The past few days have been pretty cold for Cuenca, I would wager around 40 degrees or so. For Ecuador thats freezing. Contrary to popular belief Cuenca isn’t all sunshine. Although it is generally mild because of its location geographically close to the Equator it’s elevation makes it more of a mountain city. It seems to be about 2 or 3 days of sun followed by 3-4 days of clouds and rain. I am not really sure if this is just the time of year or if it is a regular thing.
I have been keeping pretty busy though, so busy in fact it is hard to find time to sit down and write on here for you guys. I apologize for that, hopefully there is still enough material on here to keep you distracted when your disappointed to find that there is no recent blog post. The English services are going strong with some consistent attendance, although David and Karen (the couple that usually hosts their apartment for the mid week study) went on vacation this weekend so we had to have it at the Pastor’s house. The Lord has laid it on my heart to start taking some of the potential leaders to lunch or coffee just to get to know them better. It is my heart to raise up elders for the English study, as well as deacons. I want us to be well organized, but I have to make sure the right people are in leadership and for that reason we need to take things slow. Nevertheless the Lord is faithful and there are a couple of guys I have been getting to know over the past couple of weeks over a cup of coffee.
I feel like the Lord has given us the same vision as he gave Calvary Chapel of Phelan, upreach, inreach and outreach. Right now we just need to focus on building up our upreach and inreach and are still a ways away from being ready to do outreach just yet. The Lord is working though and bringing things together. Reanna Galindo came for a month or so for a couple of weddings, which we had a blast at. I believe the Lord used her a lot to bring some healing and encouragement to those who left the church since they were mostly all her friends. The other group that left has continued to hold Bible Studies and prayer meetings, but we are still a long ways away from having fellowship with them. Thankfully Zeke Flores left a good legacy with them and I am able to minister on both sides, though I am starting to scale back my outreach to the group that left in order to stay focused on the sheep that the Lord has left in my care (the English service).
Lorena Cardenas the missionary from Colombia has been serving at this church almost since it began, over ten years ago. This last Saturday though the Lord blessed her faithful service and gave her a spouse, a very honorable man named Hector. At their wedding I got to meet Hector’s dad, who was a pastor for 50 years. He started to share with me some things about the ministry, that “vale la pena” (its worth the pain) and that there is no better life than the life given in service to the Lord. He said he wouldn’t trade it for anything. Encouraging words for me for sure. He told me the most important things for being in the ministry is to have humility and love, simple but true.
Unfortunatly, Hector is from a different church so for the most part we will be loosing her here. Julia, a missionary from Ireland will be moving into the missionary house to head up that ministry starting next week. Lorena is hoping to be able to still serve with the children’s and women’s ministries at the Calvary Chapel in Uncovia but all of that is still up in the air. Time will tell. I have been helping out with the children’s club in Uncovia with Lorena, but my Spanish is just not good enough to take it over yet and not to mention I am actually hoping to scale out of that since as much as I enjoy it I do not think it is an area I am called to. I will help out with it as much as I can until the Lord provides someone else, but it is not my intentions to stay involved in that ministry. Lorena Vargas (different Lore), the wife of the pastor in Uncovia, will be filling the gap in the time being, but as you can see there are still a lot of changes going on.
I also have a new roommate now, David Tallez. He is one of the elders here and is around the same age as I am. It has actually been a blessing since we are becoming friends and, he can cook (praise God I am gonna live!!!). So now we got three guys living in the Pastor’s house and a empty missionary house. Que chiste. It’s good though, it gives more accountability for all of us and we can watch each others backs more.
The other day I was walking through the town with another David (we call him Goku, because he loves DragonBall Z) and he wanted to hand out some tracts to the people in Parque Calderon. David had told me that the guys up in the gazebo were called the BBoyz (a group that hangs out in Parque Calderon every Saturday to practice their break-dancing, some of them are actually on a team and do competitions). I just had to go talk to them, I don’t know why but I enjoy telling the gospel a lot more to those kind of people, probably because they are often much more open than the average businessman. I walked up to them and handed one of them a track, only to find he was from France but spoke English too. He said he was a Christian and wasn’t part of the BBoyz and was only waiting for a friend. It opened up the door to talk to the rest of the group though. Goku joined me after a while and just so happened to know one of the guys from back in the day when he wasn’t following God, he was able to share with him how God had changed his life. After a while I started talking to one of the BBoyz named Darwin, I handed him a track and explained it to him what it meant. He seemed really really familiar though, and I asked if we had met before. Cafe Austro, he told me. Ohhh yeah, he was a barista at Cafe Austro (being a barista myself I had already checked out all the reputable cafe bars in town). We were able to talk shop for a bit and I told him I knew a little bit of Late Art. He invited me to come by Cafe Austro to show him how to make a Rosetta and make a late for myself (I later took him up on it). After that I asked him to show me a break dance move, something basic that I could learn. I was able to do what he showed me, but I think ill just leave break-dancing to the experts. Although, I have always wanted to randomly be able to bust out break-dancing…. maybe Ill show up another time and learn a few more moves haha!
Overall things are going good, our God is gracious to those who desire to serve Him and He has shown me nothing but grace, love and strength. Our God is strong, and He is capable of handling all the trials that come our way, just trust Him… He can do it.