Friday, January 31, 2014

Beautiful songs by Jesús Adrian Romero - Gospel Friday Countdown

In the earlier Gospel Friday Countdown posts I have shared my old and new favorites.

But what I have not shared is the music that I have all around me.

The rhytms that I live with.

It was quite a change for me at first.

Still stiff from the freezing cold of Finland, just thawing with the equatorial sun, I encountered the latin rhytms.

A Amazonic Kichwa girl dancing Cumbia.

And not just encoutered them but I was thrown at their mercy.

It was hard and I did not adjust well at first.

It actually took me years to find my new favorites.

This musician is very famous around the Spanish speaking world.

His music is very international, there isn't much of latin flavor, he is much more praise oriented.

A girl dancing Mariachi at Tena's festivities.
But that was the familiarity that touched my heart and opened it to Christian Latin Music.

I actually found him by accident.

I was driving from Quito to Baeza and stopped by a department store to buy some things that you can't get from Baeza.

There I saw a little Christian Bookstore hidden in a corner.

I decided to go inside and see if there was something that I would like to buy.

And, missing music and something to listen to during the trip, I asked for Christian music.
A youth group dancing Bomba from Valle de Chota.

The clerk told me that the best thing they had was Jesús Adrian Romero and she showed me various CD from the same artist.

I picked one, just by chance, and it has been my favorite since then.

I hope you learn to love his music as much as I have.

5. Tienen Tu Color (They have Your Color)

I thought You had forgotten all the things I asked for.

All the songs I wrote to You.

But I noticed, they have been there, they have been remembered.

And in your time You will give me what is the best.
All my dreams have Your color.

They have Your heartbeat and I want nothing without Your guidance.

All my dreams have Your cadency and Your rhythm.

4. Niña de Tus ojos (Apple of Your eyes)

You saw me when no one saw me.

You loved me when no one loved me.

You gave me a name.

I am the apple of Your eye, because You loved me.

You gave me a name, I am the apple of Your eye, because You loved me.

I love You more than my own life, so much more.

 3. Si hubiera estado allí (If I had been there)

 If I had been there.

Among the people who asked for your death, who crucified you.

I have to admit I would have hammered your hands to that cross, if I had been there.

Thinking it through, I was there too.

I was the one who spit on you, I was the one who hurt your side.

I was the one who gave you the crown of pain and thorns.

I was there too.

Yes, I was there too.

2. Sólo pienso en Tí (I only think about You)

Because of Your love You left the Heaven and descended to the cross.

You didn't care about the pain because of me.

You didn't care about the consequences.

You only thought about me.

I only think of You on that cross.

I want to live under the wings of Your love.

You have become my obsession.

You are my gravity, my sun.

1. Ayer Te ví... Fue más claro que la luna (I saw You yesterday... It was clearer than the moon)

I saw You yesterday and it was clearer than the moon.

I have no doubts, it was an aprarition.

My heart has leapt, when I saw You.

After I searched You so much, in prayer asking to see Your face.

I saw You in a child on the street, I saw You in his hands, asking for a bread, I saw You in his faltering smile.

I saw You yesterday.

O God, my hope, my heavenly rest

6-8s. Exodus xxxiii. 18 - 23.

1 O GOD, my hope, my heavenly rest,
My all of happiness below,
Grant my importunate request,
To me, to me, thy goodness show;
Thy beatific face display,
The brightness of eternal day. 

2 Before my faith's enlightened eyes
Make all thy gracious goodness pass;
Thy goodness is the sight I prize,
O might I see thy smiling face!
Thy nature in my soul proclaim,
Reveal thy love, thy glorious name! 

3 There, in the place beside thy throne,
Where all that find acceptance stand,
Receive me up into thy Son;
Cover me with thy mighty hand;
Set me upon the rock, and hide
My soul in Jesu's wounded side. 

4 O put me in the cleft; empower
My soul the glorious sight to bear!
Descend in this accepted hour,
Pass by me, and thy name declare;
Thy wrath withdraw, thy hand remove,
And show thy self the God of love. 

Charles Wesley

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Strong desires

We are starting a teacher training on Monday.

Here in Ecuador, due to recent changes, there is a two weeks vacation from the schools at the beginning of February.

So, at FACE (Fundación Adelanto Comunitario Ecuatoriano, local partner to Finnish Free Evangelical Church for which I work) we're trying to make the best of the time and use it for teacher trainings.
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. 
C. S. Lewis

Education department agreed for us to do an inclusive teaching training for teachers from 5th till 10th year of education (4th till 9th grade).

And we have a whole month to work with Special Education teachers.

These teachers aren't really Special Education teachers, some of them aren't even teachers but just High School graduates.
“Faith’s most severe tests come not when we see nothing, but when we see a stunning array of evidence that seems to prove our faith vain.” 
Elisabeth Elliot

They all have severe reading comprehension problems and difficulties in logical thinking.

So, how come they are working in Special Education?

Because before 2011, when we started to work with Napo Province's Bilingual Intercultural Education Department, there did not exist Special Education in the bilingual (indigenous) teaching system.

The students with special needs stayed at their homes, hidden, ashamed, afraid, and abandoned.
Life provides losses and heartbreak.  But the greatest tragedy is to have the experience and miss the meaning.  I am determined not to miss that meaning.
Robin Roberts

I have so many heartbreaking stories of children and youth crawling on the floor, eating like animals, hidden in closets, bind with ropes, beaten, abused, and unable to ask for help or mercy.

