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March, 2017

Kitchener, ON, Canada

Our first official newsletter for our American & Canadian friends!

It is a joy to greet you and we are thrilled to share with you our latest news.


Restoration & Renewal

We are writing you from Kitchener, Canada, where we enjoy our Sabbatical Leave. As never before we are dealing a lot with lost mittens and hats and too low temperatures! Nevertheless, we recognize that God has placed us here for a reason!

We have been missionaries for over a decade (Donata for more than 2 decades) and the last 8 years we have been serving the Quichua people group in Riobamba, Ecuador. Back then, we were given the challenge to re-open a Bible School, which eventually became the seminary SEMILA. Now, we have seen the ministry flourishing because of God’s favor and blessings, and because He mobilized many people across the globe (like you!) to be part of this ministry.

After the loss of our baby-girl Mikaela we noticed that things weren’t as easy as usual. Donata dealt a lot with fatigue and stress, and we both felt that we were on the edge of a burn-out. Thankfully, the Board of Directors of SEMILA gave us the opportunity to have a Sabbatical Leave in order to regain our strength and be refreshed by the Holy Spirit. What a huge blessing! I must say that we both feel refreshed, and God has restored our passion for the ministry and missions.

Last January, Nestor was asked by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of SEMILA to retake the presidency of SEMILA. He holds weekly meetings with the team, and visits the seminary on a regular basis.


What Does the Future Holds for Us?

We are excited to share that we will return to Ecuador this coming summer to continue the mission among the Quichua’s. The need for Theological and Pastoral Education is still key for advancing the Kingdom in those small churches across the Andes Mountain and the low-income pastors and church leaders. 


We are praying:

• To become Career Missionaries for the Church of God. We always had the status of COG Associate Missionaries. For Career Missionaries more emphasis is placed on retirement planning, education, healthcare etc. We take these matters seriously.

• To initiate the programs of the Intercultural Missions Center “IMC”. IMC offers 3 programs for American/Canadian students who want to serve God's love among the poor, and/or have a calling to become missionaries. These are the programs: (1) 3-month Discipleship Program, (2) Internship Opportunities, and (3) A Minor in Dynamic Missionary Work.

• To continue to strengthen and improve the Latin American Intercultural Seminary.


Through our webpage (www.indigenous-minsitries.com) and newsletters we would love to keep you posted, and we really want to encourage you to be part of this ministry! Together we can reach out and build God’s Kingdom among the Quichua and the poor in Ecuador. It is NOT our mission, but HIS mission!


We like to express our sincere gratitude to those of you who have been sponsoring us and the ministry!! 


May God bless each one of you and your family!

Nestor & Donata, Jedidia & Joshua

September, 2017

Riobamba, Ecuador

Dear friends,


Back on the mission field!! 

It has been a month since we returned to Riobamba, and it has been wonderful! The SEMILA team and students received us warmly with a nice lunch. Also, our church prepared a nice dinner and welcome service for us. It was so good to see every one back again!


It has been a month with mixed feelings. First of all we had to leave behind our friends, family and church communities in Canada, the States, and Holland. Jedidia said “I have friends in every country and city, and I wish that we could all just live in one city and speak the same language!”

The children did very good during the transition. Once we were in Riobamba, they were eager to see their old friends. They enjoy playing outdoors all the time. Joshua forgot 95% of his Spanish, but he is rapidly remembering most words and catching up.


What did we do this first month... 

This month we had to re-organize everything. Donata was busy with cleaning each corner of the house. Hopefully all spiders and other creeping things are gone! Getting the kids back into school requires some work. Buying uniforms and school supplies is always time-consuming. Here, the parent have to buy all the material for the whole school year, including toiletpaper and hand soap!

Nestor has been continuing to proceed the Seminary (SEMILA). Meetings with the team and students. SEMILA is getting ready for the graduation of 56 students!! We are proud of each student who completed their studies. It is a blessing to know that they will continue to spread the Word and to minister in different cities and communities throughout Ecuador. We are also getting ready for the annual International Board Meeting which well be held in October.

We want to applaud the SEMILA team for doing such a great job during our absence!! They did a tremendous job! God has been faithful and all ministries are continuing to flourish! (check out this website to see all ministries).


Our neighbors were also eager to see us back again. One of the ladies gave her live to the Lord, and has joined our church. The youth of our church organized a wonderful VBS program…Jedidia & Joshua took all hood-friends with them. Such a blessing!


The Ministry in Toronto

The ministry “Communidad de Esperanza” we started in Toronto is continuing under the leadership of Pastor Pablo Makita and Pastor Josue Cameros. It’s a joy to see the ministry expanding. Instead of using a small room, they have moved the service to the bigger sanctuary. Praise God! Next week we will receive Karla Leonor in Riobamba. She is a volunteer from Kitchener, Canada! 


