Monday, April 30, 2012


The whole crew (Dario front and center!)
 Andrea, Brenda, Judy, and me in the back!

April is over!! I cannot believe how the time is passing…I feel like I am going to wake up tomorrow and be 60 years old!!! Well, I guess the only thing that we can do is to enjoy life to the fullest, worship the Lord with every breath and movement, and love those around us with the same passion that Christ did!

I am here to report great things! First, on March 20th, we found out that I was 4 weeks pregnant!!! SURPRISE!!! We were not planning on getting pregnant so soon in our marriage; especially with plans of migrating to the United States looming on the horizon, but God knows best!!! We have been winding down from a crazy few months of planning, fund-raising and finishing our second annual CVI Cuenca camp. It was just a few weekends ago on April 13-15th. I must say that the Lord once again tested our patience, strengths, and dependence on Him throughout the process; but the camp, as a whole was a great success!! I had so much fun watching Him work in His mysterious ways! He chose 9 young people with special needs, mostly teenagers and young adults, and a wonderful group of about 27 volunteers and some extra helpers who came when they had spare time. Almost all of our ‘friends’ (as we refer to our counselors) were new to Cristo Vive, which is great, because it opens doors to more people, more churches and a broader spectrum of impact. Many of the friends commented that they came with fear that they wouldn’t know how to handle taking care of a camper, but they ended up learning so much from those campers, about love, patience, contentedness, and even discipline. We had some of the best puppet shows I have EVER seen in a Cristo Vive camp, and I was so impressed with the attitude of service that reigned throughout the camp. The challenges we faced only taught us to be stronger, and the spirit of growth, change and commitment were a theme amongst us friends. I personally served as the nurse and took care of certain administrative responsibilities with the help of Judy and Marjorie. I was extremely proud of my husband, who served as the camp pastor, and allowed the Lord to use him to touch so many. Also, I couldn’t be more pleased with my little team of three: Pablo, just 16, led the songs and games, AND helped to take care of a young man with cerebral palsey. Andrea, 18, who has never actually been to a full camp before, but has been serving with us for about 8 months, helped lead the devotions, stories, bible verses, and salvation message. Her smile said it all!! In our first meeting following the camp, I was able to hear their personal testimonies about how God confirmed their callings to serve in this ministry. Judy is 100% sure that the Lord desires for her to be the leader, which is music to my ears. The plan and prayer all along, has been that someone like her would not only feel compelled to lead CVI Cuenca, but specifically CALLED, and with a passion that will keep her going through the tough times. The Lord definitely filled us all with JOY, PEACE, and lots of LOVE for those kids!!!

Looking to the future: Just because camp is over, doesn’t mean the work is!!! There are reports to be filled out, critiquing the camp, reporting the funds gained and spent, and figuring out what to do differently next year! We are planning a costume party on May 11th, to thank all of our volunteers, and to encourage them to continue building relationships with their campers and their families. Judy said she had a feeling in her Spirit that the ministry was going to grow in numbers after the camp, and sure enough, we already have 3 young women who want to start coming regularly to our meetings!! GOD IS SO GOOD!!! We are also proceeding with plans to visit Mensejeros de La Paz on a Bi-weekly basis to do a discipleship program with them. There is a camp the end of May in Guayaquil (25-27th) and we are planning some fundraisers to send a group there as well.
 On a more personal note, as I mentioned above, Dario and I are making plans to head to the US. We are right on schedule with the plans for the ministry here, and the Lord has been faithful in answering our prayers and providing a team!! As far as what we will do when we get to the US, much of that is still in the planning stages. My baby brother Adam will be married the third weekend of September and I am to be one of the bridesmaids (every bridesmaids’ dream is to be the BIG attraction at 7 months pregnant on the bride and grooms’ BIG day, right!?!?!)! We have also been tentatively planning our own celebration of our marriage (I HAVE THE BEST HUSBAND IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!)in Wisconsin! SO, please be praying for a healthy pregnancy, and a speedy homecoming!! My heart is still with Cristo Vive and my brain has been turning circles thinking of all the things that need to be done stateside. So, as we pray, will you join us in seeking direction and guidance from the Lord? Dario would like to pursue music, ministry, or both. He has a heart and talent for counseling and has felt the Lord leading him to a pastor-type role. He has always been passionate about teaching music as well. We may be looking for jobs in translating or interpreting since we are both somewhat bilingual. We are praying that we can travel before August ends, as my due date is in November. Thank you all for partnering with us in prayer!!! We can’t wait to be able to meet up in the States!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

It happens...

