READY or not

greetings from ecuador. i had hopes of  journaling everyday so i could share this experience with my children and church friends back home. i wasn't anticipating sharing the gospel to be so rewardingly exhausting.  i know i will return home with many stories involving  prayers being answered in blatant ways.

i wanted to share one quick story that still has me smiling. (the pictures have little to do with my story. they are uploading fuzzy and pixelated.

a quick background:  our church sponsored trips to ecuador focus on evangelism. on the street, in the park... everywhere Jesus tells you to look. which again is everywhere ;) i am having a very hard time getting past my issues introverted ways. by the afternoon of day one, i was very discouraged. our group leader who is so encouraging and positive told me to pray. pray. pray. 

later that evening our team had to split up. one half had an appointment with a women who had recently lost her four year old son. he choked to death on food. it is hard to wrap my mind around the horror.

angie (one of our awesome interpreters) and i stayed behind at the hostel to skye with my GA class. i was giddy about seeing their sweet faces. after Skype, our evening plans involved more park evangelizing and visiting the quechua church for the first time.
photo credits to the awesome suzanna hall!

we had a great Skype. at the end mrs. suzanna  asked for specific prayer requests. i made requests for each team member. saving mine for last ~ it was the most involved ;)  "please pray for my ability to share jesus with strangers. my social anxiety is hindering what i have come to ecuador to do." 
SO they obviously prayed for me.  they obviously prayed for me really hard! because what happened next was all about the power of prayer.

 angie and i headed to the Quechua church. even though it was just the two of us, i couldn't wait to see this amazing place. i had heard so many stories.  the rest of the team would (hopefully) make it later, after their appointment. God's timing is perfect. because His will was taking place at parallel timing.

i entered their small, congregation built, cement block church and was almost knocked down by the holy spirit! this people group... well hello Jesus Christ!  materialistically they may appear poor, but spiritually they are richer than so many of us in the united states.

the Quechua people greeted me, gave the kindness hugs, thanked me from the bottom of their hearts for just coming. 

and then... {insert heart failure}

these sweet people handed me a microphone. a live microphone. from the pulpit, the pastor asked me to "share a sermon."  a sermon on stage with a microphone in front of strangers. the kindest strangers, but still strangers.  this was outside of my comfort zone on so many levels. my poor translator, sitting there with a weak link. she knew my anxieties, we spent the day in the park together. from the look on her face i could tell she was afraid to even translate the word "sermon" for the fear i would flee the building. (with a little more notice, i probably would have)

an hour earlier i had asked for prayers regarding speaking to strangers... on park benches! this wasn't what i meant! my people group had just prayed me into preaching a church sermon. oh they are in so much trouble when i get home ;)  the power of prayer gave me 2 minutes of preparation. 

 inside i was crying, panicking, while laughing. what was happening was not ironic, it was God telling me in the most theatrical way, "enough already! get over yourself." 

 on stage with my translator i should have used my two minutes begging God for mercy. instead i wasted it thinking crazy things like:  

*i have never even held a microphone! 
* i only preach Jesus to girls 15 and under. 
* my testimony is beyond rusty 
* oh yeah, they will  remember me. because this is going to be epically bad 
* and of course, i wish maureen was here to guide my way!

poof, my two minutes were gone. when God is ready, you are ready ~ or not.
so i gave my 20 minute sermon. it was weak and pitiful.  God bless those sweet people for listening. they even clapped for me at the end, which i know was a God thing, because a parent only loves awful artwork!  i pray my translator polished my delivery in the translation.

so thank you friends for praying me right out of my comfort zone. today we will split up again. (praise God because that means a lot of the gospel is being shared) angie and i will go back to the quechua church to help them perform a play about the ten virgins. they will be sharing this play with others in a neighboring town.

did i mention my public speaking skills are light years ahead of my acting skills? i am terrified to ask for prayers.  God is listening and there's no telling what he will make me do!

 God could have me performing an interpretive dance on the town square by day's end. (if this happens, i will most definitely share the video. it will go viral for sure!)

Elder Matthew Hyer said...

Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your missionary experiences in Equador! That must have been one of the best trips ever. I really appreciated when you mentioned the fear that comes when you are about to talk to a stranger on the streets about Jesus Christ. I'm a representative of Jesus Christ as well, and despite all odds, I'm still afraid of talking to strangers. We really shouldn't be afraid of this. We are all God's children, and thus we are also all brothers and sisters. Why should I be afraid of a brother or sister? I'm praying a lot, reading scripture, and sometimes just biting the bullet and talking, but I'm still a little afraid. I could really use some great scriptures from the Old/New Testaments that talk about being brave, if you have time. I would really appreciate it. Once again, thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

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