29 01 2018


 Miraculously I returned to the Mission Field a few weeks ago by leading an amazing group of 18 people from The Lighthouse Church, a team consisting of a variety of individuals of all ages, to Quito Ecuador. To say I was quite anxious about leaving the Country for the first time in over four years is putting it mildly. Let’s just say that all through Christmas, I had one eye on the calendar knowing that the departure date was coming up fast! As many of you know, I have battled through many physical issues since 2006 that have played havoc with my psyche rendering me overly cautious when it comes to wandering any significant distance beyond my own front door. But on January 5th, I went to Philly, got on a plane and before you knew it, I was back in South America. The minute we landed, I knew God had directed my path to this very destination. I was totally sure that He had written my name upon the adventure that I was about to embark upon.

 I had been on a Missions Trip with every one of my kids and this one was to be shared with my youngest son, Joel. We would share a room and much more than that; we would experience the Holy Spirit moving amidst us together. I didn’t want to miss this and I battled through all the excuses to stay home to make this happen. Let’s just say we made some memories that I know will last a lifetime. When we got to the House in Quito there was no available drinking water, but plenty of the icy cold H2O to shower by. That string of cold showers would last the entire week. We would be given 38 seconds of light while in the bathroom. If you weren’t done with your business within this amount of time, you were in the dark. We were served meals with the rule that if you took it, you ate it. We shared the delight of Mora Jelly and Mora Ice Cream and Mora Chewing Gum. We took part in the delicacy of eating “cuy” which is a nice way of saying guinea pig. I had it back in the 90’s and let’s just say I like it no better today than I did then.

 My word for 2018 is “Restore” and almost every day God was confirming that reality to my heart. On Day One in Otavalo, we returned to the very same Church in “Agato” that I had been to with my Nebraska Group back in the 1990’s. The wide array of emotions that I felt can not be properly put in words, only that I could hardly believe I was back at a place with the Quechan People that I truly loved. On Monday, it was the actual anniversary of the martyrdom of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint and the three other Missionaries who gave their life in trying to reach the Waorani Tribe on Palm Beach back in 1956. During the day I worked within the shadow of HCJB Radio which broadcast the Memorial Service for the Missionaries. In the evening, we went to the home of a Missionary Couple whose Grandparents had actually been in Ecuador in 1956 when the whole incident happened. Their Parents had actually known the Elliot and the Saint Families. What a true gift to talk to them and take in their stories on the remembrance of the very day it all happened.

 All during the week I was doing some painting, filling in the stencils of a mural that would decorate the entire wall of the stadium where Ecuador’s fourth best Soccer Team played their home games. It was also a blast from my past when I once spent an entire summer doing the very same thing within the Mountain Lakes, New Jersey School System. I even spent a day doing some major gardening–and I hate gardening! Maybe it is one of the reasons that I don’t have a garden!

 And the God happenings kept on coming as the day before we were to leave, I busted my glasses. I wear bifocals and it has been about five years since my last major eye exam. I was hoping to go before I went to Ecuador, but Christmas came and it never happened. I was sitting on the ground and when I asked John Clemons to help me up, I fell awkwardly back onto a guy named Glenn and in the process had my glasses break. I panicked right away. I can’t see without my glasses and I wondered what I was going to do.

 No sooner had I began to worry, one of the soccer players came right to me and asked me to go with him. He led me to his parent’s Shop about a quarter mile away. His Dad was an Optometrist. His Mom put the glasses together. The funny thing was that as soon as I went into the shop, I proceeded to bump my head pretty good on their low ceiling and blood was streaming down my forehead. While Dad worked on my eyes, Mom was cleaning the wound on my noggin. Not only did I get a full eye exam, I was presented with a brand new pair of bifocals within 24 hours and if I told you what it cost, you would all want to move to Ecuador. Needless to say, even my eyesight was restored on this journey as I came home literally with restored vision. I saw clearer on my way home than I did on my way there. Isn’t it just like Lord to do something unique like that?

 I loved my time in Quito. I savored my experience with my Son. I bonded so well with my Teammates. I reconnected with my Lord in a manner that I had not done so in quite a while. I returned renewed. I cherished the opportunity and took nothing for granted. As a matter of fact, my first week back in the States was so crazy; I was tempted to go back to Quito about every other minute. While I know I belong in Jersey, my adventure to the center of the world surely hit me in the middle of my heart. The Lord showed me that my best days are not behind me. I am still able to follow wherever the Lord leads me. My hope was restored as my horizon was stretched. Who knows where God will take me from here? This much I will say. I am nowhere near retiring. I am just so excited about returning to the lineup. So my prayer is simply this. “Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play, today! Look at me; I can be- faithful and committed in whatever position the Lord decides to put me!” 



One response

29 01 2018

I loved reading this and all that God did in and through you! What a trip down memory lane. I’m so glad you visited the church and people we served. And the guinea pig! 😬 Wonderful memories, wonderful people, wonderful Lord!

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