Monday, February 27, 2012

What does it take...

What does it take in a Catholic culture to be Jesus to them?  They know Jesus…but what does it look like to really “be Jesus” to this kind of culture?

Initial reactions of the people in Borja towards us were fear and distrust. We experienced people crossing themselves, crossing the street or turning their backs when we were approaching. When looking for a place to rent, there were comments toward the landlady like, “What are you doing? We are Catholics here!”  After organizing a Christmas program for the children of the town in which the Gospel was presented, the town’s people organized a march declaring, “We are Catholics.” 

We recognized our involvement in the community was important therefore we began attending most public events and participating in areas of need such as needs for children and the elderly. We collaborated with existing programs such as vacation school for children adding ideas, personnel and the Gospel. We attended the meals program for the elderly which gave Dan opportunity to share God’s Word.  Whatever else presented itself; we were available to help with physical or spiritual needs.  

People of Borja have commented that the Catholic Church is not “helping” the people. We have witnessed the Catholic Church not helping families when facing the loss of a loved one. If they don’t have the money for the mass the priest refuses the service. There is a distinction between the treatment of the rich and the treatment of the poor within the Catholic Church in Borja. People have noticed we are helping everyone with no distinctions of social class. Through the provision of teams we made reading glasses available and donated tooth brushes to local schools and to the dentist.  It is very important to participate in the community in Borja showing solidarity. We are still in hopes the Lord will provide an ambulance for the town of Borja. Eventually, the people were less afraid and this has given us many opportunities to meet people from various professions here in Borja and many have become our friends. Hence we have many opportunities to share the Gospel. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hearts to Serve

       We welcomed returning visitors, Martin Wiles and Clifton Ames, to Ecuador last week. The Lord burdened their hearts to return to Ecuador to finish two projects; move an elevator from a home to the church and finish building dividing walls for the second floor of the Chaupimolino Church. We appreciate Marty's and Clifton's willingness to serve the Lord in this way. 

Clifton Ames (back center) and Martin Wiles (left front) with youth of Chaupimolino Church.

Clifton used his welding skills.

Marty occupied his carpentry skills.

Darwin was full of contentment to have access to the second floor.

"A caring friend is needed on every job."

We toured Quito one afternoon. The Basilica of the National Vow is the tallest church tower in South America.

Virgin of the Panecillo, Quito

A view from inside the museum.

There is always an option for tasty food in Quito.
Marty and Cliff reconnected with many friends ....
and made some new friends as well.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“I am a Catholic...”

Alicia (left) and Short-term Missionary, Wanda Locke

 “I am a Catholic and I will die a Catholic.” proclaimed Alicia when we first met. We had been meeting for Bible study with her daughter Gemma for a few months. We became immediate neighbors with Carlos and Alicia and began spending time with them and showing acts of kindness toward them. In the beginning Carlos made lots of jokes about liquor and such, but with time Carlos began to call Dan, Danielito, a term of endearment. Dan made himself available to transport Carlos for errands to Baeza and El Chaco. Diana monitored Alicia’s blood pressure and shared medical knowledge when it was needed. Alicia expressed interest in studying the Bible together and was willing to do homework so a discipleship study began. The first lessons were a series on salvation from John, a study on the claims of Christ. Alicia began to realize Jesus was a key figure to salvation. Hebrews Chapter 1 really caught her attention, especially verse 3, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” She understood through Jesus her sins could be forgiven.  Alicia continues to put effort into the study of God’s Word and memorizing key scripture. Carlos would often stand in the doorway listening with interest and one day he also expressed interest in studying the Bible. Dan is studying weekly with Carlos now and Carlos too has expressed he is certain of his salvation. Please pray for spiritual growth in the lives of Alicia and Carlos.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tres Cruces

Our Friend Richard
It was the first time we had walked a path that had to be cut with a machete. It has been raining for days so the  path was very wet and muddy. Diana was glad to be outfitted with boots and a raincoat.We had arranged a visit to Tres Cruces (Three Crosses) to visit our veterinary friend, Richard and his wife, Manuela and his family. They are spending most weekends at the farm and have many projects they are working on. The farm called, "La Manuelita"  is on 26 hectares, has a river flowing through it with three waterfalls and is rich with flora and fauna.  They have a herd of cows and are planting fruit
trees on the property. It is a beautiful place.

Richard participated in an exchange program for veterinaries in September through the University of Kentucky and returned from the US with a different worldview. Lots of questions come from him and he wants to know the roots of American history. He wants to know what makes America such a different place from Ecuador and how come the people care for their country in such a different manner. " I feel like I am on a different path now and I want to learn more." he states.

We shared some things with Richard that day: a Spanish teaching tool for dairy cow health, our testimonies and Bible. With wonder he said to us, "I can't understand how come you would leave the US to come here." We talked about living with eternity in view and he expressed interest in knowing more. He was encouraged to pray for God to reveal Himself to him. Please join us in prayer for this family to know God's perfect plan for salvation.

Friday, February 3, 2012

God’s Provision and God’s Providence

A few weeks ago we invited Sixto and Veronica and family for supper, hoping to get to know them and develop a friendship.  We have been helping their daughter with her English homework. Sixto has mentioned more than once they really don’t have any friends here in Borja.  After the meal we played “UNO” and chatted. Sixto expressed interest in biking with Dan. The Lord provided that opportunity two weeks later with the recent gift of a bike from a good friend who is leaving Ecuador. The opportunity to bike together presented itself last Saturday. At 3 PM Dan and Sixto left heading to Sumaco trekking a 14K loop. Traveling down a muddy, rocky road they continued on to Sardinas, a hidden community we were not aware of. They stopped to get some water and take a break.

Dan mentioned the movie,” Courageous”, and it quickly opened up the conversation to spiritual things. Sixto burst out with, “I don’t know what is happening. Something is happening to my friends in Riobamba. I can’t explain it. They were drinkers and womanizers, but now they have changed. I received an e-mail from my friend in Spain last week stating he has accepted the Lord and it has radically changed his life, it is totally turned around.  My mother also has become a Christian. I just don’t understand what is happening. I can’t live by a list of don’ts.”

 “It isn’t like that.” Dan explained to him the freedom one has in coming to the Lord. Clearly Sixto is being drawn to the Lord. Later that day we stopped by their house, talking some more, inviting them to study the Bible and leaving the movie “Courageous” for the family to watch. Another trek is planned for this weekend, it would be great if you could be praying about their time together and Sixto can see his need for Jesus.