That's Why We Go! (Psalm 8)
Our oldest son Drew is now 9 years old. Just two weeks back he was able to accompany me (Joil) on a hike into a distant jungle village, the trip included a bonus two-night stay. He was helping me with a team of MAPS volunteers from Southeastern University. In addition to our backpacks full of all the basic necessities, we had to haul in a roof for a health clinic, nails, lice shampoo and medicines for about 150 people and materials for three days of VBS. During the hike Drew and I were talking about music, school, basketball, etc..., I was trying to keep his mind off of the "pain" of the trail. After more than a solid hour of hiking, I decided to make sure that he fully grasped the difficulty of the situation we were about to be in, I asked him "Can you imagine having to walk down this muddy, horrible path to go to school? Or just to get an aspirin for a headache or a fever? Or living in a village that has only had the gospel for about 5 years and thus has no children's church or Sunday school for kids your age?" I expected a "Wow" or "Oh my", but my son did not even slow down his hiking pace or even change his matter of fact tone, when he answered "Papa, that's why we go!"
As soon as we returned I was notified that a dear sister, Margerita, was in serious condition after an extended bout with cancer. I meet her a few months back, due to her family's invitation to come and visit her on her sickbed. I remember so clearly walking into the small wooden floor hut, where she was laid. The small space smelled strongly, as a result of no indoor plumbing, no basic ventilation and no electricity, it was a mix of all the wrong smells one could imagine. She had been bed ridden for 5 years, slowing withering away because of her sickness. She appeared to be at least 50 lbs. underweight, her cheeks and eyes sunk deep into her head. After some light conversation, I purposefully turned our focus towards eternity and the Good News. Within just a few minutes as she was weeping tears of joy, tears of true repentance after hearing the Gospel for the first time in her 44 years of life. I was able to visit her a few more times, before I received the visit advising of her feeble condition. At the hospital I was greeted by the family, who immediately informed me that she had lost all ability to communicate and was not responding to anyone, I confirmed all this with her attending doctor. But I wanted to pray with her one last time, so when I entered in to see her she was wearing an oxygen mask, with her eyes closed. I leaned in tight to whisper a prayer into her ear and quote her the 23 Psalm, but when I was finished something amazing happened, she moved around, opened her eyes and yanked off her breathing mask, all because she had to tell me one last thing. She said in her native language, "Pastor, I am not afraid". She closed her eyes and died within the hour, when I walked out of the hospital I was reminded of Drew's words, "That's why we go!"
For more than a dozen years you have help us to "Go" into the far away places, isolated places, the smelly places and the hard to reach places. We have had but one simple goal, to share Jesus with a lost and dying world. Soon we will begin to train others through Project Reach, to "Go" into those same areas, but not only in Ecuador, but the entire Amazon region of South America. I am writing you this letter from the final stretch of our land purchase. We only lack 3500 meters at only $3 a meter! So many of you have generously helped us take this step of faith, but we lack just a bit more. We now have three weeks left to complete our transaction, one last time I will ask you. Can you help us with Project Reach? One last push and we will be ready to begin construction. We appreciate you helping us to "Go!" Click here to donate online now!
Joil & Leah
Drew, Will, Emelia & Aidan