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August 15 marked four years in Ecuador. Wow! How can it be four years? We are very thankful for God’s faithfulness on this journey.
As we looked back, another “Wow” moment was, “Look how many changes we’ve had!” Since we first visited in 2012, two-thirds of our missionary team have transferred, resigned, or retired; one hospital has closed and another is being sold; our school for missionary kids in Shell has closed; our radio station is being run by an Ecuadorian foundation; our guesthouse just closed; and part of our Community Development department is moving to another region (check our blog for more on these changes).
Why so many changes?
- The Latin American church is maturing and starting to assume responsibility for local ministry.
- Reach Beyond, like many international mission organizations, is shifting its resources to areas of the world with large unreached people groups and no indigenous churches. Our downsizing here makes possible increased activities in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
- Also, we have a lot of older missionaries here, and many are retiring. Nineteen of our remaining thirty-seven missionaries are approaching, at, or beyond retirement age.
What does this mean for us?
- Change is hard and sometimes messy. We knew before we came that these changes were coming and we agreed with them in theory. But living through huge changes and seeing the impact on missionaries who are now our friends is emotionally and logistically very challenging.
- We see God’s hand in placing us here. Scott’s accounting expertise is especially needed in navigating the financial side of these changes; Jody has a valuable role in Missionary Personnel as an encourager and a helper. For now our place is here.
- As always, following Jesus in times of change and uncertainty refocuses us on basic truths: God is in control, we have no guarantees for the future, and we are God’s servants to do with as He wills. The challenge and promise of Philippians 4:6-7 remains very current:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV).
Family Reunion in Ecuador
How to Pray for Us
- Thank God for four years in Ecuador and for His faithfulness
- Ask for protection and guidance for our family in Oregon