Last Wednesday, Dario and I sat in the church and pastor Freddy began a study about the different types of intimacy necessary in a healthy relationship (emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual). A woman came in, nodded and smiled at us, and sat down next to her husband. I didn’t think anything of it, but Dario said, “Wow…what a miracle, she smiled!! I have NEVER seen her smile!”

After the service, a few of our friends were in an uproar about an accident and almost getting run over by a drunk guy in a big truck right in front of the church. We walked down the street to find the rest of our gang. True to the rumors, a VERY drunk man, who couldn’t even stand up on his own, was leaning against a 3-day old SUV, trying to cover up the damage he had done to the back bumper with his giant truck/trailer. His wife was arguing with the owners of the car, who just so happened to be that couple from church (smiling woman). The couple was trying to reason with the woman that if she just signed something stating that she would pay for the damages to the car (which they figured would be around $200, they wouldn’t call the police and her husband wouldn’t get hauled off to jail (…yeah… things work a little differently down here in the DEEP South!!). The woman was ranting about being well-known and knowing all of us (including me). She just so happened to be the Aunt of two boys who have been helping with Cristo Vive (her son Paul also helped us in December), and she went on about how if they were Christians, they should just forgive and let it go…

Long story shortened, we were able to talk the woman into signing the paper, and in the midst of some calmer moments, the woman who owned the car told her that she understands the difficulty of living with an alcoholic husband, and that she has been trying to get her own struggling husband to church for a very long time – he finally came that night – and look what happened!!! We (Dario and I) tried to encourage both parties, helping to retrieve papers and driving the nerve-wracked Señoras to and fro, until things were resolved. And, when it came time to say good-bye, Dario shook hands with the man from our church and said, “Don’t let this be a reason not to come back to church.” To which the man replied, “If anything, this gives me more reason/strength to return.” I don’t think he was talking about the car, but about the support he had received from a bunch of “jovenes” (young people) from the church.

I have been thinking about all of the people involved: Paul, my friend, who had to help carry his drunken father home, and his mom, who must be both ashamed and worried; the couple from the church; wondering if her prayers concerning her husband would be answered. Also, Dario and I why were we there? Are these things simply coincidence?
Well, Sunday came, and as I was walking down the aisle greeting people, I was pleased to see the couple (I still haven’t found out their names!) sitting side by side, with smiles on their faces.

I don’t think accidents just “happen”, but I do think, as they say, that ministry happens, on a daily, even moment by moment basis, in our homes, workplaces and neighborhoods. One never knows when an opportunity to share the love of Jesus will present itself.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 ESV

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's about TIME!!!

Hello to all of you who may be reading this blog!!! I have been silent for WAY TOO LONG (I am ashamed as I write for the first time in 9 months!!!). Blogging simply became one of those things that fell lower and lower on the list of priorities. I think about it several times a week and set out to write an entry (there are several unfinished ones saved to my computer) but life seems to butt in and distract me. NO MORE!!! Thanks to a friend and supporter who brought this to my attention in an honest and gentle manner, I finally got the kick in the pants I needed to make this happen on a regular basis. I actually didn't think that many people were reading this, but that is no excuse either. It is good for me, good for those who are supporting me, and MY chosen means of communication. So, I apologize, recognize my error, and plan to be better at updating my people!! Thanks for loving me in spite of my imperfections, and for praying and trusting the Lord, as I serve Him here in Ecuador.

SO, since I last wrote in JUNE '11, a lot has happened! Here is the condensed version. Noele decided to stay in the US and is taking care of a godly friend of the ministry who is quadriplegic. I couldn't be happier for Noele, because, although it was a difficult transition, she is smack dab in the middle of God's plan. Jean (the beautiful woman of God she is caring for) has an amazing faith and a lot of courage. Noele is learning a lot from her and from the new church she attends. She is now applying to several schools (including Moody), so please pray for her as she looks to yet another transition.