We thank God for His goodness and care for our family during this last year, and during this transition. With joy we follow and serve Him who has called us to this ministry. Please, continue to pray for us and we are still settling down. The kids just started school, and they will need to catch up big time.


We pray God’s blessings and protection over your life.


Love & hugs,

Nestor, Donata, Jedidia & Joshua 

October, 2017

Riobamba, Ecuador

Testimony

When he was young, just converted to the Lord, and full of passion, brother Teopanta was invited to explain his new found Chrstian belief in a Catholic community. Little did he know that the peasants had set up a trap for him. They kidnapped him, and took him hostage for a couple of days. They collected materials to make a big fire…a lot of people were watching, and finally they decided to trow brother Teopanta in the flames. Meanwhile bro. Teopanta thought of Daniel & the three young man who had survived the fiery flames of the oven. Didn’t he serve this same powerful God? The peasants threw him on top of the flames…and instantly the flames extinguished!! Indeed, we serve a powerful God! Bro. Teopanta became one of the pioneers who brought the Gospel to many Quichua villages. He planted churches and his passion for the Gospel still remains very much alive in him. (see first picture above on the left).


VII Graduation

Pastor Teopanta was honored during the 7th graduation ceremony of SEMILA. He has set an example for these new group of servants who are willing to pay the price and who are willing to continue to preach the Gospel in their communities.

Fifty-two graduates! At SEMILA we are thankful for so many graduates of our different programs. We give God all the glory and honor. During this special celebration we realize that God has put us here with a special ministry. It’s not about us, but it’s about preparing pastors and church leaders so that they are able to make a difference in their communities and churches.


One of the graduates is Fransisco Asitimbay. He is a well-known Quichua worship singer in Ecuador. While he was studying at SEMILA, he received a calling for pastoring. He finished his education and is now in the transition to pastor a church in the Quichua community of Quisapincha. His wife and son were also graduating with him!

Kelly Vargas, an Afro-Ecuadorian lady finished her Bachelor in Pastoral Studies and she planted a new church near the border of Peru. She always traveled at least seven hours to come to class. Now her husband will continue his Bachelor’s at SEMILA.


International Board Meeting 2017

We are also thankful for the International Board Meeting that was held in October. Evaluating, reporting, and planning are essential for the growth of this institution. We thank chairman Guillermo Vasconez (Panama), Jaap van de Pol (The Netherlands), Art Zimmer (Alaska, USA), Jimmy Arguello (COG Supervisor Ecuador) for their faithful contribution!


Quichua Women Outreach 

Last but not least, I would like to give you an update on the women’s ministry. At this moment we have projects in five different communities in the Andes Mountains. Laura Saá is coordinating the programs at this moment. At this moment one group is learning how to make pastries, others knitting, and a group in Pueblo Viejo is learning Origami. Once in the two months the ladies have a spiritual retreat at our facilities. this is a huge step for them to leave their comfort zone. Some have never left their communities! God is doing a great work in the hearts and minds of these ladies. Please, continue to pray for this ministry!


We would like to thank those who are partnering in this ministry1 Thanks for standing with us!


May God bless each one of you,

Pastor Nestor, Donata, Jedidia & Joshua 

May, 2018

Riobamba, Ecuador

Knitting Together Project

It is a cold and rainy day when I (Donata) get in the car with our two children Jedidia & Joshua. On the way out, we pick up a friend from church, who will join me in this new adventure. We’re heading towards a community called Pull San Pedro. One of our students pastors here an indigenous Church of God. He is eager to start the women project Knitting Together in his community.

After more than an hour driving, we saw a tiny community hidden in the Andes Mountains which had a beautiful church on the side. This was the place where we were expected! The only thing we saw outside was a goat and a donkey. I was a bit discouraged to notice that the ladies hadn’t arrived yet…but when we entered the church, more than 50 ladies were sitting and waiting quietly for the program to start. Such lovely ladies! The first lesson was on their identity in Christ and we had a powerful time together. After the study we started our Knitting-Together Course! Smiles all around!


On-Line Education for Quichua's

God is doing great things at the South American Intercultural Seminary “SEMILA”. Last month we did a Strategic Planning for the coming years, and together with our team we are committed to enthusiastically reach the established goals.

One of the goals for the coming years is to offer an on-line educational program for our students. You will be surprised to see how many indigenous young people are interested in such studies! It’s mostly those who live in the cities. It’s our dream to work together with seminaries from Venezuela, Colombia & Peru. Nestor had a fruitful meeting with the COG seminaries under the leadership of Elba Parniciaro. He also was able to take a course in Quito on the know-how of education on-line provided by Network Foundation.


Evangelical Quichua Pastors

Another highlight is our contract with the Association of Indigenous Evangelical Pastors. They requested us to train and equip their Quichua pastors, and it’s a delight to serve them. We initiated the program two weeks ago in the community called Illuchi. Not only did we start an extension in the community but as I am writing, Nestor is on his way to Guayaquil (a city of 4 million people) where he will inaugurate the another new extension.


