Ferry's In The Jungle

Ferry's In The Jungle
1 Peter 1:22b "Love one another deeply, from the heart."

Monday, October 17, 2016

Oh Happy Day!

Sunday Fun-day is the understatement of the year. Yesterday we were filled with great joy and honored to live and serve in Ecuador. Ministry and discipleship is a long road of two steps forward and one step backwards. But yesterday we were able to see the fruit of life lived together at the feet of the cross; desperate need for His power, grace and the hope we have in Him. Redemption.

Early Sunday morning we sat in a large cement meeting area covered by a metal roof. The plastic chairs were circled up so each individual attendee was a part of a whole. As normal here, we waited each in our own chair until it appeared the majority had arrived. The start time was 9 but the event really started around 10. This down-time is used for planning, chatting and just settling in for all the day has to offer.

A couple of songs were played on a guitar as the many different tribal groups sang in their 2nd  language - Spanish. Sun stained hands clapped with joy and the harmony of praise echoed off the cement and metal. Then, 3 men and 2 women proceeded to share their stories. Stories of redemption and rescue. Stories of lives lived for the world, for selfish ambition, for survival. Some of the stories were of a zig-zag Christian walk, others of a life of separation from God only to be connected recently.

The theme in all the stories was the same
- we are weak and He is strong
- we serve a God that lifts us out of the muck and mire
- we must walk together
- we need each other to help us walk well with God

All these stories were translated from Spanish to tribal tongue to ensure the deepest understanding of what was occurring. One man, whom we have had the honor to encourage and disciple, asked forgiveness of the group for his poor testimony and then asked the group for support to walk well. Wives modeled forgiveness of husbands and husbands sacrificial love for their wives. Powerful!!

Much to our joy the very intense and significant morning was followed with great fun! 10 chickens were cut into pieces for the fire. An offering was taken for the purchase of plantains and green bananas. The food was cooked by the older women while football teams were formed for a little friendly competition. The women battled it out and this gringa held her own amongst the formidable skill of the small indigenous women. Those little feet move quickly!! Chris played with the men in the scorching Amazon sun. Laughter and sweat broke whatever tension and pain remained from the morning.

Cups were filled with watered down Tang and plates with huge portions of plantains and bananas. Then, each plate topped with a piece of fire-cooked chicken. Some got the neck, the feet, the spine. Sitting again in the plastic chair circle each bone was sucked dry and each belly full. We wrapped up the time with a prayer and distribution of the prize for the winning teams - a whole raw chicken. A machete was used to divide up the chickens amongst the teams. Smiles on each face.

So we march forward together. Expectant that God will continue to raise up and refine the indigenous church.

We stand in hope that our brothers and sisters in Christ will learn to share their brokenness and, in turn, shine a bright light on the wholeness of Christ. May others see the supernatural exchange of His strength being made perfect in our weakness.

A competitive game of futbol
Resting in the shade before returning to battle

The prize - A whole raw chicken!
Meal prep for about 60 people

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A little jungle time...

Chris flexing some muscle while helping
clear a fallen tree in a jungle community
Chris' jungle home - up and away from the
elements (i.e. snakes, bugs, floods!)

Chris was honored to be invited on a trip that took him deep into the jungle here in Ecuador. He was able to spend time in the village of one of our dear friends and serve alongside others - both tribal and foreign - to care for one of the elderly Waorani couples in this area.
Here you see how a little jungle rain can take
over quickly. 
The group traveled almost 20 hours by canoe.
The trip included navigating log jams and fish jumping out of the
river and INTO the boat! 
Chris ate every well on his trip into Waorani territory.
Fish, plantains, manioc, noodles, tuna, banana drink and more!
He also hunted to stock up food supplies for a local family and
was granted the honor of carrying a monkey back from
the hunt before it was tossed onto the flames of the fire
for fur removal!

He returned home with a nice sun burn but a full heart after having enjoyed serving others and learning more about the tribal context and realities. Experiences like these allow us to put together the puzzle pieces of stories we have heard from our tribal brothers and sisters and begin to grasp their reality. Understanding this reality will aid in our ability to love them well through discipleship and support services.

Ants in your...mouth?!

The ants go marching one by one into our mouths here in Ecuador. It's a tribal custom to catch large leaf cutter ants when future queens and their crew leave their nests to make a new home. Somehow the indigenous know when they will fly and wake up around 4am in the morning and head out with buckets to catch them when they fly! 

Chris caught his share and brought these large ants home! We were shown how to cook them up in a frying pan and salt them with a salt water solution until golden, crispy and ready to eat!
They actually aren't bad! After you pop of the head and the wings the hind quarters is eaten whole. The flavor is like a roasted peanut with a white puree center. Yum!!  

Funny story? We have indigenous friends in our home all the time. They've eaten chili, chicken and dumplings, and pancakes. But when Tina's friend Silvia was visiting and we gave her a handful of our recently caught ants her face lit up and she chewed with delight! It was very clear that this small handful of ants what the best thing she'd ever eaten in our home! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Crocodile Surprise!

 We are often asked what a typical day looks like for us here in Shell, Ecuador. The answer, just like our days, is never the same. Plans in Latin America tend to zig and zag based on weather, bus schedules and more. 

We could write story after story to describe this reality but we will just share our most recent adventure of everyday life in Ecuador.

Chris was called by a friend and asked to drive to "pick up lunch". Naturally, Chris assumed that lunch consisted of large bags of rice that would be difficult to schlep on the local bus and thus, he was asked to help. This was not the case.

Chris was the transport for a crocodile lunch -- lagarto as they call in here. Our friends led him to a crocodile farm and picked up a crocodile! The bagged crocodile was thrown into the back of our car. Upon arrival to our friend's house the croc was thumped against a cement wall and processed to cook over the fire. 

The intestines and other organs were cleaned and wrapped in banana leaves to make maito -- a local favorite. 

After much laughter and excitement discussing the catch of the day we enjoyed a meal together. Our friends proudly shared with us the tail of the crocodile and we must say it's something we will eat gladly in the years to come. 

It's often we lay in bed at the end of our day shake our heads and laugh saying, "Yep, that just happened!"