I came back to Ecuador by myself September 14th, 2011. Dario and I began feverishly planning the wedding that we had decided would take place just 2 months later. Praise the Lord; only two weeks after my return, he got a full-time job. Although it is not something he wants to do forever (he assembles the electrical parts for stoves and refrigerators), nor is it a big money-maker, it is stable and he has a great rapport with the bosses and his co-workers. He actually had the blessing of leading 4 of his friends there to the Lord!

Obviously, with planning the wedding, October and November flew by. Also, in the midst of that craziness, we managed to plan and hold a wonderful Christmas party for more than 75 orphans with special needs. We found people from a local business who were each willing to sponsor a child, buying them a nice gift and also donating bags of candies, cookies, and 3 cakes. One of the youth groups here supplied music and a couple of dance numbers. We (team Cristo Vive) performed a mimed drama about love, forgiveness, and patience. We held the event at a local military base, free of charge, also providing free busses to bring the kids in and take them back to the orphanages at the end of the day. It was SUPER exhausting, but very rewarding!! I was very proud of my little team.

My parents, Noele, and Laura (Noele's sis) arrived a few short days later, on Tuesday, December 13th. Dario and I and his parents met them in Guayaquil, and we all went to the Civil Registry where we were legally married (I could write an entire book on that process!). We went back to Cuenca the same day, and the ladies from the church threw me a lovely shower. The rest of the week was a blur of activity. My poor parents didn't get much of a vacation here what with all the buying and making of floral and fruit arrangements, cakes, and other decorations, rehearsals, and dinners with family etc. We couldn't have had such a lovely wedding without them!! We did get a chance to visit Mensejeros De La Paz (the orphanage where Flor and the other special needs kids live), which was sooo special for me. My parents, and almost all of Dario's family were able to meet the very reasons why I decided to come to Ecuador in the first place. My Dad (the big softie that he is) cried the whole time we were there and now knows that I am not on 'permanent vacation' here!!

December came and went with the wedding and honeymoon (see pics on FB), and then the holidays. January '12 meant more than just a New Year for me. It meant an entirely new phase of life; it meant new lessons and new reasons to die to my old nature. Marriage truly is a form of discipleship, when two people who love the Lord and each other 'sharpen' each other as 'iron sharpens iron'. We didn't have much time to ease into this being married stuff either. We both feel like we are on the accelerated track of 'Christian Marriage 101'!! A missionary came to stay at our house for a month (oh, yeah, and we are living at the missionary house, so we don't really have our own space yet, but, it has been more of a blessing than a burden!) teaching masters level counseling and biblical history courses. I translated for her class that was specifically for couples interested in learning how to counsel. Dario and I had been feeling a burden for the new, young couples in our church, and had been praying about the possibility of branching out into counseling ourselves (at least for the dating couples!!!) Everything sort of fell into our laps, and the Lord really has been using us. Dario has an amazing gift when it comes to counseling and encouraging people.

February was a month of setting new goals. The team and I are in full swing with the camp here in April (13-15), so we were planning where to hold the camp, how to raise the funds for the camp, inviting, preparing and training the counselors and the campers, transportation, food, the program etc., etc. We are few, but strong, and I believe that the Lord is going to do mighty things in the lives of the campers and counselors, and with Cristo Vive as a ministry here in Cuenca. We are working with 2 new and rather large churches this time around, which is exciting.

On a more personal level, Dario and I have been setting goals around our health (exercising and eating well), our relationship (making sure we have the time together that we need as a couple), our finances (trying to project how to get to a relatively stable place before we start bringing little people into the picture), and, most importantly, our Spiritual lives. We decided that when kids come (at least a year or two down the road!), we want to have the habit of family devotions (aside from personal) already in place, so we are trying to make that happen every evening when Dario returns from work. Over all, we have had fantastic results. We trained for a 5k which I ran on Sunday (I am not sure of my time...somewhere around 23 minutes) and are planning on continuing with a 15k in April or May, and, eventually, a full marathon!! We are planning on doing the "Maker's Diet" which is basically a 40-day cleanse and guide of how to eat in a biblically healthy way. Our devotional times have been great, and have had a dramatic effect on my "need" for just-the-two-of-us time. Our schedules are busier than ever, but we are reaping the rewards of trying our best to be good stewards of the time and resources HE has given to us!

