cedar House welcomes trainee counsellors from all over the North West. Students from Southport, Lancaster, Blackburn, as well as from Preston College and UCLan work with us, 24 of them at the last count! We are often told we are one of the best places to do a placement because we are so supportive and well organised.
Cedar House has a wonderful team of volunteer counsellors, client assessors and welcomers, we couldn’t do this work on our very limited income without their dedication.
We are so grateful that Fulwood Free Methodist Church supports us with funding from the Global Partnerships Budget. Thank you for helping us continue this much needed work.
Thank you for the gifts you give throughout the year for our overseas mission partners.
Here are letters of thanks and updates from the projects we have supported in our last two Christmas Gift Days.
Christmas Gift Day 2015 – Hope for Girls Mulchera; Maharashtra, India
“This gift is a huge blessing. I’ve been praying for this project for ages. Your gift will change the lives of the children and the support staff there. I am so thankful to your church for your generosity toward these underprivileged children. May God continue to bless you all manifold. Please uphold us in your prayers. Today I heard more good news from this area – our staff went to dig the bore well for water and hit the water at just 65 feet, which is almost unbelievable. We are using funds from ‘Clear Blue’ for the water project. I know the LORD has some plan for this place because He has connected us to these children. Please convey our sincere gratitude to all the congregation at Fulwood.”
Shirish Ahaley—Dyanand Foundation
Christmas 2014 – Udgir Church Property, Maharashtra, India
Greetings! Today, 27th Nov 2015, the Udgir property documents were completed and transferred to the Western India Conference of the Free Methodist Church. This is a wonderful answer after 9 years of prayer. God is good and His faithfulness endures forever. Thank you for your prayers and sacrifices to raise the money. I very grateful to you, along with Udgir Church and Day Care Children. The children were tired of changing their meeting place every 11 months – now they have found a shelter. No one will remove them from this property. The church and ministry will grow. Today a 17-year-old girl possessed with a demon came to the pastor’s house. She was violent but she received deliverance in the name of Jesus. All glory to God.”
Moses Awarde — Superintendent Western India Conference
Dave Brown on behalf of the Gobal Partnerships Ministry Team
When I recently prepared a display for Big Prayer Tuesday showing FFMC’s most recent involvement in mission I was amazed at the places people had visited and the work in which they had been involved. On a full time basis there is Sheila Etherington in Rwanda, Janet Chapman with Overseas Missionary Fellowship, and Savannah Da Silva Watkins with Operation Mobilisation.
People have been visiting Rwanda regularly, working with staff and students at the hospital as well as Kibogora Polytechnic, where they teach, preach, lecture and share their various areas of expertise. In 2014 a VISA team from our church visited Kibogora, an experience which left team members changed and challenged.
Individuals have visited Austria, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Madagascar, Rwanda, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, where they were involved in children’s work, youth training programmes, healthcare, sports outreach and reaching out to the Roma Gypsy people and their growing church.
In 2016 a VISA team will go to Quito, Ecuador to serve with Pan de Vida, a Christian group working with people with economic, educational and spiritual needs.
But who are these amazing people? Quite simply, they people just like you: adults, teens, OAPs, single, married – ready to use whatever talents they have to serve others and share in the church’s mission to preach the gospel.
So what about you? Is God calling you to step out to try something new and challenging during 2016? The Global Partnership team are here to help. Between us we have experience of long and short-term mission. We’d love to provide you with advice and encouragement.
If you are already planning an overseas venture, please let us know so we can support you, and ensure that the church is informed and praying for you.
In September Dan Feeny highlighted the issues of human trafficking and modern day slavery – you can read more about this in Heart magazine. One country where trafficking happens is India; our partners at the Mumbai Free Methodist Church run projects to educate, protect and rescue children from exploitation. ‘Hope for Girls’ in Mulchera, Maharashtra, is a new venture for the church’s outreach arm called ‘The Dyanand Foundation’.
The Foundation works with a group of 150 girls living in a village about 300 miles from Mumbai. These girls will receive education and learn new skills without which they will be married as teenagers to older men, or trafficked into Mumbai to work in dreadful circumstances. The Foundation has secured funds from the Clear Blue Global Water project so clean water from new bore holes is now available in the village. The Foundation is also working with Free Methodist Child Care Ministries to gain long-term support for these girls.
Our gifts this Christmas day will provide clothes, school materials, health check-ups, education on trafficking, buffalos for milk and a fishery project. A project coordinator/evangelist will be employed to work in the village for the year. It will also fund weekends away when the girls will attend camps where the good news of Jesus is shared with them and they will learn more about the Christian faith.
The Foundation’s prayer is that the village will soon see a significant number of people becoming Christians as a result of this project. Our aim is to raise £6,300 on Christmas Day to support this project (£37 for each girl) to enable the Foundation to make real progress. Thank you for all your gifts over the past years on our Christmas Gift Day which have made a significant difference in advancing the Kingdom of God in India.