2 Timothy 1:7-12
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
Your probably thinking right now, really, did he just write all of those verses to start out this blog post (If not, kudos to you, your awesome)? I know, I know, I usually only post one verse or maybe two at the most but this stuff is just too good to skip past. These are the verses that Zeke did for his devotional this morning, and I can’t begin to tell you how encouraging it was.
That said, before I continue on in explaining I have to apologize for not writing yesterday, I didn’t have the password to the WiFi yet and not to mention we were extremely jet lagged. We began our journey by arriving at the church at around 7:30 (well some of us did, not mentioning any names but the Camphuis family was the first ones to show up besides Lindsay Spampinato who might as well be blood family, and not only that we were early!!! Yes you heard that right, the same family who comes after the first song was early!!! Woot) then driving down to LAX. Before getting all the way though we had to get our last supper, AKA In-N-Out (3 by 3 baby, with animal style fries). We said our goodbyes then headed off, with our flight leaving around 1:45 in the AM. I will miss my family, but my brother (Ill say in-law for the sake of clear communication, but he is a full fledged brother in my eyes) said only two words which upon reflection mean the world to me. “Strength and honor.” That was his goodbye, and it couldn’t have been better.
The plane rides were long, but fruitful. Sitting on the plane I saw a blond girl coming towards me then sitting down, being the friendly guy that I am I asked for her name, to which she responded Heather. Coincidently enough Heather was headed for a mission trip to Costa Rica. She asked what I was doing and told her I was going on a mission trip to Ecuador with Calvary Chapel as I noticed her eyebrow raise in an amazement that also communicated that look you get when you see that God is doing something, and it half frightens you. Interestingly enough, she was also from Calvary Chapel. Instantly we were able to have fellowship with each other. I told her my life story, and she told me hers, and we were able to understand and relate to each other more then I am able to relate to some of my own extended family, who do not know the Lord. How amazing is that? We have brothers and sisters all over the world, committed to following Christ. If you think of it please pray for Heather and her team in Costa Rica. When she got off the plane in Costa Rica we changed planes headed and for Ecuador. There was more to be said about the flight, but it would make this post even more long then it already is, so ill leave the rest to your imagination.
Waving goodbye inside the terminal at LAX.
We had a brief lay over in El Salvador, I was pleasantly surprised to discover this coffee shop in the airport, the baristas were very skilled and they even had a Nuevo Simonelli (the four group head version) Espresso Machine. For Zeke’s drink they made a Rosetta, for mine they made this teddy bear. This pic is for you Alex Spampinato.
Now that your about caught up, let me tell you about today. I woke up to the loudest alarm clock I have ever had, who knew that a house alarm going off would work so well? Apparently there is now an alarm system in Freddy’s house, which Zeke accidently set off at about 7 AM. It was actually a good thing though because I had set my phone alarm for 7 but forgot to change the time zone.
As I had said before, the devotional that Zeke gave was very encouraging and it was exactly what I needed to hear, and I am sure the others will agree with me. Zeke tends to share this verse almost every time, and every time it becomes more and more valuable and meaningful to him. When I asked him what he wanted to say for todays blog he told me, in typical Zekisms form, “God wants me to not be a little girl and have no fear.” Fitting words, as this is something he has told me and all the other leaders in Phelan many, many times. It is nice to know he lives by what he preaches.
I personally was challenge by three things during the devo, one have no fear. This is what God has been telling me all along, since I first began to follow Him. But it hasn’t changed, I still need to have no fear. If I have fear, then it isn’t from the Lord, since God does not give us a spirit of fear. Two, do not be ashamed of the gospel. We need to hear this about everyday. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have shared the gospel, you need to be constantly encouraged to not be ashamed of it (how terrible sinners we are, that we can be ashamed of the very thing that saved us). I must not, and I will not be ashamed of that which I know has saved me, even if I can’t always fully explain it without feeling slightly foolish. I am praying for boldness in this, so feel free to join me in it. Thirdly, hold fast. Hold fast. God has taught me so much good doctrine, and is always teaching me things. I do not want to forget the things the Lord has taught me, I want to live them out. I was comforted by knowing the Lord can keep the things that we commit to Him.
The rest of the day was filled with gathering supplies, shopping around el mercado (market for you gringos) for food and VBS supplies and practicing for the VBS (much needed since we all feel very unprepared). Thankfully we don’t have to do it alone. There is a missionary here from Colombia named Lorena, who is well seasoned in the work of the Lord and is a great blessing to us. There are also a lot of other Ecuadorian people, mostly youth, helping out. My biggest fear is that I have to memorize a few rap lines in Spanish for a solo, (it is part of the worship song for the kids). Wow, never thought I would be saying that one.
Posing in front of El Mercado. Left to right, Kristina, myself, Zeke and Erika.
Some random street in Cuenca. Amanda took the picture so don’t ask me where it is.
Eduardo leaning casually against the wall in front of the mission house, Zeke and Oscar chatting.
Awwww, Amanda and Blancita.
After that we went out for dinner, where some of us had comida tradicional Ecuatoriano, and others just had Burger King. To my dismay the local coffee shop is under renovations, thankfully the Lord knew my plight in advanced since my former bosses (Mike and Darlene) will be sending me an espresso machine that the Garcias donated, along with a free bag of espresso and a grinder that he bought me (yeah, I had the worlds most amazing boss). Following our dinner, we went for a walk through the mall to the Hipermercado (Supermarket, basically a Target except they also sell motorcycles, and don’t think the idea to buy one didn’t cross my mind) in order to buy a coffee maker. Is it just me or do I talk about coffee a lot? Anyways… it was a great day of rest and preparation.
Right now as I speak, Zeke, Freddy and the elders are having a meeting. It started out with a man named… well I don’t remember his named but hey I am still learning Spanish so give me a break… a man who was a pastor and was interested in turning his church into a Calvary Chapel. I was part of that meeting but once he left I decided to write this blog post for you guys, they are still talking and I can tell you they really really need your prayers. In short, without giving much details and only for the sake of your prayers, there was something of a church crisis, where some people left. They all need your prayers, and I need your prayers since I have a feeling my responsibilities have increased a lot more then what I thought they would be when the Lord first told me to go months ago. The way everything worked out though I see the hand of the Lord in it. I was called before this issue came to the surface, I was invited by the Pastor to come, not knowing how much things would change in coming months. And here I am. I could complain to the Lord and say, who am I? And at times for brief moments I have, until I was reminded of God’s grace and power. I know the Lord has called me, and I will not be afraid.
Zeke, Freddy and the elders finishing up some prayer time after the meeting.
Pray for us my friends, pray for Pastor Freddy (the Pastor here) pray for the team, pray for the people of Ecuador and the two upcoming VBS, and please pray for the church. Pray for unity, love humility, strength, encouraging, and all that the Lord’s will would be done.
Hasta manana amigos!