Well, that is all for now...please be praying...God Bless You ALL!!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I cannot believe that it is JUNE!!!!! I cannot believe I am in the United States!! So much has been happening that it has been difficult to find the time to sit down and fill you all in. I am sorry if you have all been waiting on me…I know it has been months. So, let me catch you up!
We successfully planned, fundraised, and held our own camp in Cuenca. It was a lot of work for Noele and me, being that we were the shoulders upon which fell the majority of the responsibility. We held the camp at Mensejeros de La Paz, which is Flor’s new place. We were originally trying to limit the camp to about 15 campers, which grew to 29 when we decided to hold it there, because there are three houses and we had to include all of the residents. We ended up having about 55 volunteers at the camp, not including the 8 or so who worked there during the weekend. We all slept on the floor on mattresses, and had to snuggle up to each other to keep warm, but it was a memorable experience, which lit a fire in many of our volunteers to keep going with Cristo Vive. We had so many first-time counselors, which is such a blessing, because they want to continue with camps, fundraising and telling their friends about the ministry. Although there was quite a bit of stress involved to make sure everything ran smoothly, there were several moments during which I was able to sit back and hear testimonies of counselors and campers, see the smiles on their faces, and know that we are accomplishing something beautiful for the Kingdom. One young man, who is about 20, has had a very difficult life, and the people in his life who were supposed to love and care for him, abused and abandoned him. He told his counselor of the horrors he experiences in his own home…things I don’t even care to repeat. We had been warned several times to take extra precautions with him, because if he has a history of seizures when he gets over-excited, and they only recently were able to regulate his medication and schedule to keep him stable, physically and emotionally. On the first day of camp, he shared with his counselor, that, when our bus arrived and he saw all of us, he was afraid and wanted to run, because he saw hordes of what he called “souls”. One of them took him by the hand, telling him not to be afraid, that these “souls” were not going to lead them to Hell. His counselor told him not to be afraid because what he saw were angels, and they were there to protect all of us. It makes me want to cry every time, because I could see the peace, comfort and joy he received during the camp, and especially with the friendship he was able to build with his counselor. He fully enjoyed camp and never once had an incident with his health. What an opportunity to share the love of Christ.
I should mention that we had some visitors with us from stateside (Gene, Jordana, Osito, Gene’s Dad Harold (lovingly referred to as Grandpa by all), Ramon, and Phil). What a joy to have them with us. We all traveled from Cuenca to Quito to hold another camp, and then from there, directly to the coast, to build a wheelchair ramp at the camp we use in Playas. It was so very gratifying, and such a wonderful time of fellowship, but we were exhausted and ready to return to Cuenca.
Noele and I, along with another girl, took a mini-vacation to Baños, a town nestled at the base of a volcano, which attracts a lot of tourism. We bungee-jumped, rode mountain bikes to the various waterfalls, relaxed in volcanic thermal baths, white-water rafted, and even went to the jungle to see some monkeys. It was such a pleasant break and an enjoyable trip for the two of us.

Upon returning to our “home” in Cuenca, we scurried to gather everyone for a party to thank them for the help at camp, and I got a special surprise…an engagement ring!!

For those of you who are just finding out, I apologize, but allow me to fill you in. I met Dario in the spring of last year, soon before returning to the states for the summer. When I came back in September, we quickly became good friends and began sharing our stories. I have, for some reason, always said that I wouldn’t get involved with an Ecuadorian, but, the Lord had other plans. In January, we began officially dating, and, here it is only 5 months later and we are engaged. It’s crazy, even to me, but I am resting in the Lord, and the peace He has given me throughout every step of the journey. There is no date set as of right now, and I appreciate your prayers as we have begun to wade through the processes of paperwork, visas, and the future. I seem to have a knack for the unconventional, so why should this be any different!!

