Early one cool Monday morning last August, Jeff was meeting with a small group of men for discipleship. One man named Horley asked for prayer for his nephew named Marco. He said, “Marco is not a believer, but I believe he is seeking. I have been sharing the gospel with him and encouraging him to read the Bible.” That day the men’s discipleship group began to pray regularly for Marco.
About two weeks later, we had the privilege of meeting Marco. Jeff took advantage of the opportunity to tell him he wanted to join with his uncle in encouraging him to read the Bible. He also told Marco he would like to hear his thoughts about what he was reading. During that period of time, Jeff had been discouraged by how slow the progress had been in ministry. So Jeff was curious to see how Marco would respond to his challenge.
Not long after we met Marco, he returned to the university where he is studying in Cuenca. It was a pleasant surprise for Jeff that Marco stayed in touch regularly. Every time they talked, Marco had a list of thought-provoking questions that made it clear that he was reading regularly and reflecting on the truth of God’s word. In February, Marco came by our house to talk with Jeff. He said, “I want to thank you for encouraging me to read the Bible. I now understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, and I want to follow him and be baptized.”
During this same period of time, Terri was studying the Bible with Marco’s mother, Auria. It was exciting to see how each of them discovered the truth of the gospel and made the decision to follow Christ on their own. It was a joy to see them both baptized on February 19th.
This experience reminded us of 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It is true that there is a lot of resistance to the gospel in Loja. However, it is worth all the time, energy and resources we are investing to see God make light shine out of darkness. Thank you for partnering with us in the harvest through your prayers and financial support!
Jeff and Terri
Last week I had the privilege to share the important works of C. S. Lewis with University Students. Pray that the significance of these words will penetrate their hearts and minds producing spiritual fruit.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C. S. Lewis
Has God ever surprised you so completely with the answer to your prayers that you were speechless? That is just what happened to us after praying for several months for doors of opportunity to open for us here in Loja. Late afternoon one day last August, I was literally on my bed praying about several needs we were experiencing and also praying that God would give us clear direction in ministry when the doorbell rang. It was my neighbor asking if I would be willing to teach her children English. It seemed so obvious that this was God’s way of meeting my immediate need that I said yes. For several months I taught English in our home and got to know our neighbors better. Then, my neighbor asked me if I would be interested in teaching English to some people that she works with. I said yes, not knowing what a golden opportunity it was that she was offering me. As it turned out my neighbor, María Isabel and her colleagues not only work at the The Technical University in Loja, one of the most respected Universities in Ecuador, but they are teacher trainers for new professors at the University. One thing led to another, and now Jeff and I are both teaching classes at the UTPL (Private Technical University in Loja). We daily rub shoulders with some of the most talented and influential people in this part of the country. We teach English to students who will one day have a great influence on their society. I am speechless with Joy and gratitude for this new adventure. – Terri
Universidad Técnica de Loja
We prepare our children their whole lives for the moment when they will strike out on their own; for when they spread their wings and test their own skill and strength. As hard as it is to let them go, it is a moment to celebrate. It is the celebration of not only all we as parents have sown in the hearts and minds of our children; it is the unveiling of a life created and designed by God for His glory. So, in admiration of all God has done, we open our arms and let them go knowing that they were only ours to hold…. for a while.
This song is dedicated to our son Nathanael and to all the parents who have opened their arms to let their children go.
I continue to have opportunities to share with people about nutrition and the importance of taking responsability for our own health. I was invited to travel to Quito 12 hours from Loja to do three conferences in three different cities in and around Quito. We had a total of 60 people enrolled in the conferences and we met in homes, and in one case, we met in a restaurant kitchen. That was really nice!
The first day I shared about vegetable juices and smoothies. The second day we talked about how to make our cooked food more nutritious and what oils and salts are healthy. The third day we made raw tacos and raw spaghetti..and you guessed it… we talked about the importance of raw food for health and vitality.
Many of the people who attended the conferences form part of several small home churches in the Quito area. We had a Sunday service together in a beautiful restaurant and the worship was fantastic. I feel so blessed to have met so many new friends and had the opportunity to pray with some who are struggling with serious illnesses. I traveled back to Loja feeling blessed and filled to the brim with new ideas for ministry in the future and a great appreciation for small home churches. Jeff and I feel like that might be a great option in Loja to reach more people with the Gospel.
If you have never tried raw tacos or raw spaghetti, check out the recipes below. You will be plesantly surprised!
These tacos are made by filling romaine lettuce leaves with a sesame cheese sauce and chopped salad bar ingredients. The sesame cheese recipe is below but you can try these tacos with homemade guacmole instead of the chesse sause. Mmmmm delicious!
Sesame Cheese Sauce
1/2 pound of hulled sesame seeds
2 pieces of fresh garlic
the juice of 2 limes
3/4 of a teaspoon of cumin
3/4 of a teaspoon of sea salt
Blend all the ingredients in a blender with minimal water stiring to help the blender chop up the sesame seeds. Cilantro is optional.
Make zucchini noodles with a spiralizer or flat wide noodles with a vegetable peeler and top with your favorite marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce. Mmmm! Don’t forget to use lots of garlic and basil in your sauce.
