There is so much to be thankful for. Our Father is so generous, something I hope you are experiencing in your life as well!
This past week was both challenging and rewarding in many ways. I am learning a tremendous amount, not just about language and culture, but about life in Christ. God is endlessly faithful and abundantly patient.
I received His kindness in the form of an invitation to spend an afternoon and evening with Emma and her family (Mamá Evelyn, Edi y Evelyncita, Emilio, Jeremy and Giuliana). We talked for hours, played a game, sang together, and enjoyed Domino’s pizza, Ecuadorian style.
In my short time in their sweet home, I was touched by their affection for one another and their love for others. I felt received and honored in a Christlike show of hospitalidad and servicio. Emma’s family, too, demonstrates strong, relentless faith in all circumstances. They are shining examples of God’s redemption.
We got to spend time with the other girls’ siblings as well, when we meet them at the mall to watch a movie at the theater. It was a fun group having wholesome fun, and the whole time I kept thanking God for His beloved children! Then afterward, they generously treated us to ice cream.
We were out and about quite a bit this week, as we also ventured up a nearby volcano, Rucu Pichincha. The teleférico, sort of like a ski lift, brought us through the clouds to the top. We swung on the columpio (swing) at the edge of the bluff and rode caballos (horses) up and down the sides of the mountain. At 12,750 feet, the silence is calming and the view is stunning.
Plus, it is much more difficult to catch a full breath of fresh air. But it’s also a bit trickier to play soccer at “ground” level in Quito. This weekend, after our teleférico adventure, the youth group met at the seminary field. We shared a time of devotions and singing before dividing into teams and playing for hours.
That afternoon, a group of Germans was visiting the campus amidst their six months of travel volunteer work. We invited them to join, and it was such a neat experience to have Ecuadorians, Germans, and Americans intermixed and communicating in a unified game of fútbol. I couldn’t help but smile and enjoy my favorite sport with my new friends and complete strangers.
Besides our fun adventures and crazy excursions, I spent this week investigating theological concepts, asking questions, and revisiting the biblical basis for my beliefs. The Nazarene theology and its roots is different from my upbringing, so the Christian Faith class that some of us are taking is a gran desafío for me—a really good challenge.
In the midst of deep, sometimes confusing conversations, I have experienced the grace, love, and peace of God. Pastor Stan (our professor) and Lucy are so patient and gracious to receive my questions and respond in love and clarity. We still don’t agree, but the love of God and the miracle of salvation transcend minor theological variations. I am so thankful for the grace of God and this opportunity to be molded according to His purpose, pleasure, and plan.
It is also a privilege to gather each Sunday with the people of God. I love helping in the tech booth, or cabina, and the Lord is helping me connect with new friends and church members. It is wonderfully refreshing to experience worship and hear the Word of God preached in Spanish.
I have commented on the family of God here, for I am ceaselessly amazed at their bond of unity and cheerful service toward one another. At every opportunity and without hesitation, they love one another, like John 13:34-35.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I accompanied Pastor and Lucy to the home of a hurting family whose grandfather passed away last week and whose ten-year-old daughter is in the hospital with kidney complications. It was a humbling chance to offer what God has given me and to uplift fellow believers in prayer.
I am continually grateful for all God is doing here. It is amazing to me that, prior to this semester, I was completely oblivious to the Kingdom of God in Ecuador. Now, He is allowing me to be a tiny part of a tiny part of it.
God’s Provision: God provides in every way all the time! I feel like I’m living, in a small but very real way, the immeasurable riches and unsearchable secrets of God. An uncertain and nerve-wracking semester that my family and I have been anticipating for three years is unfolding day by day. I am thriving and they are at peace. Every Sunday, my American family and my Ecuadorian family charlamos via FaceTime, in Spanish and English. But really, the language is love, gratitude, and God’s will. I could never have imagined or planned what God is doing in our lives at this time. Words fall short.
Palabra de la Semana (Word of the Week): Ayuno. Fast, as in the opposite of desayuno, breakfast. In this season, I feel like I’m fasting from the craziness and distractions of life in the United States. A fast is designed to feed the soul, and that is what God is doing. My soul hungers for Him, and He sets a feast before me.
¡Gracias a Dios! Thanks be to God!