Thursday, January 8, 2009

una noche linda...

Tonight was what Ecuadorians would call a "noche linda."

The Sisalema family remembered that I had said my three favorite things in the world are coffee, bread, and icecream.  After lunch, we all headed to the corner store and had icecream sandwiches. What a sweet blessing.

Afterwards, we went to the Sisalema family's church to prepare for their Wednesday night Bible study. Pastor Sisalema was beginning a new series on Philippians and we were beginning in chapter 1.  I have to admit that I felt a little out of place there not knowing anyone, however the Lord really used this time to refresh my spirit and remind me to rejoice in Him despite my past and present circumstances.  A hermano {brother} in the church played the guitar while we sang from a song book -- "Cantare de tu amor" (I will sing of your love) was such a beautiful song... I need to find the lyrics and write them to remind myself of what we sang.  I know it was beautiful and it reminded me of how often I "look" in the world for what my heart is crying for, and how I can only find the answers in God Himself.

Javier... a new believer, just accepted Christ tonight during prayer time at the Bible study.  After the service, I approached Javier and told him "felicitaciones" for his decision.  I laughed at my broken attempt to congratulate him and he smiled, assuring me that my spanish was understood.  What I gathered from Javier was that he is currently 27 years old, and from the icon on his shirt, he works for General Motors (GM).  Pastor told me later that he had come to Iglesia Nueva Vida two times before tonight.  He mentioned to another hermano that he felt like God was calling him, or as Revelations says, "knocking on the door" of his heart and his life.  Tonight, he has chosen to give his life to Christ.  I could tell by the look on his face that he was experiencing an array of emotions... excitement, fear, feelings of discomfort, wonders of what is to come in his life...

As another hermano told him, "his life is never going to be the same." Que lindo this story.  His courage inspires me and reminds me of the days when I first learned about Christ's love for me. Everything was new... the Bible was exciting, meeting brothers and sisters in the church filled me with joy, I was on fire... yes, the passion was real.

I am reminded of another hermano I met in the church. I cannot pronounce his name, but I will never forget His story.  He is originally from Mexico and lived in California working as a handy-man. He told me that He felt like God was calling Him to Ecuador, so he sold all of his things, bought a plane ticket, and came.  As he was sharing, I chuckled because I could relate to so many of the things He was sharing -- leaving everything and just going.  He asked me to pray for guidance in His life, and for confirmation of how God wanted Him to use the many gifts he had given him.  He also asked me to pray for his wife (an Ecuadorian woman he married after coming to Quito) and for his child on the way.  As he told me, he never imagined that he would be where he is today and when people ask him what he is doing here in Quito, he responds with, "I don't know. Ask God."

I am blessed to be here, if even for a short period of time.  Pastor Hector and Nancy are such caring people.  Tonight, they sat for a few minutes wanting to hear more of my story and how God had called me to Ecuador.  I shared with them the pain that caused me to live for five unbearably-difficult months questioning the Lord and His plans for my life.  I shared with them how God had used the recent pain in my life to confirm who He is and what He is calling me to do.  I shared with them how bitter-sweet it was to leave the states and how confused I am about the future.

They listened with such caring hearts and then prayed for me.  I am blessed to be surrounded by such a beautiful, godly family. I am thankful for the ways they have opened their doors to me and how excited they are to have me here.  Even if I stay for a week, I will have been blessed to know them and have seen the love of Christ being manifested in their home and community.

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