Our trip to Ecuador was simply amazing. There are many things I could write about, and probably will as I continue to digest everything that went on during the trip.
One thing for sure is God directed our paths. We traveled to Ecuador with some ideas of what we would be doing, but nothing concrete except for the work we would do at the Casa de Fe orphanage. And, if that was all we would do we would be very happy and fulfilled. The people who run Casa de Fe do an incredible job. They are certainly God's hands and feet in Ecuador. Amazing people.
Martha and I had prayed a lot about Ecuador before going , and we decided if God wanted us to make connections for Love In Action to make a long-term impact there then we would leave that totally up to Him. I learned long ago that God doesn't need my help. I will only mess things up.
From the moment we arrived in Shell, Ecuador, God started opening doors.
We connected with a two precious people - Rick and Sharon LeBouef. They have been missionaries in Ecuador for more than 30 years. Rick preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ daily on the streets of Puyo, Ecuador. We had the honor of ministering with Rick and a new missionary named Andy.
Rick just got his plane back up in the air and now flies to the jungle regularly to help the tribes in the Amazon Rain Forest. His son does the flying. The people in the jungle have many needs, and Love In Action will become more involved in helping them and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them.
We met a number of missionaries while in Shell. Our Celebrate Recovery directors Emily and Judy did a wonderful job of introducing CR to them, and they were very receptive.This program can be a great source of encouragement and growth for them.
We also met a great married couple who have started a church in their home in Shell with land to expand. Keith and Loly are precious and they have tremendous hearts for reaching the lost in the Shell-Puyo area. We had a wonderful time of prayer with them.
Also, Andy and Priscilla are two young missionaries with a great vision for reaching the lost and hurting with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Shell-Puyo area and in the jungle.
One thing that really stood out to me was the children. They were everywhere playing and running around with little to no adult supervision. When I mentioned the word "futbol," they got excited and we started kicking the soccer ball around. They enjoyed attention from an adult, even if I couldn't speak their language. Just someone to kick the soccer ball with. Kind of like throwing a baseball or football here in the U.S.
And of course there's Casa de Fe. Those children are some of the most precious children I have ever met, and the staff some of the most focused. So loving and caring. Like all kids, they just want to be loved and have a home of their own. There is a great vision and plan for growing the orphanage, and it will be a blessing and an honor to be involved with them.
My mind is churning and ideas keep popping up. I will continue to commit them to prayer and see how God leads. One thing I do know is God has opened the door for Love In Action in Ecuador, and we will continue to pursue His will.
Love In Action is an international ministry. Obviously our strongest focus is on the Dothan area and that will not diminish. In fact, we have plans for tremendous growth, but when God opens doors we will go through them. Just like that old Gospel song says, "Wherever You lead, I'll go."