Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ecuador Mission Trip

Darling and I went on a mission trip with a team from Sagemont Church. The trip left Houston on July 7, 2016 and we (finally) arrived home on July 16, 2016.

My entire trip log is in my Notes section. This is the summary I sent to our team leader, Gerry.

General comments
Gerry warned us to be flexible, then gave us ample opportunity to exercise that skill during the trip. I'm pretty flexible by nature, but it was still good exercise.
Gerry also told us we wouldn't go hungry. We didn't. I gained weight. I blame that on eating near midnight for most nights.
Gerry mentioned this was an easy mission trip, and the team agreed. It seemed hard to me.

The hotel in Manta was comfortable and the A/C a welcomed relief at the end of each day. The Pacific Ocean view astounded me every day we were there. Breakfasts filled me, and that's about it. (Thanks for the extra toast, Gerry.)

The mild weather helped me, but the temperatures still had me sweating by the end of the day. That's okay; just an observation. I'm glad we went on the mission trip during Ecuador's winter. (I noticed some people even had Christmas trees up in their homes. Do they have Christmas during their winter?)

Gerry's leadership skills kept the team on track.

Dr. Mark Redd amazed me and edified me with his sermons. His skill with people makes him a special preacher and his experiences as a pastor and a missionary drew many Ecuadorian people to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Randy Reed has amazing skills as a street preacher. I learned a lot from watching him. If Heaven has a bulldog, he looks like Randy. Many of the people he met on the street began listening politely, but responded enthusiastically when he finished.

Raul stood as a tower of strength during most of the presentations, and I noticed the young men were drawn to him. His clear explanation of the gospel brought many of them to an understanding of God's plan for salvation.

The sound of the bagpipes echoes far and wide across Manta when Stanley played during the revivals. Those bagpipes drew a lot of people that might not have heard the gospel. Jokingly, I added that the bagpipes also scared away the local cats. Stanley has a wonderful heart for the Lord.

Miguel, with his huge heart, drew people to Jesus by his powerful words and the love he showed for all the people in Manta and in Pastor Angel's church.

Noe and Celia listened to the people and spread the gospel, not just with words but with their attitude of love and caring. I have seen few people with the love of others that Celia and Noe showed during the mission trip.

Though Darling did not speak the language when we started the trip, she learned some Spanish during the week in Manta. Even without knowing the native tongue, Darling did what she does best: she loved all the people she met. To be fair, the people we met in Ecuador hugged her and treated her warmly all the time. My heart melted when they gave her such lovely gifts the night before we left. I think the people in the church saw her shining heart as I see it.

I'm honestly not sure why I was there. I know I was told to go, but I didn't see a purpose in my presence. I prayed about that, and I'm still pondering the response. In Acts 13:2 the Bible says: While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
We hear a lot about Saul (Paul) after that, but we don't hear much about Barnabas. Still, he was told to go.

I loved meeting the people of Pastor Angel's church. I seldom see such devotion to God in people in the US, including our own church. Meeting Monica and David was a highlight for me. May God bless all those people we met in Ecuador, and may His Spirit descend upon the country and make it a shining beacon for His Glory.

My heart grew cold when Pastor Angel's people spoke of their desired “dream” building. That's a certain sign to me that God doesn't have his Hand in those plans as they are. I am afraid it is one of those things where we remold a dream into an emulation of God's design and then look for His approval of it. That will be a painful path for them if they follow it right now. I'm almost certain they also see Sagemont as a source of financial assistance for that dream. I can't blame them. To their eyes we are amazingly wealthy people.

I'm sad the birds pooped on my clean clothes that last day. God has a sense of humor.

And He always has a purpose.

1 comment:

  1. Your writing never disappoints me! God bless you and your wonderful Darling! I love you both!