Martha, Karen and I have hit the streets twice this week with Rick and Andy, two missionaries living in Shell. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings we went to a nearby city called Puyo, which is a good deal larger than Shell. The first night we ministered around a small park, and the second night around a large shopping market, kind of like a mall.
Rick has lived here around 35 years, so he is very fluent in Spanish. Andy has been here a little more than a year. Rick starts out singing praise songs in Spanish, then Andy preaches a short message and Rick translates it into Spanish. Martha, Karen and I walked around the area handing out Christian tracts.
The three of us do not speak much Spanish, though Karen is getting better at it. However, God still used us to be effective, despite the langauge barrier.
Many of the people would stop and read the tracts, which amazed us. In the U.S., usually only the homeless will do that. A smile translates into any langauge, too. It was cool seeing people who looked down as we walked up to them change facial expressions as we smiled, said "Buenas Tardes" or "Hola" and handed them a tract. Most of them smiled back and said, "Gracious."
The first night, a man walked up to Martha and starting speaking. We couldn't understand him, so he tried harder to explain himself. He kept looking and pointing to the gray streak in her hair. Then he showed us a photo on his cell phone of his daughter. We were able to understand that she died and is in Heaven and that Martha reminded him of his daughter. For about 15 minutes he kept looking at her in amazement and talking about his daughter. You never know what will give someone hope.
Thursday night, Karen was talking with a vendor and figured out he had some kind of infirmity, and he allowed us to pray with him.
In Shell and Puyo, there are a lot of children running around the streets and riding bikes. They all wanted tracts and many read them. I had fun with the kids and played soccer with some of them, which was cool. That was one of the things I wanted to do while here. I grew up playing soccer, or futbol, and even played a year in college. Knowing it is their national sport, I was hoping to play some while here. Plus, these children crave attention from adults, so that made it even more fun.
I have seen God move through us over the years even with langauge barriers. It all comes down to faith and obedience. God will honor that every time.
Please keep the Ecuadorian people in your prayers.