I am very proud to be a United States citizen. I love my country and very much appreciate the blessings and privileges that my citizenship affords me. Having lived overseas for many years, I am many times moved to tears upon hearing the national anthem. But on February 23rd, I felt a new pride. For the first time, Jeff and I had the privilege of voting in Ecuador. We now have our resident visas, which gives us the privilege to vote. Today I identified with the Ecuadorian people in a new and deeper way. As I got in a taxi this morning to head to the polls, it was nice to chat with the cab driver about the candidates and and ask if he had voted yet. In that 5 minute cab ride, I felt a camaraderie with the citizens of Loja as everyone made their way to the polls. As I turned in my ballot, it was gratifying to identify with over 11 million registered voters in Ecuador* (voting is mandatory, beginning at age 18).
We love Ecuador and count it a privilege to serve as missionaries in this beautiful country. Our children were born in Ecuador and have been blessed to have two home countries, two languages and two cultures. Nothing can ever change the way I feel about “The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,” but on Sunday I felt a little swell of pride as I took my place among my friends and neighbors to elect a new mayor and other officials for the city of Loja. Pray that God will help us to make a difference both in our country of origin and in this place where He has called us to serve.
* According to the website eleccionesenecuador.com
Saturday, the 15th of February, was a fun, informal day when those who participate in the Pura Vida class could come and see some good videos and documentaries about nutrition.
We continue to make friends and share about the The Great physician with those who have an interest in healthy living and living foods. Below are some links to two videos in particular that are very powerful and promote a whole foods, plant based diet. You and your family can have your own nutritional video night.
Forks Over Knives
If you like the trailer you can watch the full documentary online free.
Cancer – “Dying to Have Known”
At 11:45 pm on Friday night, February 13th, I was just getting to bed, when our doorbell rang! Jeff went to answer the door as I got dressed. I heard some music coming from the street, and when I got to the door, I realized that the music was for me and Jeff. It was a “serenata” by the youth of our church, complete with violin solo. They traveled with amplifier, mixer and computer. Our whole neighborhood got a serenade that night. Three songs later I was snug in my bed thinking how nice it was for the youth to take the time to come and sing to us and wish us a happy Valentine’s Day. We were just one of many that were serenaded that night. I suppose this is one of the reasons Loja is considered the arts and music capital of Ecuador.
The ministry we call ” Pura Vida” continues to have an impact on the health and well being of the people who listen to the Pura Vida radio program and on those who attend the classes. Jeff and I have both been sharing in the class, and we continue to have people stop by the house because they have questions about health and nutrition. In the class we share the importance of taking responsability for our health. We emphasize the importance of eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Loja, Ecuador, is an ideal place to share this message, because we have so many fruits and veggies available year round. Soon I, Terri, will have the opportunity to participate in a radio program on a secular station and possibly even a local television program. We are grateful for all these opportunities, and often we are surprised that people are willing to talk not only about their physical health, but about their spiritual health as well.
On February 1st, a young woman who had heard about Pura Vida on the radio came by to talk. She explained that her mother had cancer, and that she, too, had several health problems. She also shared that she had been a victim of incest as a child and how that had been the beginning of many problems in her life. What a great opportunity to talk about the great physician and how He can transform our lives and our health. Maybe you’ve never stopped to think about how our mental and emotional state affect on our body’s ability to fight sickness. And, obviously, our physical condition can affect our emotional and mental outlook. It is a joy to know that the God who formed us and knows us perfectly is ready and willing to meet our needs and offer healing for our bodies, minds and hearts.
This Christmas was truly a Christmas to remember. Jeff and I were invited to speak at a retreat in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. We decided to take the whole family, even our spoiled English Cocker, and make some family memories along the way. It was a grueling 15 hour trip through mountains, jungle and coast. However, the opportunity to fellowship with many friends we had not seen for several years made it all worthwhile.
We enjoyed sharing biblical principles for a healthy marriage. Several couples told us the principles we shared met a very real and present need in their lives. We even had a few opportunities to counsel people during the retreat. We also had the privilege of seeing our dear friends Alberto Ayoví and his wife, Mercedes.
As we left Esmeraldas we took a detour through the jungle to a place called Shell. Shell has traditionally been the jungle outpost where many missionaries came before taking a plane or boat into more remote parts of the jungle. You may have read about five missionaries who were killed by members of the Waodani (also known as Auca) tribe. God has blessed us with opportunities to meet some of the family members of the five martyrs. It has amazed us to see how God has used this tragic event to transform the lives of the Waodani people and lead individuals around the world to serve Him as missionaries.
We had the privilege of spending Christmas day with a grandson of one of the Waodani men who was involved in killing the missionaries that fateful day in 1956. Gilberto and his wife live in Shell and continue helping the Waodani people to move into the 21st century while maintaining their culture and heritage. He is overseeing the recording of the New Testament in the language of the Waodani and is instrumental in helping the Ecuadorian government understand the needs of this rural tribe.
The Christmas story is about how Almighty God came to this earth to give His life to redeem people lost and separated from Him. How inspiring to know five men followed Christ’s example by giving their lives so that the Waodani people might understand what it means to “walk on God’s trail.” We salute the missionaries who have served this tribe for many years and in many ways. The story of the Waodani people is a story of forgiveness and transformation. If you would like to know more, check out the links below. We can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas!
Steven Curtis Chapman: No Greater Love
Christianity Today article: Did They Have to Die?
Movie: End of the Spear (YouTube)