“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11
Good evening and hello again from Ecuador. Wow. What a flurry of activity we have had in the past few days. So let me back up catch you up. After getting some good rest Sunday we woke up early on Monday morning to load our supplies and set out for our first clinic location – a small rural mountain community called Pilgaran. Everything was going smoothly. Our trucks showed up, Pastor Christian and Eva showed up but on important particular piece of the puzzle did not show up to the hotel. And that was the team van which was going to take most of us to the clinic site. Many failed attempts to contact the drive left us with little confidence that he was going to be transporting. So for the next several minutes we discussed options of how to take the team up to the clinic site. Time quickly passed by, but eventually we were able to contact a distant relative of one of our host church members who had a 15 passenger van. So we were able to have transportation but it set us back about an hour as we waited to find the van and driver and the time for him to come pick us up.
But he did arrive and he arrived in a quaint little yellow school bus. So we all pile into the this little yellow bus and begin our trek to the mountains. School buses take children to learn about all kinds of different things – math, science, language. So I thought that this was an appropriate vehicle that God provided because in it contained many health care professionals who love God and desire to make his name known by teaching others about the love of Jesus. I should also add that our first clinic was actually held in an old school! So up the mountain comes a team of health care folks and several local church members in a school bus to teach and share the love of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God, and the salvation of God in a school. God certainly has a sense of humor.
After getting set up the clinic began and we had an incredible first day. It was awesome to see a team of Americans working side by side with different languages to advance the kingdom of God. The clinic ran smoothly and people were so appreciative of the effort and love that was on display. We were able to see 157 patients on Monday and provide physical healing, but more importantly is that 157 people specifically heard the Gospel. And what is even more incredible is that God was pleased to answer all of our prayers by drawing 31 people to himself through the message of good news of Christ in God’s word. Yes, 31 people received salvation and surrendered their life to Christ. Bibles were distributed to these folks and it was so encouraging to see local church members already discipling these folks with Bibles open. God’s word says that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few and today we saw that on full display. There is a great harvest but more workers are needed for even a greater harvest. It is a powerful reminder to be obedient unto God and work for his kingdom!
If Monday was all about a fruitful harvest Tuesday was more about sowing seed. Our ministry cornerstone verse for Global Medical Outreach is 2 Corinthians 9:6 which says that whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly but whoever sows generously will reap generously. Truly, that was more of the vibe of Tuesday. We had another early get up to go to our second clinic location which was a small community called Alogincho. This time, however, our trusty yellow Gospel bus arrived on time and with the supplies packed in the trucks we headed out to the location. It has not rained very much over the past few weeks here in Ecuador which is nice but because many of the roads to Alogincho are dirt. So we didn’t have mud, but it was extremely dusty. Like, really dusty. We were cruising through these winding mountain roads and dust was getting everywhere! It was in our hair, on our skin, covering our phones and many of use began to use our coats as a make shift breathing mask but to no real avail because even those were dusty. We had a little more appreciation for the example of Jesus washing off dusty feet. And while we were getting dusty in our van, the team members in our other van called and told us the their van broke down. This was not good news. But then several minutes later they called us and stated they were on their way to meet us but they would be a little late. Turns out, that the group in that van began to pray and the van re-started and was able to make the rest of the trip. Finally we all arrived safely, set up clinic and began on time despite a few set backs. God loves to answer prayers and demonstrate his power and love.
The early part of Tuesday was slow. Both in volume of patients and in Gospel interest. We also had some folks just walk out of Pastor Christians Gospel message. So it was discouraging at first and dry, but after a great team effort of taking care of a patient with a sever diabetic foot ulcer, the mood and attitudes began to change. The local neighbors seemed to be less skeptical and more open. People began to listen to the Gospel with interest and more people came to the clinic. By the time the day was done we saw 100 patients. And while, the fruitful harvest was not there, I believe many seeds of the Gospel were sown that day and later there will be a bountiful harvest.
As the verse states at the top of this blog; God’s word does not return void. It either yields fruit or plants seeds. And these first two days demonstrated both. It was a good start to our week.