Last week I traveled back to Pennsylvania to be able to spend two weeks with family and friends and celebrate Thanksgiving. As sometimes is the case when traveling, I had my “red eye” flight canceled out of Quito. Instead of arriving back in Cameron County, Pennsylvania at 3 pm that afternoon, I arrived at 3 am the following day.
Although the change in flight plans was definitely not welcomed (who wants to be delayed on their homecoming?), it did give me some extra time to reflect on the past couple of months.
The last few months have been busy with preparations for the Ninawachi Mission School. As I reflected, I realized that I hadn’t a blog for some time.
In this blog I hope to share with you a little bit of what God has been doing here in Ecuador.. In July I had asked for prayer for a 14-year old neighbor boy, Angelo, who had been hit by a truck. He had serious head trauma, and the outlook didn’t look good. In fact, in the days after the accident he almost died a couple of times. He was in a coma and hooked up to a respirator.
Three days after I asked for prayer in the newsletter, I went to visit Angelo and his parents in the hospital in Quito. I couldn’t believe what I found. Angelo was sitting up. Three days earlier doctors were able to take him off the respirator. The next day he came out of a coma.
Today, Angelo is back in Huaticocha studying in high school. Except for a few small scars on his head, he looks like nothing ever happened. He has completely recovered. Nobody ever expected that. It has been nothing short of a miracle and an answer to prayers.
The last week of September I had the opportunity to visit several of the Shuar Communities our team has been working in along the Via Auca road, south of the provincial capital of Coca.
As I walked the hour hike back into the community of Jua (In Spanish “J” is pronounced like the English “H.”), I had to pass through another Shuar community, Kunkuk. As I was passing through, I saw a couple I knew from nearby Peas, so I stopped to greet them.
While there, a man who was visibly drunk came up to me and started talking to me and asking me questions. He gave me some chicha to drink, a drink made of mashed mantioc root that is drunk throughout the Amazon indigenous communities. When he found out that I was a missionary, he asked me to visit him because he wanted to know the Word of God.
I planned to be back in Kunkuk four days later, so we set a time for me to visit him and his family. The man’s name was Miguel Chamik. As it turns out, he was an older brother to Daniel Chamik, who along with his family had received Christ into his life with Ulises and I in February.
After I left Miguel, I found out that three weeks earlier he had lost a 16-year old daughter. She died of a respiratory illness a couple of weeks after giving birth to a baby girl. Now, Miguel and his wife were raising the baby.
Life is difficult in rural areas of the Amazon. When I met with Miguel and his wife Victoria later that week, they shared that this daughter was the fourth child they had lost. A year earlier they had lost a 30-year old son, and they had also lost a 14-year old daughter and a baby who had died at birth. With tears in her eyes, Victoria asked me what they had done to make God punish them like this.
While at the hospital in Quito with their daughter the previous month, different people had shared the hope of Jesus with them. The day I arrived at their house, the seed of the gospel had already been planted in their hearts.
I shared that here on earth we will never really know why God had allowed their daughter to die so young, but we can be certain of his love for us—God the Father loves us so much that he didn’t even spare the life of the Son in order to reach us in our lost state.
I shared with Miguel and Victoria about Job in the Old Testament, a righteous man who suffered immense loss. God wasn’t punishing Job and neither was he punishing them. I shared how they could put their faith in Jesus for salvation and the forgiveness of their sins. It was an emotional moment as I sat there with Miguel and Victoria as they prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
On my trip back home last week, I reflected on the fact that there are thousands of people like Miguel Chamik and his wife Victoria throughout the remote areas of eastern Ecuador that are hurting and hungry to know the good news of Jesus Christ. What Jesus said in Matthew 9: 37, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few,” certainly holds true for the Amazon Region of Ecuador. Pray that through the Ninawachi Missions School God will prepare workers to work in the harvest fields of Ecuador.