Thursday, September 29, 2011

How Did We Get Here?

When we arrived for our third term in Ecuador (2009) we sensed we should be looking for a new ministry area and asked the Lord to lead us where that would be. Dan had opportunity to go on an exploratory trip which included the areas of El Chaco, San Francisco de Borja and Baeza. This trip involved looking for existing works and talking with individuals of those towns to get a feel for what the present need is and what God was obviously doing. The next step involved actually going to the areas and offering an evangelistic event to see what the response was. The greatest response came from Borja where there is no existing evangelical church. Through this initial contact and a series of God led events and opportunities we began living in Borja part-time beginning January 2010. More recently we have made the commitment to live in Borja full-time.

It is amazing, by spending more time in Borja ministry just happens! People are arriving at the house daily for help of some sort, some for clothes, some to have their blood pressure measured, others for reading glasses or vitamins.This morning Diana just hung out on the porch and had a great conversation with some moms in the neighborhood. Later a couple arrived looking for help in their marriage. Most afternoons there is faithful group of children looking for something to do. What great opportunities to speak of God's love. 

Yesterday, I received great encouragement from God's Word from Isaiah 55:11(NAS)," So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." 

"Lord, may the people of Borja receive your Word. Help us to be faithfully giving it to them."

Posted by Diana

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Living Beyond Obstacles – by Diana McKeen

This is from a tract that I wrote in 1996 when our family was beginning the process to become missionaries to Ecuador to be church planters.

Living Beyond Obstacles – by Diana McKeen

My husband, Dan, was a farmer. He had worked with his mother and brothers on our farm in Albion, Maine, for 16 years when the Lord began to show Dan a need for a greater harvest, a harvest of souls.

In October of 1995, Dan attended a missions conference where the Holy Spirit began to tug on his heart concerning missions. Jim Carter, Berean Missionary to Ecuador, challenged Dan to go on a missions work team. The ready excuse was, “We can’t afford that. We’re farmers. We have a family, a house, and other financial obligations.”

But the Lord directs the desires of our hearts. God had begun to turn Dan’s eyes away from his fields in Maine and toward the mission field. Ultimately, he agreed to join a work team.

When Dan returned to the farm and to our regular routine, we began to wonder if the trip was really God’s will for us. We hadn’t received any communication concerning the trip for what seemed to be a long time. And besides, we were already serving the Lord here in Albion. We worked in Sunday school, Awana, and church leadership. Wasn’t that enough?

Distracted by everyday life, we began to desire a second car. After all, we were taking ten children to Awana in our station wagon now. Wouldn’t a second car enable us to serve the Lord even more? So we found an affordable car and bought it. When we went to register the car, the Lord intervened. An error was found in the title, the car was returned, and our money was refunded. That night we received a call asking Dan to join a Berean Mission work team to Ecuador.

God began to prepare our heart attitudes and prepare the way financially through the giving of His people. Most of the details of the trip were falling into place, but we still had obstacles to overcome. Because Dan had been late in applying for a passport, and because the U. S. budget crisis threatened a government shutdown, we were afraid his passport would not arrive before his scheduled departure time. However, God provided his passport with two weeks to spare.

The time for Dan’s departure came with a few other difficulties. He was to fly out of Bangor, Maine, early on the morning of February 16, 1996, to meet the rest of the team in St. Louis. Heavy snow that day delayed his flight and kept him waiting anxiously until his flight was finally cancelled at 3 p. m. While Dan was stranded in Bangor, his team left St. Louis and flew to Ecuador without him. But he knew God had called him to go and he was determined to follow that calling. After the storm abated, Dan left for Ecuador alone. Three days later, late in the evening, he arrived in Quito, Ecuador.

Dan spent the next 16 days working hard and being blessed greatly. He stayed in the home of some national believers. Though separated by language, they were united in the Spirit of God as Dan shared in the Guaman family’s times of devotion, prayer, and song. His view of God’s work expanded as he fellowshipped with these believers in Ecuador.

Dan’s visitation expanded further as he observed foreign missionaries in action. Seeing the obedience and sacrifice of these missionaries encouraged him to look beyond the comfortable life we know in the States. He learned how to pray more effectively for missionaries and the work of missions.

When the time came to return home, the question was asked when he would be going on a team again. “Maybe in a few years,” Dan answered. But God was again changing his desires.

As a result of this trip and the work that God has done in his heart, Dan has enrolled at New Brunswick Bible Institute to obtain the training needed to be a foreign missionary. Our family, made up of Dan and me and our four children, will be moving to Canada while Dan attends school.

Through these dramatic changes in our family’s life, our biggest obstacle has been ourselves: our struggle to let go of the familiar, our tendency to get distracted by everyday life, or our forgetting what God has done in the past. If we keep our focus on daily obedience, we will continue to witness God’s working in and through us.