“When you enter a town and are welcome, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’.”
As a way to praise the Lord for a successful Luke 10 Exploration Trip to Ecuador, I would like to share with all of you a glance of our many adventurous experiences during our time in the beautiful amazon jungle of Ecuador.
First of all, I would like to express our gratitude to everyone that joined our team by praying and giving. I want you to know that we clearly saw God at work starting by always experiencing his protection over each member of our team. We felt safe all the time and none of us suffered severe sickness (some only had minor stomach issues). It was amazing to see how at only a couple of days before taking off, all the finances needed to cover the trip’s costs were supplied and even above the expected. At every experience we were able to partake in, we knew Jesus was present.
Our first experience emerging and touching the Shuar culture was astounding. This happened at the Shuar community Tuwasip near Palora where we were welcomed by their tribe’s chief and his son. They had a chicken soup dinner prepared for our team and a special place up a hill, for us to sleep, where we could contemplate the beauty of being inside the sonorous and green jungle. After dinner we kept sat down and listen to the chief share talks about their people’s traditions and cosmovision. While we were listening to his stories, something unexpected happened, God surprised us with the visit of the chief’s mother who joined us and sat with us. She started telling us that she was already a Christian and was very happy with our visit! The most impacting moment was when, in her own words, she invited us to come and teach their children and grandchildren about the gospel of Jesus. She even mentioned that there is land available to build a church. Those words from the mother had a great impact on our hearts, we knew that it was God confirming why we were there and showing us, at that moment, that indeed the harvest is plentiful and ready.
It is known that there are still tribes of Shuars interned in the remoteness of the Amazon jungle that know very little about the gospel or even have not heard of Jesus Christ. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to get to know a little more about them by traveling in little canoes up the Amazon River for over two hours arriving at a village where we met a small group of evangelicals Christians. There we learned that for the Shuar it is very significant that visitors accept their drinks and food to be accepted in their village, so we were tested to see if we love the people by how we responded to the food they offered us. We were able to taste from freshly collected, alive worms, fish, rooster soup, snails, and other jungle delicacies. We are greatly thankful that we were blessed by meeting Carlos, a Christian Shuar that was our guide and our way to be able to be accepted and enter the Shuar village.
Among many other experiences, to see clearly how great the need is, God allowed us to learn about the need to work, protect, and defend children. Many of them suffer violence, abuse, and mistreatment. There are some rescue centers run by Christians who are asking people to come and help the children.
We are also grateful to have been able to meet leaders and missionaries who are dedicating their lives to the hard work of evangelizing the Shuar people, as was the case of a Korean family that has been living and working with the Shuar for almost eight years. We could see exhaustion in them, one woman even had the freedom to express, with tears in her eyes, some of their great challenges they are facing as family and the rejection that their nine and ten-year-old boys have suffered from the local kids. Her testimony touched our hearts, and so we were happy to be able to visit them, encourage them, hug them, and pray for them. We also appreciate the contact we had with other leaders and men of peace that God allowed us to encounter so that we could carry out the exploration trip in effective ways.
Please join us in praising the Lord that we were able to have the joy of navigating deeper into the culture of the Shuar people. We have surely grown in love, respect, and compassion for those that have not yet been reached with the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
EFM Missions Mobilizer