“Our heart shall rejoice in Him”  Psalm 33:21

This letter was turned into a video:

A week ago Saturday my heart was rejoicing in Him as I stood in the Shiripuno River. I was looking up on the bank at twelve Shuar Indians who were preparing their hearts to be baptized. Among them were two couples who had been living together for over ten years. They would be married later that night so there were many guests from neighboring communities, some from the Macas area, and seven from Mechanicsburg, Pa. Daybreak Alliance Church.

Daybreak Church has brought teams the last five years to Ecuador and we have come to love them like family. Deb Rutan, who is on the mission staff there, does an outstanding job preparing and leading teams and we look forward to their help each year. Her fourteen

year old daughter Kelly believes the Lord is calling her to missions, therefore; she wanted to be baptized with the others to say YES to the Lord.

One by one they came to the river’s edge and shared from their hearts. Pablo a strong hunter began to speak and knelt forward crying saying: “I confess that I have been a terrible sinner. I have been on the wrong road my entire life. I have believed in Jesus and He has changed me and has helped keep me on the road to heaven.” His bride Flor, later said: “I lived for fiestas and to do bad things. Now I see that there is a better way. Jesus is the way. He gives us a happy life a better life.” The school teacher Avelino holding his fists out gripped tight said: “I have beaten my wife; I was always drinking and wasting my family’s money on alcohol. God has forgiven me, changed me and I am grateful to Him.”

Scott Weaver a Professor at Messiah College helped me baptize them one by one. All of them had tears in their eyes. Lucio and Luciano are eleven year old twins. They wanted to be baptized arm in arm so we baptized them together. (pictured in first photo above)

Up on the bank there were Huaorani Indians from nearby and all of the other guests and members of the community of Peas watching and listening. It was a powerful moment and the Lord’s presence was with us. Three brothers who were watching later that night after the wedding came forward to receive Christ. Ulises gave a wonderful message and invitation.

The brides wore white gowns and were so excited. Daybreak’s Cheryl Fell and Kelly did a wonderful sacred dance to the song “Oh How He Loves Us” and everyone pressed in to watch them. Later in the week they began to teach a Huaorani women Gladys and a Shuar sister Clementina the dance. (pictured below) When you think about the five missionaries who were martyred years ago watching this seen was one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed in my life.

Over the past three years we have had to gain permission from the community leaders to enter. Sometimes there are heated arguments and we never know if we will be allowed in. Last Monday the leaders invited us to a special assembly. A motion had been made to allow us access as members of the community. They allowed us to speak about our motives for coming. They then asked us to leave and they voted to receive us as one of their own. This is a huge blessing. I never dreamed this would happen.

When Christ commanded us to “Go and make disciples and to baptize them” I think that we focus too much on what we must do. I have learned over the years that His promise “I will be with you” is far more important. He is the one who convicts the world of sin. He is the one who gives divine appointments. He is the one that gives a repentant heart. He is the one who saves and gives a hunger and thirst for His word. He is the one that puts a song in our hearts. He is the one who sanctifies us. He is the one who gives us a desire to share with others.

Today let our hearts rejoice in Him!

Love Mark & Cheryl