We made it! We arrived in Ecuador safely late last night. Many thanks to all who were praying over us in our travels for our mission trip. We can never underestimate the reality that God hears, that God is concerned with the little things, and that God delights to answer. And He did answer so we are thankful and give praise to God for a safe and uneventful travel day.
One of the ways in which God answered our prayers was with the weather. I tend to get into Jim Cantore mode anytime I travel. I’m constantly checking the forecast, weather radar, and tracking storm paths. I just really don’t like weather interrupting travel and causing delays. Not that by doing any of that can actually make a difference. But several days before our flight to Quito the forecast looked dismal. Rain and thunderstorms. We began to pray that God would make a way, and provide good flying weather so as not to be delayed. The next day I checked the forecast and it was worse, especially at the exact hour we were supposed to take-off. We continued to pray. But it wasn’t really until we left the church and began to drive to the airport that the forecast began to change. Hallelujah!
After driving to the airport with beautiful blue skies overhead dots of white puffy clouds we, as a team, were thankful. We made it through security and arrived at our gate with an hour to spare. Then, my inner meteorologist took over again and I went back to checking the weather radar because we saw some dark clouds coming toward us. Sure enough – thunderstorms. “Lord, please just let us get on the plane and take off.” We boarded the plane. It began to drizzle. We began to taxi. It began to rain harder. Then we stopped. I thought we had been grounded but the captain came on the intercom and stated there was a back-log of aircraft to take off. I thought for sure we would not make it. But right then, the rain began to lessen, the sun began to shine again and a beautiful double rainbow could be seen out of my little aircraft window.
God is good. He knows what we need before we ask. And he delights to show his power and his glory. God truly cares about the little things in life; right down to pesky thunderstorms that stress his child out. I was reminded in that moment of the story in Matthew 8:27 of perilous weather on a lake and scared disciples. Ultimately, Jesus answers the disciples pleas and intervenes by calming the weather to which they respond:
“What sort of man is this, that even the wind and seas obey him.”
That is our God. And he is that powerful when we live and serve Him in Augusta, Georgia or when we travel and serve him across the globe. We serve a great God.
We got in late Saturday night/early Sunday morning and sleepily crawled into bed. The alarm clock came early but with a little excitement because today is the Lord’s day! And today we have the privilege of gathering with dear brothers and sisters in Christ in Ecuador. This is probably one of my favorite things about being in another country – worshipping and praying with local believers. It is also like a big happy reunion. We get to see old friends and catch up on life. We get to meet new friends. And it is all hinged on the fact that there is unity in the body of Christ.
We enjoyed worshipping outside under a tent with a breathtaking panoramic view of the Andes mountains as a cool breeze blew and clouds crested over the mountain tops. We sang Spanish songs about Jesus changing our hearts and being a refuge for our life to Ecuadorian drum beats as guitars strummed and pan-pipe melodies fill the crisp mountain air. Then we listened to God’s word. God’s word which is true, lasts forever and transcends social and cultural boundaries.
And what did Pastor Christian challenge us to do? To be missionaries. He reminded all of us, Ecuadorian and American alike, that our mandate is to make disciples. He admonished us to remember that we don’t have to cross continents to make disciples but that we start in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our schools and cities. Pastor Christian drew our attention to the fact that Christ is so great and we have the best news for a lost and dying world, that we need to obey him and spread this good news everywhere we go so that more people will believe and be saved.
After some more prayer we fellowshipped together over lunch. Such a sweet and challenging time. The Gospel changes lives and makes us new. The Bible speaks to our hearts and this time reminds us that fulfilling the great commission that God gave us is the only way we will see the sweetness of Revelation when people from every tribe, and every tongue and every nation will praise the Lord.
Thank you again for your prayers and please continue to pray over the week that God’s gospel would not return void. Until next time!