Ferry's In The Jungle

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

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Death brings new life (Part 1)

It's not uncommon for friends to show up at our gate with a weight on their shoulders or a need on their mind. We do all we can to stop the flurry of life and sit, listen and pray together. Sometimes these visits change the course of our week and we often continue to engage for months to come. This is the case in the story we will tell you today.

One of our friends came by with tear-filled eyes and told us the story of their dying family member. This young man was in his early twenties and the doctors didn't believe he'd survive the week. Confusion marked the story because the doctor had explained the condition of this young man's health and his prognosis but the family, being tribal, did not understand the medical terms and explanation. Spanish is their second language and the environment of the hospital very different from their jungle home. 

Our team of believers huddled up for a plan of attack. A nurse friend accompanied Chris and our friends to the hospital in hopes of hearing from the doctor again and translating the information to decrease anxiety and plan for next steps. Our home filled with kids as their parents passed hard hour after hard hour, hard day after hard day in the hospital. Our couches were converted into beds. Tons of rice was made to fill the non-veggie loving bellies of these precious and confused kids. Our car was full to the brim of family members shuttling to and from the hospital. Our kitchen was busy cooking meals for tired moms coming home only to meet a hungry family. We are honored to serve and support in these ways.

The days to come were more and more sad. The family, desperate for a solution, discussed visiting the witchdoctor for healing. Believing friends prayed for spiritual breakthrough and protection. Our joy was complete as on his deathbed the young father accepted Christ and returned home from the hospital with peace in his heart. He died hours later with his young wife and two daughters by his side. 

At his funeral the gospel was shared. We called Ecuadorian friends who were equipped to share the gospel and asked them to sit with family members. The face of this evangelistic wave wasn't ours; it was the face of our Ecuadorian partners. We were along the side, cheering, praying and facilitating. 

We continue in this roll as the reality of this tragedy unfolds. 

Death brings new life (Part 2)

After the funeral our first concern was supporting and caring for our friends as they dealt with this loss. Times of grief and confusion can make a person very vulnerable and the temptation of past sins and destructive coping mechanisms crouch at the door. We've seen God work mightily in our tribal friends lives and were on our knees begging God for protection and strength during this time. He heard our cry.

In the coming days we heard stories of the brokenness of the family, the regret and the desire to live differently. The parents of this young man shared that at one point they knew the Truth but stopped walking with God when their kids were young. The young man died of complications related to AIDS. He'd lived with this disease, hidden and full of shame for years. The family clearly saw the sad reality of "the wages of sin is death" and grieved that they didn't raise him in Truth. This young man's death served as a wakeup call for the family. 

Our close friends expressed their desire to begin meeting with their family members and neighbors to talk about the things of God, to sing together and provide a healthy community alternative to heavy drinking and more. We were overjoyed to hear this vision and now are supporting them to fulfill this desire. It has been our prayer to see this community have a positive Christian influence and this beauty was being brought out of the ashes of death. AND, the driving force and leadership is tribal! 
Entrance into community

After learning that the young man died of a preventable disease, conversations began to circulate amongst missionaries and Ecuadorian believers about health education and the risks associated with the lack of education. This young man may have lived if shame and fear hadn't driven his choices. Additionally, his death left behind a very young mom and two young daughters. These three are at risk - desperation and fear can make way for the unthinkable. But this story of preventable death and the vulnerability of young women is common in our community. Shame, fear and cultural/language disconnection open the floodgates of risk. 

Again, our friends expressed a desire to meet this need. Yay! So, here we go again. Serving in our role. Mobilize, plan, and facilitate. It seems at this point that the effort will be a partnership between the tribal, national and foreign churches/organizations. But, the door is open and the need is great. In the coming months we will walk this path with our tribal friends. Along the way we will encourage, listen, counsel, and pray. We trust our God who brings beauty from ashes. 

Please Pray For:
- Wisdom and protection for Mateo and Emma as they lead this new venture
- Safety and provision for the young mom and her daughters
- Spiritual breakthrough and lasting impact in this community
- Unity, cooperation and wisdom amongst believers as we support and serve