Fountain of Youth or Living Water?

Have you ever felt forgotten, left out? Maybe somebody forgot your birthday or you were the last person picked for a team. Loja is often referred to as the “Forgotten Province” of Ecuador. According to Operation World, only 0.1% of the people there know Jesus as their Savior. While the church in some areas of Ecuador is growing and maturing, the church in Loja is still struggling.

Vilcabamba, Ecuador

One small town in the Loja province – Vilcabamba – has received a lot of attention, because it is common for people there to live over 100 years. It is often called the Valley of Longevity. There are a number of theories to explain why people live so long in Vilcabamba. Some attribute it to diet & lifestyle. Others say the roots, herbs and fruit of the area offer some of the strongest anti-oxidant protection in the world. In his book, “The Secret to a Youthful Long Life”, Dr. Morton Walker proposed that the mineral rich water of the area was the secret to the long life and health the people of Vilcabamba enjoy. If you tell an Ecuadorian you went to Loja, the response will almost always be, “Did you visit Vilcabamba and drink the water?”  There is even a company that bottles and sells water from there.

It is so ironic that the province of Loja is well known for the water of Vilcabamba, yet only 0.1% of the population understands Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman, found in John 4:13-14, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

So the next time you enjoy a bottle of water, please pray:
– for the people of Loja, that God would put within them a thirst for the living water that only He can give.
– for us, as we prepare to equip leaders in Loja to share the living water with the people of the “Forgotten Province.”

Thanking God for the living water that wells up to eternal life,

Jeff & Terri

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Things I love about Ecuador…

Photo - Terri - CharangoThe People
There are so many things that I love about Ecuador.  The country is a colorful tapestry of cultures, peoples, and languages that are spread over a diverse geographical area which encompasses the tropical jungles in the amazon, the snow capped mountains of the Andes, and the beautiful coastal beaches.  Ecuador’s unique cultural flavor comes primarily from her indigenous peoples and their traditions.  While there are over 17 distinct indigenous groups, the largest group is that of the Quichuas.  There are many distinct groups of Quichuas, but all of them are known for their colorful clothing and beautiful Andean music.  Some are farmers or artisans, others are businessmen or doctors.  These descendants of the Inca Empire have left their unique fingerprints on the pages of South American history, and still provide the cultural richness that we can see, feel and taste in South America today.

Photo - Ecuadorian Folkloric GroupThe Music
I love the music of the Ecuadorian highlands.  In the picture above I am playing a charango.  It has 5 pairs of strings, is played like a mandolin and has a sound similar to the ukulele.  The charango is one of the elements that give Andean music its unique sound.  To hear some good Andean music click here.

The Food
Two foods that we have today that come from Ecuador are the potato and quinoa.  You are probably very familiar with the myriad of ways to prepare the humble but delicious potato, but quinoa is a little known grain which is wonderfully nutritious and full of protein.  Check out my recipe for quinoa and visit your local health food store to buy some of this South American super food.

¡Que viva Ecuador!

Terri

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Uncertainty in Ecuador

Photo - President CorreaYou may have seen in the news that there was a crisis in Ecuador recently.  Here is a summary from Wikipedia:

The 2010 Ecuador crisis took place on September 30, 2010, when elements of the national police and military forces of Ecuador blockaded highways, occupied the National Parliament and Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, and took over a major television station, TV Ecuador, in what they claimed were political protests against proposed cuts to their bonuses and benefits. After being attacked by the police, President Rafael Correa was taken to a hospital where he declared a state of emergency, referring to the events as an attempted coup d’état and attributing responsibility to the opposition. Clashes occurred between rebellious police forces and loyal army forces, who successfully rescued Correa after he had been held for 10 hours at the hospital. Unrest and looting had been reported around the country. The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero referred to the events as a coup d’état. The uprising left eight dead and 274 injured according Ecuador’s Health Minister.

You can find out more details about this situation by visiting Wikipedia.

As you can imagine, we were following the news closely on September 30, since we have so many friends in Ecuador.  We are thankful to hear from them that the situation has calmed down.  However, a crisis like this causes a lot of uncertainty, since people wonder what might happen next.  Please pray for the political situation in Ecuador and that our brothers and sisters in Christ will make the most of this opportunity to share the hope and security we have in Jesus Christ.

