“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
During this time of uncertainty and sometimes confusion, our faith in the Lord Jesus is a rock of stability. As we grow in our faith and relationship with the Lord, as we learn about who He is, we have a place to come to when the things around us shift. We humbly acknowledge and find satisfaction that He knows everything from beginning to end.
This past month in Ecuador has been interesting. Ron took a trip to the jungle and stayed in Sinangue (the virus has pretty much gone through everyone there with no fatalities) and did a drive through in Dureno and Dovuno (still having active cases). Thank you for praying for the Cofan people. We are happy to report that thus far there have been no casualties that we know of from the virus. However, as the churches have continued to meet during this time, we have seen a growing interest and need in the people for something of certainty and many are making decisions and coming forward for baptism. We ask for prayer for the church leaders and for those making these steps of faith – that they will be strong and given wisdom and that they may grow in their faith and knowledge of the Lord.
Ron also did a quick survey on this trip of the area affected by the San Rafael/Coca Falls waterfall collapse. Our cover photo is how the falls basin looks now. There has been a lot of erosion on the river above the falls that has taken out the main road in a few places and put a small town in danger. We are praying the area stabilizes soon.
For the last few weeks we have had Eugenio (Ijinio) from the village of Dovuno staying on property. He worked hard the last months saving money for cataract surgery and with a special gift from the States to help out, we were able to get him the much needed operations. The eye doctor here in Quito did his left eye first as he was blind in that eye. Five days later they did his right eye. The return of his sight has been remarkable and he is SO thankful! Today he has his week follow-up from his second surgery and then we believe he will be released to return home.
His daughter Gladis has also been with us, part of the time with her husband Wiliam and older son, and the rest of the time with just her younger son. She has been here for continued chemo treatment for her breast cancer, and has been a help and encouragement to her dad who had the eye surgeries. Her prognosis is not good, so we ask for prayer for her as she takes each day as a gift, serving her family and trusting in the Lord.
Another highlight from the past weeks is that we met IN PERSON with our Homeschool Teen Fellowship group! It was so amazing to be with these wonderful young people and see their delight in meeting for the first time with their group of friends since March 13th – 6 1/2 months! We are limited to groups of 25, so allowed 20 to sign up (had to count the leaders and other people on property) and 19 attended. Some could not attend in person, so during our song and Bible study time, we had at least 6 students attend on Zoom. What a blessing! Pray for our next meeting coming up this Friday, October 16th.
Meanwhile, we have been working a lot on Zoom with meetings and Bible study. Sunday our day looks something like this: online church, Zoom Sunday school, and Zoom youth group in the mornings. In the evening we meet by Zoom in a small group to discuss the morning service and share and pray together. Ron also has weekly elder or church board meetings on Zoom, weekly Tuesday night Bible study, weekly Thursday morning Bible study and a monthly men’s breakfast. The men’s breakfast met in person this past Saturday at church for the first time since March, but only had four in attendance. There is still much hesitation and fear in many people to meet in person.
Esther continues her women’s study on Tuesdays by Zoom (a subject study on humility) and a women’s study on Wednesday by Zoom (just finished up 1-2 Peter and Jude and are starting 1-2 Thessalonians). Both these studies with different groups of ladies are such a blessing!
We continue to pray that the church we attend here will someday soon be able to open in person again. There are many protocols that have to be in place before we can legally meet again. We appreciate your prayers for us and the church leadership as they look to the Lord for wisdom and direction in this.
Lord willing, our daughter Sarah will be able to join us again October 24th. The Lord had her trip postponed for a reason as she has been a help to her her sister Julia and baby Rosemarie as they ready for a move. She has also been a help to her brother Aaron as he settles to living on his own. She has been able to continue her Ecuador girls Bible study on Monday afternoons by Zoom.
Lydia has returned to Mexico to work with her little school near Samachique. She started a little preschool class at church (for her future students?) and enjoys working in the garden and cooking on her off hours.
Our son Isaac is busy with his post-graduate studies at Pensacola Christian College in Florida. He also works about 30 hours a week on campus to help pay for his room and board and tuition. His girlfriend Yvonne continues to work on her degree in accounting. We appreciate prayers for them and the school as it sounds like students have been taking their turns in the quarantine housing as the virus works its way through the population. Oh, and they got to experience their first hurricane when Sally came through. The school experienced very little damage and were the only ones that had electricity (and air-conditioning!) right after the storm. The school took a few days off as the students volunteered their time to help clean up the campus and the neighborhoods surrounding the school. Very impressed with this school on so many levels!
We hope to get back to writing at least monthly on this blog again. Meanwhile, if you would like to get weekly updates, please check out our Facebook page.