As for me, I am home in Wisconsin for a few months, with mixed emotions. It feels strange leaving "home" to go "home"...I am excited and sad at the same time, kind of like how I felt when I left for Ecuador...oh, dear!! Well, I can be pleased with the results we have seen in Ecuador the last year, and look forward to continued growth. Gene and Jordana have asked me to consider staying in Ecuador for another 2 years to ensure the stabilization of the ministry here, which I have agreed to consider.
When I return to Ecuador the end of August or September, we will hopefully be ready to plan another camp for November. Noele and I finished our year with a camp in Playas and we brought 9 people from Cuenca with us!! What a blessing and a confirmation that our Cuencan friends are finally catching the Cristo Vive bug and are excited to continue. It was an especially special camp for me and many of the campers as it was camp focused on baptizing our campers who have accepted the Lord and been discipled to some degree through our camps, their families, or a church. We have been talking about doing that for some time now, and it was such a precious time for everyone involved. Many family members showed up for the day, participating in our festivities, and receiving the gospel.

I appreciate your prayers as I will be traveling a lot during this time, giving reports and raising more funds in order to continue along the path the Lord has set out for me. I have also been struggling with my health quite a bit over the last few months, and would like to pray for healing, especially for my sinuses, which seem to be a root cause of illness with me. Also, please pray for Noele as she is trying to decide if she should go back with me, or stay here to study and for Dario as he is trying hard to have steady work in order to save some money.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

La Flor de Cuenca (The Flower of Cuenca)

The View out of Flor's new Bedroom Window...

Hangin' out with Flor's new Roommate Maricela...

Opening presents from the Grandparents (my Mom and Dad!)


On Friday, February 5, 2010, I met someone who, though I didn’t know it then, would change my life. Her name is Flor. She is about 20 years old (“about”, because she was abandoned as a baby and no one knows her real birthdate. We met by accident in an orphanage in Guayaquil. I will never forget when I first saw her. She was sitting alone on the floor, hunched over, without a shirt on, in a puddle of urine, staring at her hands. I approached her and introduced myself, and then told her that Jesus loved her…at which she scooted away from me screaming hysterically. I took that as a sign…so the next week, after praying and fasting for her, Gene and I returned and were met with a much different experience. Though she was still sitting on the tile floor by herself, when I approached her and asked if we could sing, she nodded and smiled, taking my hand. I began singing some songs in English and whatever Spanish songs I could remember, while Gene prayed and read Scripture. I then prayed a simple prayer with her and explained that Jesus was her friend and wanted to help her and that He was always there for her.

Since then, whenever in Guayaquil, I would visit the orphanage, and helped the others who were ministering there to see that they needed to include her in their activities and make sure she was getting attention too. She and the two other boys with special needs came to our camp the following April and had such a good time, they were NOT happy to go back the orphanage. Flor has a huge smile, a great laugh, and a lot of love for others. She won the hearts of everyone at the Cristo Vive camps, and continues to grow more and more famous as her story circulates throughout Ecuador and the world.
As we spent more time with her and Laura, the director of the orphanage, it became apparent that they lacked much when it came to providing for the needs of the children, especially the special kids, and that the people who lived and worked there were taking advantage of the situation. To be completely honest, they were negligent, and at times, downright abusive. We had many ideas for making it a better place, taking a team of volunteers there to work on one of the houses, but, recently, the people in charge, and the government, decided that they needed to close it down, rebuild it, and start over with new employees and new children. All the children except the three special kids, as it turns out, have some sort of family, with whom they could live. So, we began the search for a home for Flor, Julian and Jose. I am still in awe at how the Lord worked everything out, from the closing down of the orphanage, to the inauguration of a brand-new facility in Cuenca.

This last Sunday, January 23rd, we celebrated Flor’s arrival with chocolate cake and gifts, and we decided that from now on, this would be her “birthday.” She spent the night at our house, and on Monday morning, we made the journey to “Mensejeros de la Paz” (Messengers of Peace).
It is a stunning place with a beautiful view. It is very impressive, the brand new houses with bright orange rooftops, nestled into the mountains. There are areas for physical, occupational, and speech therapy, classrooms, trails, wheelchair accessibility, and space for about 36 orphans and young people with severe disabilities. The criterion to get into this particular place was quite strict, being that they are a facility which has the capacity to care for those who are truly dependent upon others for their basic needs.

