“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life?
For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
~ James 4:14-15 ~
During the past month, many of our plans either changed or were canceled. Each Monday, as we would talk about the week, our conversations began to change from “we are going to do this” to “we might do this,” and eventually to, “We’ll see what happens this week.” God reminded us that our mentality should always be “If God wills.” It is so easy to make plans and think that they will be concrete, but the wise believer entrusts his plans to God, knowing that God is free to redirect as He wills. We never truly know what tomorrow will bring; our days and hours are not our own, and God used this month to reinforce that truth.
Where we've been
We had a strong start to the beginning of the month. Praise God, we had a baptismal service on the first Sunday in June. A total of six people were baptized! We are so thankful for these believers and their obedience to the Lord. Another exciting thing that took place is that we started holding our Wednesday evening meetings in person. We’ve been able to rotate gatherings in the homes of different believers in the church. The number of people attending has been encouraging. We had a meeting with our landlady’s mother and another Jehovah’s Witness. It was interesting to sit down with them and try to discuss our beliefs. Unfortunately, these ladies had little interest in what we had to say. Jeff has continued with the different studies that he has during the week. He is currently developing new material for his Thursday night study. In between caring for the boys and keeping the home, Lisa has been working on her study for a ladies’ meeting on July 9th. Please pray for clarity in thought and speech as she shares God’s Word this weekend.
What we've been up to
The second half of June is when God chose to change everything. June 12th marked the beginning of a national strike. The indigenous people rose up and presented 10 demands to the government - including lowering fuel prices, better health care, better education, etc. Eventually, they tried to have the president removed from office. They closed roads all over the country, in addition to holding many protests, many of which turned violent. Ecuador is a small country the size of Colorado, so this type of tension and upheaval impacts everything. Road closures affected deliveries of food, gasoline, and propane gas (used for cooking, hot water, etc). Meat and dairy products are very difficult to find, and many cities had no gasoline or propane gas.
Thank you to those who followed this situation on our social media platforms. We appreciate your prayers so much. On Friday, July 1, the government and the indigenous leader finally came to an agreement. After 18 days, the strike officially ended; this was one of the longest strikes in the history of Ecuador, and the longest that Jeff has ever seen. We are thankful for God’s care for us. As a result of the strikes, many of the believers were unable to work. The roads were cleared as soon as the strike ended, but we are still waiting for gasoline, propane, and food to be replenished in our city.
While most of our regular ministries were either paused or held virtually, the extra time was helpful for Jeff to prepare material for the Thursday Bible study, in addition to studying for sermons, other Bible studies, and the Bible Institute. Kevin and Trina were unable to go to the States as planned, but the Lord allowed them to go the day after the strike ended.
Thank you so much for holding our ropes, especially during the national strike.
In His service and yours,
Jeff, Lisa, Simon, & Titus
The Double Scoop:
Simon didn’t fully understand the strike, but he often talked about the “angry men who need Jesus.” We are thankful for his tender heart, but we are also praying that He will realize that He needs Jesus just as much as the angry men. Titus continues to grow and develop. We are thankful for a content baby who enjoys entertaining us with his giggles and smiles. He likes to blow lots of bubbles, so we often refer to him as “Mr. Bubbles,” or in Spanish, “Señor Burbujas.”
Praise and Prayer:
Praise: Lessons God uses for our growth
Praise: Baptism on June 5th
Praise: End to the 18-day strike
Pray: Lisa leading the ladies’ study on 7/9
Pray: Jeff as he studies this month