Ecuador: It's hard to put it into words

It’s really difficult to sum up an incredible week of ministry here in Ecuador. We’ve seen a lot, experienced a lot, served a lot… and slept very little. I know I can speak for everyone here when I say we are all very exhausted, but it’s the good kind of exhausted… the kind of exhausted that you know you gave your all to something that actually mattered and has a Kingdom purpose. Usually after this kind of exhausted comes some of the best sleep of your life. So let’s catch you up on the last two days…

Yesterday, Wednesday, was another slam packed day. We began the morning by going to the church plant I mentioned in an earlier post… the church for whom the construction team built all the benches. So far the they have a couple of core families that want to be involved, and it meets right in the heart of Pelileo, a town just outside the main city of Ambato. It was really awesome, first of all, to see an example of healthy church planting and secondly, to get to pray as a team for the start of the church. It was a meaningful time and we are eager to hear how this church does getting off the ground.

After that, I had the great privilege to follow Laura Cribb and some of the amazing staff at Camp Chacauco to a local nursing home where they led in a time of playing music and encouraging the residents to sing and dance. Laura is a Music Therapist back home, and she works at a nursing home doing similar things as she did today. It was so wonderful watching the residents moving and singing to the songs they knew, and they were absolutely touched by Laura and the team’s visit. 

Back at the church in Montalvo, our team had a great turnout for VBS and for our medical team. Our construction guys continued with making the benches for the church in Pelileo. 

Today was a great culmination of all the work we did this week. We had the biggest turnout of the week for VBS, with over 80 kids who showed up today. Our team handled it like pros though, and gave it all they got whether it was with dramas, crafts, recreation, or whatever. Our construction team completed over 30 benches to be used, and so our guys went hard at work filling a giant whole in the back of the property to that it could be leveled and built upon in the future. Whatever our guys were asked to do, they did it with a glad heart. It was truly inspiring to watch.

Our medical team saw the most people they have all week… with well over 130 people seen in total for the whole week. I love seeing such tangible ways to be the hands and feet of Christ exemplified, and it absolutely was with our team. They loved on and served their patients wholeheartedly all week, and it was evident that was their first priority… they worked through just about every break we had and even continued working long after VBS was over and the rest of us went to dinner. They had to meet us at our dinner spot late because they didn’t want to turn people away… truly an example of Christ to the community of Montalvo.

After dinner, we returned back to Montalvo Baptist for an evening worship service. We were truly blessed and encouraged by the leadership of Montalvo. As we wrapped up the service, we were presented with gifts of gratitude for all the work we did this week. I watched as the pastor’s wife, Jenny, the woman who has been our helping hand and guide throughout the entire week, got emotional multiple times as she thanked us for all we did. I think sometimes we underestimate the power of our work as a whole. I know most of us have thought these questions… how could we really have that much impact in such a short time? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to send money so these churches could just hire out what they need instead of paying to go ourselves? Does it all really make a difference? Well, it does. Her words of thankfulness spoke volumes to me. We don’t always know why God calls us to certain places to do certain things, even things that sometimes seem insignificant. But what matters is that one, we respond to God’s call to go, and two, to give it all. I got to witness as our team gave their all, all week, and I’m not the only one. The church we got to serve noticed too and they were spurred on in love to continue the work that they’re doing and I know they are ever-grateful for the week this Johnson Ferry team got to come and simply lend a hand in the growing Kingdom work that’s happening in the community of Montalvo. 

It’s been an awesome week to say the least. We’re thankful for the great many things the Lord has called us to and even more grateful for his many blessings that he’s poured out on us and our new friends. Tomorrow we make our journey back toward Quito and we fly home in the evening. Make sure to find some of our team members when they get back and ask them about their trip… I’m sure they’ll have a few good stories to share. We hope you’ll join us in praying for our mission partners, Steve and Carol Thompson, the local church in Montalvo where we got to serve all week, and all the other new friends we got to meet all week through our various ministry activities. The Kingdom of God is growing like crazy here in Ecuador. Thanks for journeying with us this week… much love from South America!