Thankful to God for answering our prayers…

Jeff & Terri

You may have seen in the news that there was a crisis in Ecuador this past week.  Here is a summary of what happened by Wikipedia:

The 2010 Ecuador crisis took place on September 30, 2010, when elements of the national police and military forces of Ecuador blockaded highways, occupied the National Parliament and Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, and took over a major television station, TV Ecuador, in what they claimed were political protests against proposed cuts to their bonuses and benefits. After being attacked by the police, President Rafael Correa was taken to a hospital where he declared a state of emergency, referring to the events as an attempted coup d’état and attributing responsibility to the opposition. Clashes occurred between rebellious police forces and loyal army forces, who successfully rescued Correa after he had been held for 10 hours at the hospital. Unrest and looting had been reported around the country. The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero referred to the events as a coup d’état. The uprising left eight dead and 274 injured according Ecuador’s Health Minister.

You can find out more details about this situation by visiting Wikipedia.

As you can imagine, we were following the news closely on Thursday, since we have so many friends in Ecuador.  We are thankful to hear from them that the situation has calmed down.  However, a crisis like this causes a lot of uncertainty, since people wonder what might happen next.  Please pray for the political situation in Ecuador and that our brothers and sisters in Christ will make the most of this opportunity to share the hope and security we have in Jesus Christ.

Thankful to God for answering our prayers…

Jeff & Terri

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Christ’s Love Compels Us

Image - Rains Family

Nathanael, Abigail, Terri, Jeff and Kaitlyn Rains

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
(2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

After serving over 13 years as missionaries in Ecuador, God brought us back to the US in August of 2007. We began a wonderful new chapter in our lives in Boone, North Carolina, as Jeff began his job with Samaritan’s Purse. During the past three years, God has blessed us with many friendships and experiences, which have helped us grow in our relationship with Him. Now we are beginning a new chapter in this great adventure of following Jesus.

Image - Ecuador

Just as God led us to Ecuador many years ago, Christ’s love is compelling us to return to minister in a different part of the country. We are excited about the opportunity to serve with SIM in Loja, Ecuador. SIM is an international mission organization with more than 1,600 missionaries serving in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia & South America. You can find out more about SIM by visiting their website: www.sim.org.

Loja is known as the “Forgotten Province” of Ecuador, because less than 1% of the people there know Jesus as their Savior. We plan to work alongside Ecuadorian church leaders in the Loja area, equipping them to more effectively reach out to those who need to experience the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christ’s love compels us, and we look forward to being a part of what He is doing in Loja. In coordination with the Ecuador Field Director and the SIM-USA office, we have set the date of departure for Ecuador as January 25, 2011. By this date, we are trusting God to raise up a team of at least 100 prayer partners, who will commit to pray regularly for us. If you are interested, just click on the  Join Our PRAYER TEAM button over on your right.

Another goal that must be reached before buying our tickets is to raise the following financial support: Monthly $6,400; Moving $18,000; Settling $19,500. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us financially to see lives in the “Forgotten Province” of Loja transformed through a relationship with Jesus Christ? For more information, see “How to Get Involved” on the menu above.  Thank you!

May God bless you richly in your great adventure of following Jesus!

Jeff & Terri

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Your Mental Garden

If your mind were a garden, what would it look like? Would it be peaceful and beautiful..a place of refreshment? …or would it be ill-kept and unorganized..maybe overrun with weeds or dry and barren? In the incredibly fast paced world we live, we
are constantly assaulted from every side and pushed to a frenzied pace that squeezes out the activities which would nourish our hearts and minds. Time alone…time to reflect….time with our children…our spouses. How can our minds and hearts be beautiful gardens if we never have time to tend them? Time to pull out the weeds…time to water and plant.
As a mom I struggle to care for my children. I struggle with finding time to take care of myself or have time with my husband. The demands of house and home, the education of our children, our work and busy schedules, leave me weary and dry. I want to encourage you, reader, to take inventory of your mental garden. Take some time to reflect and maybe pull some weeds. Here are some words that can water your thirsty mind and give life to your tired soul. I hope that these words refresh you as they have refreshed me.

The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? -Psalm 27:1

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. -Psalm 29:11

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. -Rom. 8:6

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. -Isaiah 32:17

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. -Isaiah 26:3

It is my prayer that this blog will be a means to tend my own personal mental garden a bit, and that the things I discover and share would be like water that refreshes.

Terri

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