Thankful for SEMILA-Team

There has been some changes within the SEMILA team. I became the Academic Dean for SEMILA since March of this year. I love the new position, which is filled with challenges. Brother Omar Carmona from Chile joined the team as Administrator. We are blessed to have him be part of the team. It is important to have a committed and passionate team, and we feel blessed to work with qualified people.


The Story of a Venezuelan Girl that Crossed our Path

A whole other story…Last month, we received a request to visit a Venezuelan girl in the hospital. She is 21 years old, and had just given birth to a daughter. She was all by herself, and the health of mother & daughter was in danger. (She had left Venezuela because she was so sick, and no medicines were available.) We went to the hospital, where we met the distressed mother Thailli (see left picture above). Her little baby-girl was in intensive care, but there was no doctor able to attend her… until Nestor passed by, and he was able to get a doctor right away. All Thailli had for her girl was 2 diapers and 2 pj’s. I rushed back to the grocery store, and picked up baby-clothing at SEMILA (which just had been donated by Dutch people) and brought it back to Thailli. I also bought her a youth Bible. Tears were flooding her cheeks. She talked an hour to me, and she was so happy to had found a friend.

The next day, the baby was declared healthy, and Thailli was provided a room in town by a lawyer family who helps Venezuelans. I still visit with her frequently, and coming Sunday she will join us to church. She survives by selling bags of coffee on the street.


Thank you for your support and love and concern.  Because of people like you we can help others. We pray God's blessings and peace over your life. 


Serving Him with you,

Nestor & Donata Duque


January, 2019

Riobamba, Ecuador

Greetings! A Happy New Year to each one of you! In this newsletter, we would like to introduce you to our BIG plans for this year.

But, first of all, we would like to thank you for your involvement, your support, and your friendship! Without you, we would not be able to do ministry among the Quichua’s. As we look back on the year 2018, we can see God’s mercy and faithfulness. Many people have been trained and continue to take the Gospel to the poor in different communities throughout Ecuador. SEMILA has received a new generation of students, who are hungry to learn more about the Bible and tools for ministry. In our visit to our graduates, we have seen communities & churches transform and prosper (not only spiritually but also economically!) We are thankful to have seen God’s faithfulness as He provided to the needs of SEMILA, and we were able to open up new extensions throughout the country. In short, we serve an awesome God!


New Plans

At the beginning of 2018, we realized how blessed we were with our team at SEMILA. Our staff is well equipped for the work they are doing. They love God, they love people, and several of them have obtained their Master’s Degree through Lee University! Deep in our hearts, we felt that it is time to hand over the ministry to the national leaders. Isn’t that the purpose of all missionaries? We have sought God’s direction through prayer, fasting, and sharing with our leaders, and they also joined and affirm our vision.


What does this mean for SEMILA? 

All programs will continue as it is established. At our recommendation, the Board of Directors of SEMILA elected Bishop Guillermo Vasconez as the new President of the Seminary. He has been involved in Quichua ministry for almost 20 years and has even helped with the construction of SEMILA. We trust that God will use him in a tremendous way. Nestor will stay involved with SEMILA by becoming the Chairman of the Board of Directors, and he will make several trips over the year to assist SEMILA.


What is the Duque Family going to do?

The question remains, what are we going to do as missionaries?

God has placed in our hearts a burden for the Hispanic work in Canada. Again we have prayed a lot about this and talked to all parties involved.

Among the Spanish-speaking population in Canada, there is a great need for church planting. When Nestor left Canada more than 14 years ago, the Church of God counted many congregations in Ontario, of which only 5 churches remain. There is a great need of Christian leaders to spread the Gospel to the increasing flow of immigrants from Honduras, Venezuela and the United States.

Our goal is (a) to plant an intercultural church and at least 2 (daughter) churches, (b) to provide ministerial training to laity and (c) to help to establish the Hispanic work in Canada. We have the knowledge and experience and think God has called us for this purpose.


Prayer Requests & Praise Reports

- Please, pray for us as we continue to follow His direction, and for all the changes ahead. Pray for a smooth transition for SEMILA and our family.

- We are thankful that our children are very enthusiastic about the new plans ahead. Jedidia is almost 11 and Joshua is still a happy 8-year-old kid.

- We are grateful for all the beautiful years in Riobamba and for all sponsors and friends involved in this ministry. All glory be to God!

- Finally, we would like to ask you to continue to join us in prayer on our next missionary assignment in Canada and also to prayerfully consider to sponsor us financially.


Our prayers are with you as we start this new year. It’s an honor to partner with you in all the work of the Lord. Together we “declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.” I Chronicles 16:24

May He fill you with His love, peace and overflowing joy,


Nestor, Donata, Jedidia & Joshua Duque


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