“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:9a, 10b
Even though this verse was the subject of my last post I have decided to talk about it once again to start off my Mission’s Update; since it has been a constant encouragement to me lately. I have really been personally learning all about how God is so much stronger than I thought He was and how true this verse really is. It has been interesting because I feel like every week I am getting weaker and weaker and yet God continues to empower me more and more. For example, I feel like my messages on Sunday have had less time and study put into them, and yet people have been telling me how much better it is every week and how blessed they are. Last Sunday one of the guys came up after the message and said “I am just so happy right now. I feel like God has met with me with His presence. I am just so happy.” That particular message was taken from the notes of a study I had done in California. I hadn’t had time to study John because we had just gone on a Mission Trip to Loja and had gotten back that morning. I was running on 4 hours of sleep when I gave the study and had put all my hope into God. I have to say I agree, it was one of the most blessed Sundays yet and the only reason is that God showed us all grace and that it was sufficient for us.
As I had mentioned above we took a short mission trip to Loja this last weekend. We only went for about two days but managed to get a lot in. We left Cuenca around 7 AM, stopped on the way to eat lunch, then when we got there we ate lunch again. I think the first lunch was supposed to be breakfast but the way things worked out it was more like having two lunches, but hey I’m not complaining. After that we started work in setting up a puppet stage and some of us went around the neighborhood to announce that we were going to have a children’s club. Freddy, David and Estafani were at the ready with face paint for once the kids arrived; I tried painting a butterfly on one girl only to have another little girl ask “What’s that?”. “A butterfly” I replied. “It doesn’t look like a butterfly” she so graciously informed me. I decided that she was right though and tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to make it into a bee. After that Freddy put on a puppet show for the kids while Jenine played along as the MC. The puppet show was about how calling out to Jesus can help us no matter where we are or how far away from home we have gone, Jesus can always help us.
After that David preached it up some and then we had a Christian concert by a guy from Colombia who also told his testimony. We had a pretty good turn out and I think God touched a lot of peoples hearts with it.
The next day we did some door to door street evangelism and handed out tracts. There was one woman who was just ready and waiting to receive the gospel, she ended up praying to accept the Lord and had a bunch of questions about the Bible. It seemed like she had just been waiting for someone to come talk to her about all of this, it was that easy. It was a good reminder that we never know who is ready to receive the gospel and sometimes we just need to step out there and try it. Granted there were many rejections before her, but they were worth it.
Later on that night we put on a Biblical Dinner and spent the whole afternoon and evening preparing for it. A Biblical Dinner is a recreation of the last supper, along with a teaching about the cultural meanings of a lot of things that happened that night; such as what did bread mean to the Jewish person. Everyone sits on the floor and they eat the same type of food that they would have eaten in the days of Christ, and the only lights are the oil lamps on the tables. Biblical Dinners have been an extremely successful way to evangelize as well as to teach here. There are a lot of people that have a misunderstanding of the gospel, communion, and how much God loves them and wanted to have fellowship with them. The Biblical Dinner is a great way to help the many different people, from many different backgrounds and ideas to understand the simplicity and yet depth of the actions of Jesus during the Last Supper.
This last month has been a real blessing and God has been doing a lot here in Cuenca. With all the good though there have been plenty of hardships. The worst is that Julia, our beloved sister in Christ who is a Missionary from Ireland, was told she has a 70% chance that she has MS and was told to return to Ireland immediately. We are still praying that God works a miracle, and I am inviting you guys to pray to do the same, but she will be leaving on a rush flight back to Ireland this Friday to get it all sorted out. She want’s to come back and Lord willing she will. We know that she will be missed here; since she has been a constant source of blessing, encouragement, purity, and strength to all of us. One thing is for sure though it has been bringing the English Service group a lot closer, and everyone has been showing love to one another. I am so proud of Julia and I am so proud of the English Service for how they are taking this and how encouraging and loving they have been to each other through it. I personally am very sad to see Julia go; she has become something of a big sister to me and a person I could always confide and trust in. She actually reminds me a lot of my big sister Chris. Julia has no fear except the fear of the Lord and she is a true woman of God. She has given God and Ecuador everything and she has been an amazing example to me of what a true missionary is like. She is a hard worker, she is honest and has no hidden motives or agendas; she simply lives to serve God. We are praying and waiting in hopeful expectation until the Lord brings her back to us. In the mean time, I will be moving over to the mission house to assume the responsibilities over there.
All in all God is faithful, and His grace is sufficient. We have all been going through weaknesses here, and I ask that you would please pray for us diligently since we are all feeling attacks daily from the enemy. Just recently I have been having severe heart pains that persists throughout the day and at times feels like it is seizing up. I have been told that it is probably just stress and am going to get it checked out tomorrow, but prayer would be appreciated. That said though, God has also been showing Himself stronger and stronger despite all our weaknesses.
Praise God for His grace,