Merry Christmas from the Jungle of Ecuador
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." - John the Apostle
It is Christmas time and it makes us focus on the Nativity of Jesus and all the players surrounding that day. It is one of our favorite things to share the story with our kids. The announcement of the angels to Mary, Joseph and the shepherds that the Eternal One would take on flesh and be born in Bethlehem, He would be called Immanuel, "God with Us". Then the wise men in the East saw an amazing star and came with gifts in hand to celebrate with the Holy family. It is a time of family, food, wrapping paper and yes, crazy parties!
This year has been so full of activity and blessing. We celebrated 10 years since the Ecuador Hope House was born, more than 120 girls have called it home since we opened the doors and right now, we have a packed house with over 40 girls, ages 9-19. We opened two new Bible School extensions, they are now full and we have a waiting list of 40 new students awaiting their turn to prepare for ministry. We have taken the gospel to 6 new communities that had never heard and we saw hundreds of new converts who professed their commitment through baptism in water. Our summertime VBS was a success with well over 2000 kids in attendance.
Just this month our evangelism/church planting team will be entering the newest village Lago Tuntiak to share about Immanuel "God with Us", can you imagine how excited so many will be to hear about God's plan for them and His promise of eternal life? But up until now, like hundreds of other villages, they have not yet heard. Next week we will be cooking lunch for over 200 of our pastors and their families. We are also preparing gifts, over 3000, for kids all over the jungle. We will be sending out bags filled with candy and cookies on the 23rd of December with our pastors to each and every village where we have a church. They will be sharing the story of original "gift bearers", the three wise men and they will be ultimately teaching that God is offering us the greatest of all gifts through Jesus His Son. And the Ecuador Hope House will be hosting its annual Christmas party for all those girls! So here in the jungle we see the family of God growing, there is a whole lot of food to be cooked, the presents must be wrapped and we have our Christmas parties to attend.
In 2017 we have big plans, for the Hope House, for leadership training, for church planting and evangelism, but we know that God is the ultimate planner. Our prayer is that you would seek Him and His plan for this year, trust Him and His timing and He will not fail you. We are so grateful for your partnership, without you the jungle would be a lot darker, because we would not be able to spread the gospel light.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Joil and Leah Marbut
Drew, Will, Emelia and Aidan