“MAKE READY A PEOPLE PREPARED FOR THE LORD” Luke 1:17
Mission Journey to Ecuador
November 25th – December 5th, 2011
This trip to Ecuador was mainly to minister to the Kychwa Indians in the Ambato area. Three of us went: Glenda, Shirley and me (Lindy), the fourth person in the group picture is Pastor Guillermo, our host and translator, who has been ministering to the Kychwa for many years. It was a very fulsome journey and we were totally blessed that the Presence of God kept falling on the groups we were meeting with. We felt led by the Holy Spirit and able to adapt to all the changes in plans and rise to the unexpected. Praise God!
We flew into QUITO, then traveled to AMBATO. Glenda has been going there for eighteen years taking small toys as Christmas gifts for the Kychwa children. Her first missionary journey was to that area and she was part of a building team. Shirley is a nurse from the U.S. and ministers in Nigeria. This was her second trip to Ecuador. I have been to Ecuador many times and believe that the early years with Cary Church of God’s teams to Guayaquil were an excellent training ground for missionary work. This was my third year to Ambato and I was excited to return to work with the Kychwa people and those that work with them.
SATURDAY: We went to teach at the Kychwa Women’s Bible School where they are also able to learn to read and write. The second Saturday they desired to learn the biblical background of Christian Dance and they came up with most interesting questions. We finished with a simple time of fellowship dance in a circle. The Holy Spirit moved on these weeping intercessors and it was a very special time for them. They then wanted to rehearse and present the dance at the Marriage Conference they had organized for that evening. The speakers for that conference were from the Priscilla and Aquila Ministries.
“He who goes out weeping carrying seeds to sow, will return with songs of joy carrying sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:6
SUNDAY: In the morning we went to the Church of God that is currently being built in Ambato. It’s a good-sized building on three floors but it has no lights in the sanctuary yet, so they can’t have meetings at night, only on the lower floors. Pastor Guillermo, who organizes our visits, is the Pastor there. He also took us everywhere and was our translator as his daughter who normally translates was off with the medical team in the jungle.
We were disappointed to not be able to make it to the jungle to the missionaries there who work with the Shuar people. We used the travel money for the jungle trip to feed breakfasts and lunches to the women at the KYCHWA WOMEN’S SEMINAR. This Seminar was over two days at a ground that has a Kychwa base, classrooms for their technical school, a radio station, and land for growing things. We were able to send the women home with arms full of clothes including baby clothes. They love the sweaters because it’s very cold due to the elevation – they were thrilled. Thanks to our “small” friends in the U.S. who so kindly donated to these tiny people.
We were requested to teach on MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY and finished up with a teaching on the HOLY SPIRIT. Lorena, my Ecuadorean friend, came to join us to teach and she brought her mother. It was good to see her before she flew to Kansas City International House of Prayer. At one point it rained so hard on the tin roof we could only sing and pray. Later, Shirley led the women into a “Jericho March” prayer around the classroom that led into a dance and song about the walls coming down in their lives. One woman said she was feeling so heavy, but after the third time around she felt she could “fly”.
We asked the women if they recognized their CALL FROM GOD. Their responses were beautiful. One Pastor’s wife said she realized she was called to be Pastoral. Another accepted her call to Women’s Ministry. One who is in the choir (a choir that is well known and travels) said, “Maybe she cannot be a missionary, but maybe her children will.” She wanted God to work in her as she could not do it herself. A young mother who had been Pastor Guillermo’s administrator when he was the Overseer of the Kychwa Church Leaders, spoke to say “God will show you, even in the middle of problems or when you pass by the fire, then He will show you.” She realized God wants to use her for big things, to announce Good News to women in difficult circumstances. She was holding a beautiful baby girl named Joy. It turns out that Joy was born prematurely and with great difficulty. There were no facilities to help in their town, so premature babies are not expected to survive. They went to another City and the hospital would not take them. So they went to another that had an incubator, determined to save their precious baby daughter. Joy is now fine and healthy, but the mother and her Pastor husband have a debt of $10,000 owed to the hospital (If anyone is moved to help them, specify to this project in the Wheresoever Donations area. Thank you.)
“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your LOVE, oh Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8
We went on the first Sunday evening to NEW PARADISE CHURCH, a long way up into the hills, which had a low corrugated roof building and dogs roaming about outside. Many people were in their traditional clothes and the women’s choir all had pink matching shawls. Glenda told one of her encouraging stories, Shirley preached on hearing from God. I explained, then danced about our different attitudes when we come to pray. Many came forward and were on their knees weeping and praying as we moved among them laying on hands. We asked them to try listening to God and they eventually quieted down. After, the testimonies included one from a woman who was crying out for her family. She was so grateful as she felt the Lord had not forgotten her children and “It was already done”. The Pastor’s wife was reassured by the feeling of God’s Presence and that He will do for the area what is their heart’s desire. One man said he felt full of joy.
THEN came an extraordinary testimony. It seems that the previous night, the Pastor and his wife separately each dreamed that they were in Pastor Guillermo’s church and he would have visitors (missionaries). When they woke they spoke and thought they should go and visit his church sometime. So they responded with a confident “Yes” when a message came from him, Pastor Guillermo, wanting to come over with missionary visitors to their church. They were full of expectation. No wonder we had such a power filled service – we were thrilled to be a part of fulfilling God’s blessings to this congregation. IN ADDITION, there was a young woman resting in the church during the day who saw a bright light near the door that moved into the church. Another man too said he was expecting something special, a visitation from the Lord. We were all praising and thanking God, celebrating and singing. We got out the small flags. The children came to dance all around with us. What a special day! We returned during the week to teach and at the end were delighted to be given a delicate cup and saucer, full of herbal honey-sweetened tea to drink.
