Friday, August 8, 2014

FBCBG Ecuador Update

Tuesday August 5th
It is the earliest I have gotten into the apartment this week, but this consist of only four of us. Nine others are still out at Blanca’s fellowshipping and strengthening each other in the Lord (by the time I finished typing this, the others had arrived home). The four of us went to see Oscar play soccer and we had a blast getting to know his wife as we cheered Oscar on as he played. 

I thought we stayed busy on my first trip to Tabacundo, but I think we are busier this trip than the first one. As for our day, however, it was busy and fantastic all at the same time. We spent the morning getting flyers out and doing some running around to make certain all of our permits and needs were meet. I stopped counting at 100 people today and would guess there were 150 there at the park “concert”. Once again, the Ecuadorians showed out. I told you yesterday that we had more in our band that were Ecuadorians than FBCBG. Well, to our absolute surprise, the Ecuadorians also showed up as “professional” clowns and did a fantastic job. I am so proud and impressed with our Ecuadorian brothers and sisters. They are really going above and beyond to serve the Lord and declare His name.

One of the things I attempt to do is let the Holy Spirit push people outside of their comfort zones. For example, one of our members said, “I am not going to be a clown!” When it came time to do the clowns, this person was the first one to jump up to be a clown. Well, again, I have asked Pauli to do the devotional for tomorrow morning. She has agreed and she is going to be talking about baptism and how the first step of discipleship is obedience to God’s will. Pray for her as she shares.

After the Bible study, we are going to have a frantic afternoon that will mirror today as we pass out flyers for tomorrow afternoons concert and make certain all of our needs are met. We also may have a second concert tomorrow evening at Leonardo’s church. Pray for the weather to be good. Considering I mentioned the weather, let me tell you a praise report. Today the weather was rainy and as we were getting ready for the concert we were discussing 
whether we needed to cancel the concert. Just after we decided to go ahead and have the concert, the weather cleared up and we had perfect weather for the concert. 

So, you can see that tomorrow is going to be very busy as well. Pray for our strength and stamina. We really need to live in the strength of the Lord. 

Olga has just told me the official decision number from yesterday and today. Yesterday there were actually eleven people that prayed to receive Jesus and tonight there were nine. The real work begins now, Beloved. We must disciple these individual and help make them become reproducing Christians. Good night and God bless!

Wednesday August 6th
Half of the group is back in the apartment (8 p.m. Ecuadorian Time) and the other half is playing music in Leonardo’s church. Beloved, I can not express the joy of this day. Pauli lead a Bible study this morning and I have been told it was fantastic. The reason I was not in the Bible study was because a few others and I had to begin the process of passing out flyers for the afternoon concert. I was pressed way outside of my comfort zone as Paola made me walk, by myself, up streets and enter businesses and talk with people on the road that I would come across. It was an awesome experience.

We finally “perfected” the concert/show. We had the professional clowns from Jhoe’s Ecuadorian church. He and his family put on a 30 minute show. We then put on our concert of eight songs. After the songs I gave a very brief interlude to allow the drama team to get dressed for their performance. After their skit, the professional clown gave a gospel presentation. Thirteen people prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. There were over 200 people there. It was so amazing to see God work everything out today. Thank you for praying for the weather. Once again the morning and early afternoon had rain, but by the time of the concert the weather could not have been better. It was a wonderful night of God displaying His glory in many fantastic ways.

The other group just walked in and told us they had a wonderful time at Leonardo’s church. I am so overwhelmed to see how God is working this week. Our prayer for the Ecuadorians to take on more and more responsibility is taking place and it is a true joy to my heart.

Tomorrow is our free day and it is full. Pray for us to have a relaxing and enjoyable time as we experience some of the beauty of Ecuador. We are actually going to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. The young men have just left to purchase pizza for us. They will be back in about 30 minutes. In other words, we will be eating our dinner at 9:30 p.m. We are all very tired and tomorrow morning our van leaves for our fun day at 7:30 a.m. So, please continue to pray for our energy and help us to let Christ’s love be seen through us.

Thursday August 7th
AAGGHHHHH!!!! That would be the word of the day for many in our group, Paola planned a fantastic day! We got to see a volcano lake. Not only did we get to see this volcano lake, but we got to go on a boat ride on this lake. The lake was formed from the snow that had been on the volcano before it erupted. The water was soooo clear! Words truly cannot describe the clarity of this water. The God in which we serve is amazing. His creative genius is beyond the human capacity to express. We then climbed up to a summit to see a majestic vista that the pictures we have taken will never capture. It was on this leg of the adventure today that our first member had an AAGGHHHH moment as they were playing and hurt their ankle (and for your grammar people I know I just used a plural pronoun to describe a singular person—anonymity, you know).

We then went to Otavalo and did some shopping and had lunch. We ate at a new restaurant for us and it was good. It was not the best I have eaten in Ecuador, but I did get to try Ecuadorian BBQ and it was not bad. Several of these strange gringos, however, ordered breakfast for lunch, but they said it was very good as well. It was on this leg of the adventure that our second member had an AAGGHHHH moment as they had trouble walking and took a bad step and hurt their knee.

We then returned to Tabacundo and had another adventure as one of our team members had some frustrations with a miscommunication in regards to our next transpirational departure. In other words, our third AAGGHHHH moment occurred. Once again, Paola, showed her metal as she procured us another vehicle. This vehicle, however, created another unusual opportunity for laughter. Thirteen of us, plus the driver, went up to the ruins in a little pick-up truck. We had such an enjoyable time at this location; and yes, everyone, we did bring the salt and feed the lamas. Those creatures are amazing and truly reflect the splendor of our God. On the way up the mountain, our fourth AAGGHHHH moment occurred for one our team members as they were struggling with the vertical challenges of mountains.

On our return trip, we had our fifth AAGGHHHH moment as our vehicle was pulled over by the police. I can tell you that the AAGGHHHH moment did not effect anyone on our team.

After our return from the from the ruins, our team broke up into four parts. Some of the men went back to the apartment. Bruce and Klever went and got their hairs cut. The ladies went and got their nails done and they look fabulous. One last group went and made copies for us to distribute for tomorrows last concert.

We all then regrouped and went to dinner at Chilly Willies. We next came back to the apartment for a fantastic Bible study and finally concluded the day with a soccer game in which Oscar’s team won. It was a really exciting game. His team won 5-4. We had a great time with both teams. It was a lot of fun.

Beloved, tomorrow is, as I have said all week, very busy. We have several things in the morning and then we must distribute the flyers and then the concert. After the concert we have the pleasure of cleaning the apartment and packing for our trip. Most of us will not really get any sleep because we have to leave the apartment at 2 AM to head toward the airport. It will be a LONG forty-eight hours. For the last time, pray for our strength and for the ability to let us display the love of Christ to those we minister to tomorrow.
I have one last thought to bring to you tonight. I started this evenings blog with the word AAGGHHHH, but what I want you to know is that in spite of all those things, we had one of the most enjoyable days I have experienced in a long time. It was full of laughter, fellowship, pleasure, awe, and true satisfaction in the Lord. No matter what happens in our lives, our Lord Jesus is greater. His love is beyond compare. So, in reality, today was NOT a day of AAGGHHHH moments, but a day of great memories for which everyone on this team will laugh about for years to come. God bless and good night.

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