¡Feliz miércoles! Happy Wednesday!
How amazing is it that we serve the same God, in each of our places, seasons, and locations. May He bless the work of our hands!
It has been incredible to see the ways He is doing that here in Ecuador. What a full, gratifying week it has been!
Last week was my birthday week, and while I am thankful for the life God has given me, I don’t tend to make a big deal out of my “special day.” However, Ecuadorians see things differently, and they truly value the gifts of life and family.
So, we celebrated my birthday on Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday. And I felt so blessed!
First, it was my actual cumpleaños. We ate a Mexican lunch at the house, I bit the cake to follow the annual tradition (Lucy helped me by pushing it into my face), and we watched a very special video that Emma organized. It was comprised of birthday wishes and heartfelt messages from my friends and family here in Ecuador as well as in the United States. I definitely cried!
The following day, the church production team surprised me with a party, cake, and hamburgers for dinner. I was so touched and thoroughly enjoyed our time together, laughing and eating.
What’s more, on Friday la familia Coba (Emma’s family) invited me to spend the afternoon with them as well. We chatted and ate, they sang to me and we watched a movie. I was so humbled by the outpouring of love and beautiful community here.
Of course, I also chatted with my family, twice on my birthday and another two times during the week, the most we’ve talked all semester. I am so grateful for them, truly blessed, and looking forward to reuniting and taking full advantage of our time together.
Many people mentioned their prayers for me, that God would wrap me up in a hug and demonstrate His love for me. He absolutely did that and more. I am truly moved by His powerful, endless, life-changing love for me, which saved me from my sins and showers me with every spiritual gift in Christ!
And the thing is, it’s not just on my birthday that I get to celebrate that. God gives me breath each morning and sustains my life each day.
This week was sprinkled with a variety of other adventures as well. Lucy’s cuñada (sister-in law) Carolina and sobrino (nephew) Joel stayed a few nights, and we had the privilege of chatting with them and sharing meals.
It is very special for me to meet my family’s family and see how God works in the various interactions and relationships. I am always learning about the Kingdom of God, His children placed purposefully throughout the world.
This past weekend, my little sister had her first practice for the dance team at church. I got to watch (and participate!), something new for me (and her as well). It was a beautiful thing to watch. The instructor Priscilla began with a devotional thought on the story of the woman who reached out to touch Jesus’ robe, believing that He could and would heal her blood disorder, which she had dealt with for years and spent all her life savings in trying to cure.
47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith (fe) has made you well; go in peace”(Luke 8:47-48, ESV).
The song she selected centers around this story, a humble rendition of the account. Priscilla is patient and full of grace in her teaching, and it is peaceful to watch the dancers move for the glory of God.
Each time, I am more enraptured by the beauty of the church community in Carcelén. It reminds me so much of the church family I love back home and the service God calls us to.
We left immediately after the service on Sunday to travel south toward Riobamba. Our viaje this week consists of two days there, another in Shell, and the remaining days in El Oriente, or the rainforest (selva) region of Ecuador.
This is especially neat for me because my Ecuadorian parents were born and grew up in Riobamba. We have the privilege of seeing their school, universities, and church. We get to meet more of Lucy’s family. Plus, we’ll be walking around town, discovering street food and local stores.
For now, I can say it is surreal to have these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. We are trying new foods, exploring new places, and doing crazy things that we never could have imagined and very well may never have the chance to do again. God is rich in His generosity toward us and faithful in His provision and protection.
It is clear that God is blessing this experience in every way. Each student is placed with just the right family for them, our relationships are strong and growing, the plans we make are always perfectly adjusted to His will.
Thank you for your prayers and your support of this trip. I know God is using you to accomplish His purposes and change lives.
God’s Provision: God is very patient and tender with me. In the moments when I doubt, fail, and focus on the wrong things, He always lifts me up, whispers the truth to my heart, and draws me back into His presence. I thank Him for people, moments, and messages to mold me.
Palabra de la Semana (Word of the Week): Bueno. Good. We use it to describe things, say yes, and of course, declare God’s goodness. Dios es bueno. And He has given us a good life full of good gifts.
¡Chao! Bye (for now)!