DANCE – Pastor Guillermo told me I would be expected to dance in each place. It is high altitude in this region, any exertion at all causes you to “puff” for a several minutes. On the first Sunday, after the preaching on the ‘characters’ in the ‘Christmas story’ and how we can identify and prepare like them, how can WE hear from God? I danced while not quite acclimatized and was grateful that as I was concentrating on honoring Jesus, fitting the choreography in the space on the platform, keeping in time with the words and music, I kept hearing in my head, “Keep Breathing”. Later I realised I was hearing from God ! Thank you Lord.
I was asked to dance at the marriage conference on the second Saturday, but felt it would be better for a couple to present a dance. So taught a precious Kychwa Pastor and his shy wife the UNITY DANCE that Danny and I do. We had three rehearsals and they performed it well for all the other couples. Illustrating how early romance can fade if not fed. You can find yourself feeling all alone and your loved one out of reach. But we know that if we pray, God will intervene and draw us back together, and together with Jesus the couple can overcome the enemy and move joyfully in to their future.
On the return from the Kychwa Women’s Seminar, Pastor Guillermo had mentioned a YOUTH EVENT being held by an Evangelistic Group in a girl’s high school. IN THE CAR he tells me they want me to dance at this event, AND it will be filmed to be shown in a TV program aimed at Ecuador youth. I don’t have any music that is suitable, but the CD playing in the car in Spanish sings something about the Word of God, it has a good rhythm. So I request him to play it over and over as I choreograph inside my head. By God’s grace, it performs well and after, they call me up to interview me about Youth and Chastity. Their team had a band, and dramas, and games and are fun, but now it gets serious. The three hundred girls present in the school gym attend school at night because they are probably working during the day or taking care of small brothers and sisters. So it is late. They give every one of the girls a beautiful long-stemmed rose. Then removing petal by petal the leader tells of loss and being let down by men in casual relationships. When the time comes to call them to Jesus, many many come forwards, some giggling. Then the atmosphere changes and you can see the Lord ministering to them in deep places of hurt. It was another moving experience for us too as about 125 girls accepted Jesus as their Saviour.
CHILDREN: We returned to visit El Comedor, the cafeteria that we have nicknamed “The place of a hundred hugs”. Here they used to feed the shoe-shine children of the city, now it feeds and educates children in need. We went to visit and were invited back to do a program and dance workshop at the end of which the children were in small circles rocking and singing “Hallelujah” over and over. The sixty children had truly worshipped using simple dance movement and then they were peacefully resting in Jesus’ arms. It was so beautiful. We were then invited to pray for all the staff in the office.
“MI TAMBO” is the orphanage. The policy now is the same as ours in Africa: that it is better for the orphans to grow up in the home of relatives and remain in the community. Mi Tambo has just kept the special needs children and the Government is considering expanding the numbers cared for there. The carers told us they had been hearing the volcano rumbling away in the distance all morning. The young people themselves are happy. One of the books I took was a Bible in cartoon form and it was given to a deaf boy as he loves to draw cartoons. On the following Sunday in church, we met two young men who had grown up in Mi Tambo. One introduced his fiancé to us. She is a U.S. missionary who has been in Ecuador for four years. They met in Quito where they have a soup kitchen ministry for street children. Glenda is going to find old photographs that she may have of him as he doesn’t have any. His younger brother was in church too but he is growing up with a family.
AND ALL: There was another church that welcomed us back to encourage them; A home group where we spent time getting to know some families; A home dedication where the young couple with baby let us bless them. Their story of hardship they would not tell, only to say they started out in a wooden shack. They thanked their parents for their sacrifices to get them an education and now the husband is an administrator at a big school. All their family and friends squashed into their new home and shared a big meal. I could not identify the lump in my delicious soup – it turned out to be a cow’s foot!
The last Sunday we were invited to preach again at Pastor Guillermo’s church, but when we arrived he asked if we would each tell our different stories as to how each of us became missionaries. This touched and encouraged his congregation as he’s calling them to become mission-minded. Monica, his wife, who had fed us wonderful food all week, had baked cakes to be sold to raise money for their missions.
We ended our visit to Ambato by eating local food – it was very good. An optician and his family who were part of the church went to lunch with us. We were able to give him a few pairs of glasses for his poorer clients, (so do send us your reading or prescription glasses, ready for us to take on our next mission trips).
JOURNEY HOME: The journey back to Quito was in torrential rain. The suitcases traveling on the roof although covered got wet, so, late at night we were using Glenda’s hairdryer to dry the clothes we needed to travel in the next day. A small price to pay for so blessed a journey, God was true and trustworthy and with every change He just confirmed that He was in control. With no time to prepare He would fill us afresh, with precious “fresh manna” for those He was sending us to. It is a lesson in keeping in the Word so that we are READY at all times in season and out.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths”
BIG THANK YOU to all of you praying for this journey and all the things God wanted to do, and to all those who made it possible with financial blessings. We travelled Standby which reduced the cost and were able to get the flights we wanted. Thank you also for the items of clothing, toys and Christian books we were able to give to those we interacted with, they were all so pleased and encouraged. So please be encouraged too and blessed for being a part of this special time of God visiting His people in Ecuador. We stand in amazement of what a wonderful God we serve.
“GREAT is the Lord and most worthy of praise. HIS GREATNESS no one can fathom.” Psalm 145:3