We showed Flor around, got to know the workers and some of the others who were also just beginning to arrive, and tried to help where we could. One concern we have is that they are planning on having about 12 residents in each house and only two staff people to care for them. As far as I know, this includes such things as laundry and dishes, which means they will be overwhelmed. And, some of these people have little to no experience working directly with people with special needs. Granted, they do have a nurse, a psychologist and therapists, but I cannot imagine having to care directly for 6 residents. The people that we have spent time with there seem like very nice people with good hearts and that they want to take good care of them, but my desire all along, especially for Flor, is that these children have a place where the love of Christ is shared every day, and the spiritual needs are met, as well as the physical.

Noele and I returned with a few friends the following day, Tuesday, to make sure that Flor was adjusting well. We entertained the handful of residents that share her house, took them for a walk, sang some songs, stretched and helped with lunchtime feeding. After lunch, Flor colored for a while (which she loves!) and then, unfortunately, she started to throw a fit. I have seen this from her a few times before, and so we just kept trying to comfort her, holding her, praying for her, telling her that we love her, while being careful that she didn’t hit, bite or scratch herself or one of us. It did not last very long, and we took her to lay down. She was restless and upset, and I sang to her and held her until I had to leave. I think she is realizing that everything is changing, and that she has no one there that is familiar. She knew that we were going to leave as well.

This is the heartbreaking reality, and I felt horrible leaving her. I keep thinking, “Why do I have more than enough…why do I have so many friends and family who love me and want to take care of me, and Flor has no one, and nothing?? But I know that Flor has God and He loves her more than any of us can. Flor knows who Jesus is, if you ask her, she will point to her heart and to heaven. She loves to pray, for herself and for others, and she is very affectionate and very funny. I know the Lord put her in my path to teach me many things, one of which is that we need to fight for the innocent, and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves, love those who need loving, not just ignoring them and letting someone else deal with it. So, please keep on fighting…pray for peace in her heart, and healing of her wounds.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grandma Gillingham

Corrine Gillingham 07/09/30-12/10/10

The last time I saw her, Grandma asked me when I was coming home…she said she didn’t think she would be around by then. She was right. I only wish I would have told her how much she meant to me…my heart grieves that I didn’t have one more good-bye, but I hope and pray that she knew I loved her dearly. My Gramma Corrine was uniquely mine, as are my memories of her. I am so blessed to have shared my life thus far with her, and I will miss her immensely in the years to come. Gramma had a way of always making me feel special, spoiled – so she succeeded in her role as a Grandmother!!
Thank you Gramma, for being there for me, for spending time, caring, and leaving your fingerprints on my heart. I love you.

To my Gramma Corrine: by Kristin Gillingham 12.15.10

I remember Asparagus Springtimes.
You and I … seeking out peeking spears,
Shauno-road-trips to awaiting cousins and horses.
You were there – snapping photos, telling stories.

I remember…Pontoon summers,
dripping with laughter, pan-fish fins pricking pudgy fingers…
My pink Minnie Mouse pole, like a buried treasure, sleeping somewhere on the bottom of the Nagawicka.
You were there – passing sodas and snacks, wiping my tears, sun-bathing and smiling.

I remember Autumn sleepovers…
sleepy-delicious Cracklin’ Oat Bran mornings,
flying (ok, swinging!) over the lazy channel, baking and raking.
You were there…singing…always singing.

I remember…Wintertime wonderment;
bundling up in our finest to see you on stage…
so proud of my famous, rouge-cheeked, “Herb and Ethel” grandparents!
Your house sparkling, warm, red-and-white ready for sled-riding and cocoa.
You were there…wiping noses, layering mittened fingers.

I remember silly songs of Suzanne, Mrs. Murphy, and “The Old Apple Tree”;
my blue-cherub ballerina box chiming “Fascination”,
world’s best spaghetti and stuffing and salads with ‘crunchy noodles’.
I remember toilet paper protection from public bathroom germs,
antiquated combs and fancy purse collections, birthday surprises, and yard-darts.

