One Word - Hope!
"We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God's grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory." Paul
We have just completed a wonderful holy week here in the jungle. We started off the week by graduating 21 new church planters who will be working to start new works in the villages that are waiting to hear about the first coming of Jesus. In total we had over 1400 in attendance from Palm Sunday until Resurrection Sunday who celebrated the glory of Christ with us in the mother church in Sucúa. The girls from the Ecuador Hope House participated with a drama in our packed out Good Friday service, that was probably the largest communion service we have ever held, to date.
But the one thing that stood out to us over this incredible time of celebration was one simple conversation with one of our Sunday school teachers named Sylvia. She had walked down the mountain path from her village, about two hours away, to be with us in Sucúa on Easter Sunday. Her smile was glowing, she had three of her children with her, but then in the corner of her eyes small tears formed showing a heavy weight. Her change presented itself when we asked about her sick husband. He was one of our first bible school students, but a few years ago he was struck by severe diabetes and now he is completely emaciated and bed ridden. If God does not heal him, his time on earth as both a husband and father will not be long. We could see and feel her pain. But just as quickly her "glow" returned. She started to explain how so many in her village could not understand her hope and joy in the middle of this dire situation. She looked at me and with a smile, similar to the one Mary Magdalene would have flashed when she realized Jesus had defeated the tomb on the very first Resurrection Sunday, and boldly confessed that her and her husband are living for an eternal reward. She even vowed to continue to share the Gospel in her village and in surrounding villages, making the promise to not let up even in death.
We can explain the reason for Easter in one word, HOPE. Because of his finished work, we can live with hope, and not because of what we see, but because of what he promised. Your faithful prayers and support allow us to continue to share God's grace with village after village and bring light into darkness and hope into complete hopelessness. We have attached a video recently shot on location in a remote village. With the help of some strong backs, we were able to install a new community well pump, a solar panel for the local church and build a footbridge. We want to thank Full Life A/G of Franklin, TN for allowing us to use the video, and providing the "strong backs", but we also thank you, for continuing to help us take the Easter message to so many neglected areas and not just once a year, but rather year round.
Joil & Leah
Drew, Will, Emelia & Aidan