We have now been in Loja Ecuador almost a year and a half. I can’t believe how fast time has flown. We have met so many new friends and had so many opportunities to serve in the local churches. Looking back on this year and a half, I am blown away by how God has orchestrated our lives and lead us in ways I could never have thought of.
Many of you know that I am a health food nut, and several times in my life God has used the topic of nutrition to speak to me. Well now, lo and behold, God is doing it again! Since being in Loja I started a class called Pura Vida (Pure Life) and in that class we discuss nutrition and what the Bible has to say on the issue. The class gave me the opportunity to be on a local radio program talking about nutrition and overcoming sickness, and the radio program led to a spanish blog! Wow! I would never have imagined that a hobby that I liked could give me so many opportunities to share my faith with others. Now, weekly I have people coming to the house because they have a health crisis and want to know how normal everyday kinds of foods can restore their health and give them PURA VIDA.
If you speak Spanish check out my blog at: Pura Vida Lojana
I grew up in a christian home and I was very involved with church. Some of my earliest memories are of attending Vacation Bible School and hearing missionaries speak about their work and adventures. I am very proud to say that Woodlawn Christian Church in Knoxville, TN is the church where I grew up and is where my spiritual journey began.
As a young person I was very aware that God has a plan and purpose for each person and that only in finding HIS plan and purpose would I be fulfilled and satisfied. I attended college at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where I studied Music Production and Engineering. After graduating from Berklee, I continued to work and seek God’s will for my life. I knew there had to be more to life than just working a job…making a pay check… and buying things.
In my search for significance God led me back to my hometown of Knoxville, TN to work where everyone knew me. He gave me a job at Johnson Bible College. This job not only put me in a spiritually nurturing atmosphere, it gave me the opportunity to take some Bible and Missions classes, and I had my summer months relatively free to travel. At the same time, God opened a wonderful door for me to worship at a campus ministry at the University of Tennessee. The Christian Student Fellowship was a wonderful place to worship and grow. In 1989 I went on a mission trip to San Pedro Sula, Honduras with a group from the Christian Student Fellowship. This was my first experience outside the US and it changed my life!
I came back a changed person and I was certain that I wanted to spend the rest of my life sharing Jesus with people in a cross cultural setting. I began studying Spanish, and helping start a Hispanic outreach in Knoxville. In my search for all the pieces to the puzzle of my life, I began going on mission trips every chance I got. Several trips later, I went to South America where I fell in love with Ecuador and the beautiful Andes Mountains. I also met and fell in love with a wonderful man named Jeff Rains who wanted to spend his life in cross cultural ministry as well. A year later, we were married and returned to Ecuador as career missionaries where we served for 14 wonderful years. Our three children – Nathanael, Kaitlyn & Abby – were all born in Ecuador.
From 2007 through 2011 we lived in Boone, North Carolina, where my husband worked with Samaritan’s Purse. We enjoyed the beautiful mountain community and made many wonderful friends. However, the Lord put in our heart a longing to return to Ecuador.
God has blessed us with the opportunity to serve with SIM in Loja, Ecuador, since May of 2012. Our desire is to submit ourselves fully to the voice of the one who gave everything for us… to pour out our lives for others knowing that we will be transformed by this process we call missions, and we will sow the word of God in the hearts of many so that they, too, can walk in submission to the lover of our souls – JESUS CHRIST!
Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always… (Matthew 28:19-20)