A Heart Warming and Hopeful Sunday in Ecuador
This morning, after two hours on a bus from Cotacachi, I was nearing the village of Urcuqui when a young, blue-jeaned girl boarded the bus at a rural stop closely behind her mother and small sister. I smiled and she beamed back at me which is unusual since I did not believe that we knew each other. The three sat across the isle from me and when I glanced their way, the young girl would broadly smile and kindly nod. I exited near the park in town and they continued on. After a having a cup of coffee at my usual place, I walked on to church which meets on Sunday mornings at the far end of town. It's what I call a "frontier work" since the next stop is Columbia. I would be delivering some treats for the Sunday School children and as I entered their classroom all of the children, 15 total, rushed toward me and began hugging my neck as I stooped. And yes, there she was, the smiling, blue-jeaned 12 year-old who had recognized me on the bus as a friend of Jesus who had visited their class four times prior. Apparently, she had told the class I was on my way and informed them that I bore goodies in my backpack. As they gleefully surrounded me my heart warmed, knowing I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right group, with the right attitude and with the right message, the life-saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Looking at the photo, you will see three 12 year-old girls who are the role-model leaders in the class. If you knew the Ecuadorian culture as I do, you would know further why I was so excited about being there. I knew that at least with Jesus being proclaimed to them at this age they would have a fighting chance to not be trapped in the ways of the world, nor drawn into the culture of unmarried motherhood by age 14, nor lose their virtuous ways and innocent charm they possessed on this day. 

Where else but in a Christ-centered environment can this happen?  (And this may be why America is in such chaos, reflected by our defiant youth and growing, Christ-less oversight ) Help will not come from godless secular schools, nor from faithless parenting, nor from worldly friendships, nor from earbuds that shout rebellion, nor from a governement that offers no protection for the pre-born, etc., but help will come only from where there is New Life in Christ preached, taught an lived by adults who know that He is the answer to a life full of character and hope and purpose, with eternity to boot. To make it personal, the blue-jeaned girl with the holy jeans is named Stephanie. I will tell her next week that you who care are praying for her. KA

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