Brett, our Lead Pastor for New Life, offering a word of encouragement to our brother and sisters of Nueva Vida (New Life), before we share in communion together.

Brett, our Lead Pastor for New Life, offering a word of encouragement to our brother and sisters of Nueva Vida (New Life), before we share in communion together.

Over then next few weeks, we will feature one of Amanda Pennel’s posts that she sent to supporters while she was on our 2015 mission trip to Ecuador. This is the second installment in this series. To read the first entry, click here.

if you want more information about our November 4 – 11, 2016 or July 28 – August 4, 2017 trip.


Saturday: Day 2 in Ecuador

Strong.  Yesterday seven of the staff members from the project came to meet us at the hotel for a time of prayer and encouragement.  This included the pastor and her husband, some of the tutors, the secretary, and the project director.  They shared with us their successes and their challenges.  They also each shared their testimony with us.

I thought about how I would feel to sit in a room of strangers and be open to sharing such a personal piece of my heart.  Strong is not how I would feel; but, this brother and these sisters in Christ are the epitome of the word. There were many tears as some of the scars of pain and brokenness were shared.  Tears not so much from remembering the pain, but tears resulting from the overwhelming feeling of redemption.  Tears of amazing grace received and lived.  And God reminded me that though we may seem different, we are very much the same.  We were all once broken.  Some of us shattered to pieces. But what binds us together is the One who takes every broken piece, mends them together to be made into something completely new.  We’ve all shed off our old selves and have been made new in Christ.  We are all the same – you, me, them – on mission together.  We are on mission to share this message of grace to everyone.  Our calling is greater than our capability.  But God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine.  We must be strong.  It’s not about what we can do but what God can do through us.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”  (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

It takes strength to be immovable, to stand firm in truth.  It’s easy to be like one who is tossed about, aka flaky.  The Message version says to throw yourself fully into the work of the Lord knowing that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.  Isn’t that awesome to know that God uses it all, that he wastes nothing?

These brothers and sisters in Christ have lenses focused on eternity.  They are strong and immovable.  I see them throwing themselves into the work of the Lord.

It’s time to ask myself this:

Am I standing firm or am I constantly shifting?

Am I throwing myself fully into the work of the Lord?  Where am I drawing strength to do so?

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