Chigger-bit and Transformed
"Did you ever walk through a village notorious for its drunkenness and profanity? ...Have you ever looked into the houses of the people, and beheld them as dens of iniquity, at which your soul stood aghast? Have you ever seen the poverty and degradation and the misery of the inhabitants and sighed over it? ...But was it ever your privilege to walk through that village again, in the years when the Gospel had been preached there? It has been mine." C.H. Spurgeon
It has been our privilege to see God's process of transformation take place, not once or twice but dozens and dozens of times in villages spread over the Amazon jungle in Ecuador. While I am writing to you this evening, my small backpack of 20lbs. that is loaded with everything I will need for next week, is staring at me from my kitchen table, because in the morning I have the honor of being able to see this process start again.
Our evangelistic team of four (our newest missionary Seth McDonald, two Shuar pastors and myself) will drive 3 hours early tomorrow morning to where the road ends, there we will pick up a small trail that will serve as our path for the next 6-8 hours. During this hike, we can be guaranteed of a few things, hot and humid weather, deep mud and chiggers (some of our non-Southern friends my need to Google that). Although the path will lead us straight through the heart of the dense jungle, we will not be seeking exotic animals or unknown plants, but rather souls. You see the purpose of our trip is to make our first evangelistic contact with the village of Namaka. This village has no church and realistically no hope eternally. But by the grace of God and with your help that will soon change!
By faith, we have targeted six "new" villages, which have yet to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, where we will be endeavoring to plant churches over the next year. Some are closer than others, our trip in November will be a 4-hour drive followed by a two-day walk into the village, another will be a 3-hour drive and 8 hour canoe trip. The reason for this letter is two fold. First we want to invite you to pray for a harvest of souls and for our team's protection (my boys asked me tonight as I tucked them in with prayer if it was safe, my response "I don't know, but we know God is with us"). Second, would you consider making a commitment to help cover the cost of planting these "new" works? Realistically, we are willing to go as far and as deep into the jungle as we need to go, but we can only go as far as you are willing to send us. We are projecting the cost to be $3500 to plant each church. That amount covers the first year of evangelism and discipleship materials, as well as eventually training a leader/pastor from the community in our Bible school in Sucúa. So many of you do so much already, but would you just pray and if God leads you, then partner with us to help start this process of transformation?
Thank you for helping to change eternity,
Joil and Leah Marbut