¡Buen día! Good day to you!
Ephesians 3:20 says God “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” and I agree wholeheartedly. In this season of life, I am experiencing the presence and power of God in a way I never could have anticipated.
Thank you for following along and praying over this journey. Every moment is saturated with the goodness of God. I know His hand of blessing is upon us, and your prayers are a critical part of His will being cumplido.
Not only do I have an incredible support system at home, but I am making new friends and developing kingdom relationships here in Ecuador. I am especially amazed by the body of Christ. Ecuadorians are so affectionate, and the church is truly a family. It is a delight to connect with the members, spend time with the families, and participate in youth group activities with the jóvenes.
This weekend, we planned an afternoon in the park after church to play fútbol and básquet (ball) and eat torta to celebrate el Día de San Valentín. It is a day to cherish friendship and appreciate the bond of love God has given us and made us capable of sharing.
When we walk the streets also, to buy fruit or bread, we often meet members of the church community. Each encounter is a sweet reminder of our unity in Christ. The Kingdom of Heaven is not bound by language, culture or location. We are one!
This past week, we also had the chance to visit two renowned churches in Quito. This was an impactful experience for me. First of all, the architecture is unbelievable. The size of the basilica and cathedral alone is astonishing. But more so, the reverence and spiritual significance of the carvings, decorations, and sacred items are the heart of religion.
For me, it was a reminder of the importance of a personal relationship with the Lord. Enchanting songs and breathtaking murals are nothing if not offered in pure love and service to the Lord, accompanied by a heart of humility and a life of purity. Only He knows the depths of our hearts—and loves us mightily.
At the close of our tour of la Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesús, our guide Carolina brought us to a painting which covered the entire wall. It was a disturbing and grotesque depiction of sin and its consequences. Different categories of sinners occupied every section of the canvas, human beings suffering in the flame of eternal separation from God. All I could do was stand stunned. Tears filled my eyes and a mixture of terror, sadness, and gratitude filled my heart. What love—what deep, inexplicable, undeniable love—our God has toward us to save us from our sin, ourselves, and His very own wrath.
It is wonderfully amazing to me that in every detail of life God is teaching me something more. In every moment, simple as they seem, the presence God is with us, at work in our hearts and opening our eyes to it.
For example, when I play with my ñaños, I recognize the innocence of childhood and the type of faith Christ honored. When I walk and talk with Lucy, I know God is shaping me. When I ask Pastor about theology, it is a neat time of challenge and growth.
Es más (what’s more), my friend Emily invited me to a day out in Quito! We walked, ate, and talked, but it was more than just time together. We shared about God’s work in our lives. She taught me a whole lot. And I thought how cool it is that I can live in a whole different world for a time, to invest in new relationships and see how others live.
Emily showed me the centro commercial (mall), notable buildings around the capital, and her university campus. We tried pancakes with piña (pineapple) and el ceviche (a mixture of camerón, concha, pescado, almeja, mejillón y langostina, or shrimp, mollusk, fish, clam, mussel, and lobster.) It was out of my comfort zone, but not the worst thing I’ve ever eaten.
Speaking of eating, my family has prepared a variety of traditional dishes for me to enjoy. Last week, we ordered encebollado, a fish-based soup with onion, commonly paired with chifles, popcorn, and toasted corn. Another day, Lucy made patacones, basically fried banana patties that are actually really good.
In every adventure, God is so faithful. Every day I find more and more things to be thankful for because I see more and more things God is doing.
God’s Provision: I want to thank Him for His lavish grace toward me. I lack confidence in everything always, so I have been challenged in many ways this past month. Yet my Father is so kind to give me just enough courage to speak, serve, and learn when I think I can’t or I’d rather not. Every opportunity has been so rich and not nearly as scary as I thought it would be … from operating the camera switchboard at church to presenting projects in class to participating in conversations and games with new people. God is so good.
Palabra de la Semana (Word of the Week): Sobrar. To be extra, to exceed. Las sobras are the leftovers we always have on the counter, but my favorite application of this word is God’s approach toward us. He always gives in excess, without reservation and with great love.
¡Cuídate mucho y descansa en su amor! Take care and rest in His love!