Hello, everyone! It’s been a long while since we wrote a blog post. Life has been crazy, and even during this time of lock-down and no travel God has taken us places and kept us busy!
Why 140 days when we all know that doesn’t correspond at all to when all this virus stuff started happening? Well, it’s the time I’ve spent (Esther) on a journey following God and being stretched these past months. I was on a journey of obedience and going out of my comfort zone…which might sound strange to some of you who know I’ve lived in a tribal village in South America. But I guess all of us have our ideas and self imposed limits that God has to break at times.
It started with a virus and travel plans changing. Then the unknown and fear that was put in pretty much every mode of communication out there. ALL of us were strongly encouraged to just stay home, and I was more than happy to comply especially with the introvert side of me. My home here is comfortable and I have everything that I physically need. But God called me to travel in April, when flights were infrequent and canceled left and right. He called me to leave my comfy home and breathe in clouds of disinfectant as I flew from Quito, Ecuador to Spokane, WA to be with my daughter and son-in-law for the birth of our first grandchild. The airplane and airports were eerily empty and the flight boards filled with “canceled,” but God opened the way. I went by myself, but not alone as God was present with me all the way. In the discomfort of obeying, I found great joy in being at the birth of Rosemarie and giving whatever assistance to the midwife and my daughter and husband. It was an amazing, beautiful experience that God blessed me with. And not least, God gave me peace in the obedience.
Going for the birth of a baby, even with a strange journey to get there, is very exciting. But God had called me to something else. My mom was finally scheduled for her second knee replacement. I had helped with the first, and even with my nurses’ training, it is never enjoyable to help a loved one go through bone aching pain. Helping them find that balance between tearful, crying pain AND pain-med fog AND necessary movement – at times almost seems impossible. One asks for much wisdom and strength from the Lord during a time like that. Since I had helped with the first one, I knew what I was getting into. But I love my mom dearly and I knew without a shadow of doubt, that God had called me to be with her during this time. We did get through it. It wasn’t easy and there were setbacks the first weeks, but Mom is well on her way now to getting independently on her feet again. Thank you for your many prayers.
Ron and Sarah were able to leave Ecuador part way through this time – 54 days into my journey to be exact. I kept a daily prayer journal, including my devotions. I read a Psalm each day and recorded my favorite parts and thoughts. It was the longest time we had been apart our whole marriage (coming on 33 years this month!) and a challenge in itself. So thankful for the internet…though even that had it challenges during this time.
Some great things happened during this strange virus time. We actually had ALL of our family together for several week in Washington state! It was totally unexpected, but God provided housing and a car for us and time to just be together.
Another was the connections I was able to make with some of the women in my own family. I was able to start a Bible study with my sister, sister-in-law, nieces and daughters and daughter-in-law together using Zoom. We are in a great study right now in 1, 2 Peter and it has been a tremendous joy. I encourage any of you to do the same.
We also had some weeks of nightly scheduled prayer times by Zoom with our kids. It was a time to share our day, burdens and pray together. It gave me extra encouragement and strength during some hard days. We hope to get it started up again soon.
Yes, we slowed down and concentrated on relationships with those in our family and with our Lord and Savior.
And in ministry, we continued to be connected to our people here in Ecuador with Zoom Bible studies and calls to just visit and catch up with one another. It was a lesson to learn that we can still be quite involved in ministry with the communication tools available to us at this time. Amazing!
So, we are back in Ecuador now. Ron and I flew back down together from Spokane, WA to Quito, Ecuador. The airplanes had more people – some half full, some very full – and the airports were not crowded. We had more paperwork to fill out, C-virus tests to take before our flight, more lines on arrival to wade through, but we are here! Supposedly the gov’t here hits a deadline this Sunday Sept. 13th and some of the rules will be changed. We shall see. The virus is still quite active here, but we long to meet people in person once again. How we have taken that privilege for granted! A handshake, Ecuadorian abrazo, sitting across a table from someone and sharing a conversation and laugh with them…
One last thing: The virus has been to the Cofan village of Sinangue and it appears that most have had it there with no deaths (one elderly woman who had been bedridden for a couple years did pass away). It is also active in Dureno – on it’s second wave right now. No deaths in the first wave and we are praying for none in the second. Talking to folks from Dovuno, they aren’t even sure if the virus has been there yet.
…And you think that schooling in the States and Quito are a challenge! Be one of the teachers in a Cofan village that has to go house-to-house each day to their students and personally give and pick up the assignments! But that will be a story for another time…