I remember you…
open arms,
perfume lingering,
soft finger touches,
and proud grandma-smiles.
I…remember… …you…

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jesus Prayed...

Friends and family: I am sorry that this is a bit on the tardy side...we had our prayer meeting on Monday, and I wanted to share this with you all sooner so that we could all pray together, but things have been wild, and the internet connection less than desireable! Thank you so much for your love, patience, and most of all, PRAYERS!!! The Lord is our only true source of comfort, strength and understanding!!!!

These are the PRAYER POINTS for December:

It’s December! It is that time of year when we are reminded of the birth of our precious Savior, and his life here on this earth, humbled, yet triumphant, living a perfect life so that He could be the perfect sacrifice for us.
I often wonder A) what if He had slipped up, acted on a temptation, during a moment of weakness, spent one day NOT fellowshipping with the Father, and committed ONE sin??? I mean, He took on humanity, and the Scriptures say that he was tempted as we are, therefore it was not easy for Him (sweating blood is NOT normal!). B) If WE were in true unity with the Father, submission to His will, making every decision based on a true, intense desire to love, please, and obey Him, taking full advantage of the power that He has given us (through the SAME Holy Spirit that Jesus had), wouldn’t we not only see and perform miracles, but be able to live a holy, pure life, such and HE did (not forgetting the minor detail that He was born supernaturally and not into sin as we are -- soiled upon arrival!). C) If we truly understood the SUFFERING Jesus endured during 33 years that He walked this earth, being tempted by Satan, ridiculed, mistreated, betrayed, tortured, and murdered in the most shameful way possible -- knowing that it was all for this poor, wretched race of sinners that He loves so much, not for his own benefit – would it not cause us to follow his radical example and give of ourselves to the dying sinners that we encounter every day…forsaking the temptations and distractions of this evil world, placing our thoughts on a higher goal? Shouldn’t this knowledge, penetrating our hearts, plaster us to the ground, drive us to our knees, humble us and fill our mouths with an outcry of sorrow and a desperate plea for salvation, forgiveness, and redemption????
Well, He did not sin, He did die for us, and He made it possible for us to have close fellowship with the Father, and to intercede with broken hearts for the fallen world.

During the last few prayer meetings, we have looked at the lives of many Biblical heroes that have shown a special commitment to Righteousness: Ruth, Esther, Daniel, etc. Each of these sinners had a special relationship with the Lord and spent much time seeking His face. Often, we put these people on a pedestal, thinking that we can’t really reach the same level of spirituality or holiness, because we aren’t living in Bible times. Study the lives of all of the great heroes of the faith, the prophets, and even Jesus, and the common thread becomes apparent. They all spent much time on their knees communing with the Holy Father. This is the key. How often did Jesus talk about praying and fasting…how many times do the Scriptures mention Him going off to spend time alone with His Father? The answer is that this was habitual for Jesus, not just when things were getting rough, or when His death was drawing near, but every day He spent time alone in the presence of the Father.

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16-18 ESV)

• Please pray for all the leaders involved in the ministry to be drawn into true fellowship with the Father (Gene, Jordana, Marjorie, Maria Augusta, Henry, Kristin, Noele).
• Pray for the Christmas activities in Wisconsin, Guayaquil, Cuenca, and Quito, Ecuador.
• Pray for Noele and her family – her grandfather passed away -- she is going home for 10 days.
• Pray for Kristin and her family -- her paternal grandmother passed away this last Friday. Pray that this opens the eyes of the unsaved family members. Kristin will not be returning to the US for the funeral.
• Pray for the finances of the ministry (our support base in the US is down 70%)

** I would also like to remind us to be aware of the prayers that God is answering as we set aside these times. If you remember back in September, we were praying for Flor’s situation, and I am pleased to report that we are in the process of getting her moved, hopefully in the beginning of January, to a brand new facility here in Cuenca! God is definitely listening to our requests, and acting on our behalf. Praise HIM! Please continue to pray for this, because there are many details to be worked out!**