"Not so easily was I remade as made. He spoke and all things were made. But while he made me simply and at once by a word, he has in the remaking of me said many words, and worked wonders and suffered much." (St. Bernard)

Monday, September 15, 2014

'I have never known a hungry missionary.'

"Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves." - Philippians 2:3

This continues to be the greatest blessing I receive from the people here in Ahuano and Ecuador, that so many of them regard me and my fellow missionaries as more important than themselves. Families who do not have much, will give to us in abundance, the first portion and often more than anyone else. My friend Klever, from Quito, seeks first the Kingdom of God, longing to be a missionary and preach the Gospel, before he worries about himself. Last year, I recall, when I first came to Quito to begin language school, I met Klever. He gave up his whole day off from work to help me find a place to live for the month. And just two weeks ago, Klever came to Ahuano to spend a week of his vacation evangelizing the people of the jungle and helping us with work projects. He has a heart for souls!

Every week we go to Chonta Punta to visit with families and put on a prayer service in the evening. We always stay with the catechist, Mr. Kloffit, and his family. They welcome us with open arms, and they always provide food for us, mounds of food. As Mr. Frank Summers says to people who worry about not getting enough food in missions: 'I have never known a hungry missionary.' That is the truth! As you see often in the Old Testament, hospitality and generosity, and giving of what you have to others who need it more, is what God is asking of us. Like Abraham who welcomed strangers into his home to rest and to eat. (Gen. 18:1-10) Jesus says: 'For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it.'

GLORY STORY! I have another glory story I would like to share. Yesterday, while I was in Quito, I was able to visit with Rebecca. She is doing so well; Her light shines so bright. She doesn't care about the things of the world. Often she doesn't have enough money to pay rent, or to eat lunch, but as she tells me over and over: 'No importa!' These things do not matter to her. Her trust is in the Lord, whose love is better than life. Every time I see her, I realize there is so much I am holding on to, those things that I still need to give over to him. Yesterday, after we prayed together, she pulled me aside to tell me: 'Ryan, I have forgiven an enemy of mine!' I was so ecstatic, overwhelmed with joy. 'Praise God!!' What a huge grace! She told me she called this person, talked to them for a bit, and forgave them. Now they are friends! She said all that weight has been lifted off her shoulders. She was dancing with joy. Now, Rebecca has become a shining witness, a true disciple of Christ, bringing the message of the freedom she received from Christ to others. And it is already working on the hearts of her co-workers.

We are hearing testimonies upon testimonies. More and more, the people are sharing with us and others what God has worked in their lives. 'Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.' (Evangelization of the Modern World - Pope Paul VI)

The people of Community San Pedro removing rocks from the river for the new chapel
The missionary men of Ahuano working on the chapel in San Pedro
We bring the message of the Gospel, so that others may be healed and freed from the lies of the world. The devil tells you lies 'to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you.' (Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta) We bring the message of our own freedom in Christ, free to live not for ourselves, but for Him. For the 'freedom' of the world is to live as I desire, as I want, to please myself, self-gratifying. This is not freedom at all, but our own self-destruction and certain death forever. There can be no fruits by this way of life. Bearing fruit propagates life, as the Lord says: 'Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat, but if it dies, it produces much fruit.' (Jn. 12:24) And this fruit comes from a 'dying' to ourselves, sacrificing our lives for another, a letting go of preserving ourselves in this life. Jesus promises: 'Whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.' (Jn. 12:25) I have so much to be thankful for: my salvation, all of you my benefactors and prayer warriors, the lessons our Father is teaching me, His desire for me, and the strength He gives me to persevere each day... and so much more!

PRAYER REQUEST! Please pray for this family. Angel, the foreman of the chapel project, informed us last night, that his little 5 month old girl, Marcia, is in the hospital. She began having seizures this past Saturday. Padre Walter did an emergency baptism on Sunday. The doctors don't know what is happening and they fear she may die. Please pray for her miraculous healing, and for Angel and his wife to put their trust in the Lord, and to know His peace.

Me with Marcia (Mom), Angel (Dad) and wawa Mishel

Matt with Mishel

FUELING the MISSIONARY IMPULSE! In just a couple of months Family Missions Company is hosting a Mission Conference in Lafayette, LA. Last year was a huge success, and this year is looking to be equally blessed. Please pray about going to this conference to be more about Pope Francis' impetus for missions in the Church, how FMC is responding and our part!
Click here to watch the video.      Fueling the Missionary Impulse

I love each of you. Your peace is in Christ!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Proclaim Christ!

The Church is ALIVE!! Our Lord is ALIVE!!! With tremendous zeal, let's respond to The Great Commission from our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Church is alive because we 'go and make disciples of all nations'. We do this with joy, inculturating and incarnating into the very lives of the poor, in those whom we serve. Please check out this video!

Consider attending this exciting event. Certainly, you will be animated and ready, unable to contain yourself, and unable to keep from speaking the incredible joy from the Lord that wells up from within you! May your joy be complete!