Friday, October 8, 2010

Being stretched right out of our comfort zones

On Thursday, we went to Fundacion Campamento Cristiano Esperanza, a school in the city that provides education to low income families and children with  special needs.  The education is not free, but the tuition is based on the parents' income.  The average monthly income here is $450.00.

Each one of us was assigned to a classroom to help in or a cleaning duty.  I was put in the kindergarten class to help out and was blessed to have a German intern with me to translate.  His name was Marion, and he spoke 4 languages (German, English, French & Spanish.)  He was 19 years old and living in Quito for a year because Germany requires every person to go into the military or do humanitarian work for a year after high school. He plans to attend medical school for the next 11 years to become an oncologist.

Marion was called to help the director with something.  When he came back, he said, "I just had an interesting conversation with two of your Americans in yellow shirts (Paul and Sean.)"  I saw the salvation bracelet in his hand.  At that moment, the teacher asked me to take a student to the el bano.  When I returned, I brought up the conversation again. 

Marion told me that Paul and Sean talked to him about salvation.  He said he is an atheist - which according to him means he just doesn't know if God exists.  His father is a strong Catholic and does "all of the stuff," but he is not a happy man.  He said he has read the Bible, the Koran, and lots of other books on religion.  The Old Testament is quite violent and he can't believe a loving God would allow those things to happen.  He also has a very difficult time believing people who are born into a non-Christian country will be punished for not having salvation.

I asked Marion several questions and shared the truth of God's Word with him.  He explained he believes in tolerance and everyone having their own truth as long as they do not hurt others.  Unfortunately, there was no changing his mind.  When I asked him what will happen to him when he dies, he answered - "I'll just have to wait and see."  My heart breaks for him.  Please pray for him.  He is very intelligent and that is what satan is using to blind him from the love and truth of Jesus Christ.

The kids in kindergarten were great and really cute.  In this school, children with special needs are in regular classrooms with the others unless their needs are too severe.  In that case, the school has special classes and programs designed to meet their needs and help them learn.  We stayed there all morning until lunch time.  It was such a good ministering opportunity.
Cindy in her fashionable kitchen duty attire.

 She is so CUTE!

The kids are surrounding Marion - please pray for his salvation.

We returned to "Casablanca" - our house - and for the first time all week had about 2 1/2 hours to eat lunch and relax.  A group of us walked to the bakery (up a steep, air gasping hill in the high altitude) and bought bread for 15 cents each.  YUM! 

Then, we went to Camp Hope which is a residental home for people with special needs.  We had our Bible story and crafts ready for them.  However, when we got there, we were told we would be giving them baths or washing carpet.  We were a little shocked.  Not our will, but God's will be done rang in my head.  Initially, I volunteered to clean carpet.  But, when the caretaker called for 9 women to help with the baths, Stephanie started to go then she said "Nancy, you need to go.  Go ahead.  You need to go."  I knew she was right because I already felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to go, but I was a bit out of my comfort zone.  Had it not been for Stephanie, I would have disobeyed God and cleaned carpets.

What a privilege it was to give baths to these folks who were totally dependent on us!  They were so trusting and grateful.  I was in a group with Nicole, Jeannine, Mendy, and Cindy.  We each assumed a specific role. For example, Cindy took hair duty.  Before their baths, all of their rubber bands and hair ties had to be removed and then put back in once they were finished.  I tried to help Cindy once, but to no avail!  She took out 10 tiny rubber bands while I was still working on my first one!!!  Fixing hair is obviously not my strong suit so I went back to helping them get dressed!  After baths came dinner, and we helped with that too. 

These folks were such a (stretching) blessing to me.  I wish I had pictures to show you their beautiful faces, but we were not allowed to take any pictures inside.  God has special plans for these precious people, and I am very thankful that I was a part of His plans on this night. 

For dinner, we had a special treat.  We were taken to Crepes and Waffles.  It was Paul's (one of our team members from Columbia sc) last night with us.  He had to return home one day early for his 50th birthday.  So, we celebrated with him a day early.  We miss you Paul!  Happy Birthday!

Loving HIM with all my heart,

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