In Amazonic Kichwa culture disabled people are supay wawa, demon children, born from a woman and a demon, sent to torture and damage the people around them.
But I have witnesses, O Israel, says the Lord!  You are my witnesses and my servants, chosen to know and to believe me and to understand that I alone am God.  There is no other God; there never was and never will be.  I am the Lord, and there is no other Savior.
Isaiah 43:10-11
The Living Bible

Or they are ghosts, souls of tortured people, raised from the grave, who have killed the real baby in the womb.

Only way to dispose a child like this is burn them alive or bury them alive next to a river.

There are no Kichwa Special Educators, because no Kichwa would have wanted to study to teach a child with special needs.
One of the most powerful concepts, one which is a sure cure for lack of confidence, is the thought that God is with you and helping you.  This is one of the simplest teachings in religion, namely, that Almighty God will be your companion, will stand by you, help you, and see you through.  No other idea is so powerful in developing self-confidence as this simple belief when practiced.  To practice it simply affirm "God is with me; God is helping me; God is guiding me."  Spend several minutes each day visualizing his presence.  Then practice believing that affirmation.
Norman Vincent Peale

It has been a long and painful road, but people are changing, the attitudes are changing, and there is hope for these children.

There are over 40 Special Education teachers in our program in Napo province.

And we are working with over 400 children and youth with special needs.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.
James 1:22
The New International Version

The teachers might not have graduated from a University but they have learned that God loves ALL the children.

They have understood that God has a special love for those who no one else loves, those who are the smallest of the smallest, the most insignificant of all.

And they have brought children to the sun, children who were hidden in holes in the soil.
Christianity must mean everything to us before it can mean anything to others.
Donald Soper

They have taught their students to walk; they have been there to hear them talk, to see how they eat with a spoon for the first time in their lives.

They have been there when a youth who used to wet him and throw stones to other people, smiles at them and calls them by name, and gives them a hug.

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:  "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.  Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!  Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets."
Luke 6:20-23
The English Standard Version

Kichwa culture is communal.

Everything affects the community.

Everything revolves around the community.

Before the disabled people were seen as a threat to the community.

Now they are seen as a part of community.
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
Jim Elliot

And what is part of the community must be integrated, included in the life of community.

And those who are members of the community must be helped, their live must be made, sumak kawsay, good life.

When I go to a community where a baby was burned just four years ago and see the people taking care of their disabled community members.
How far away is heaven? It is not so far as some imagine. It wasn’t very far for Daniel. It was not so far off that Elijah’s prayer, and those of others could not be heard there. Men full of the Spirit can look right into heaven.
Dwight L. Moody

Worrying about their happiness, health and safety.

Looking together into solutions and ways to improve their lives.

It's not just the people with disability that have found a new life, it is the community.
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
Psalm 68:3
The New International Version

Together we have found God who healed the blind man and made the lame walk.

God who told us to love everyone and take care of the most insignificant person.

God who said that it is not the fault of the parents, nor the person who is disabled.

God who gave us life and freed us all to live it. 

Thought for today


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wenesday facts

Today is Wednesday. It's no Friday but it's not Monday, either.

To honor the fact that we are in the middle of week, I will tell you five facts of life, about me or someone else, faith, world and existence in general.

And what I want from you, my readers?

I want to know about you! 

Leave me your facts, so I can enjoy reading them!

They can also be about you, your life or anything you find fascinating in this world or in the world beyond.

Today I want to share you about something that is very close to my heart, Compassion.
 Follow the Compassion Bloggers in Uganda

1. Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. Founded by the Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952, Compassion began providing Korean War orphans with food, shelter, education and health care, as well as Christian training. Today, Compassion helps more than 1.2 million children in 26 countries. There are children sponsored through Compassion also in Ecuador. I have had the opportunity to share both with the children and their parents. Your sponsorship can make a huge difference in a child’s life. You can find out more about Compassion here.

2. A team of Compassion Bloggers will be in Uganda from January 27 through January 31, 2014, marking our fifth year of blogging for children in poverty. Throughout this week you will experience a unique glimpse of what it is like to live in this beautiful African country through their words, photos, videos and tweets. You can see who the blogger are and follow them here.

3. Compassion Bloggers celebrates five years of releasing children from poverty by returning to Uganda – the first country we visited together. They travel from war-torn northern Uganda to a slum community in Kampala and share the journey through story, video and photos. You can follow them on Twitter here. 

4. The Goal of Compassion's trip to Uganda is to get 400 Children Sponsored. Together we will release 400 children from poverty. Your sponsorship provides a child with education, healthcare, nutrition and the gospel. If you want to sponsor a child in Uganda click here.

5. Would you like to do something to help these kids and raise awareness? How about blogging for Compassion? Blogging about children in poverty can be a simple but powerful way to raise awareness for the most vulnerable and needy children in the world. If you want to know more, click here.

Now it's your turn!

Compassion Bloggers celebrates five years of releasing children from poverty by returning to Uganda – the first country we visited together. Join us January 27-31 as we travel from war-torn northern Uganda to a slum community in Kampala and share the journey through story, video and photos.  - See more at:
Compassion Bloggers celebrates five years of releasing children from poverty by returning to Uganda – the first country we visited together. Join us January 27-31 as we travel from war-torn northern Uganda to a slum community in Kampala and share the journey through story, video and photos.  - See more at:
Compassion Bloggers celebrates five years of releasing children from poverty by returning to Uganda – the first country we visited together. Join us January 27-31 as we travel from war-torn northern Uganda to a slum community in Kampala and share the journey through story, video and photos.  - See more at: