January 25, 2009

Missouri Teens Minister to 150 Shuar in Ecuadorian Jungle

The crowd was so thick when the van first pulled in, the team had a hard time getting out of the van!  The woman in this photo is Pastor Deb Laws, former missionary to Spain, who was the Bible teacher and song leader for the group.

This is the Shuar group that welcomed the team with a traditional dance and song.  The beads around their waists and ankles made percussion sounds when they moved.

The crowds were big both days!

Facepainting....

Puppets ... missionary kid Mary Hall also served as translator, led songs, read from the Bible or the puppet script, whatever was needed.

*****

For two days in the jungle of Ecuador, 150 children and their parents, many of whom walked 1-to-2 hours from their homes, descended upon Centro Yuu, an indigenous Shuar village.  As the Work & Witness team vans drove into the village, joyful children running alongside immediately surrounded the vans.  In fact, the team had a hard time exiting their vans because of the crowd!

On Dec. 29 & 30, a group of teens from the Eldon, Missouri, church along with their adult leaders traveled to the Shuar village for a two-day kids ministry event complete with clowns, face-painting, balloons, puppets, games, and Bible stories.  Pastor Deb Laws (former missionary to Spain) and youth pastor Mike Edinger led the activities along with Mary Hall, daughter of missionaries Stan & Sherri Hall, who also served as translator.

The Nazarene church is the only evangelical church serving in this jungle area.  Several villagers kicked off the event with singing and an indigenous dance to welcome the ministry team.

While the teens pray that their messages influenced these children and their families, several commented that their lives would never be the same again.  Kristi Mueller shares how God expanded her faith:  “We were running out of bread and Coke to share, and I prayed there would be enough, that no one would be left out.  By the time we got through, everyone had gotten some, and there was some left.  It reminded me of the story of Jesus and the bread and fishes.  He did it again!"

The teens distributed over 175 health/toiletry kits to everyone in attendance.  In addition, another 50 family kits were left with the Shuar pastor to distribute to families in the future.  Another teen, Erin Vernon, conveyed the impact of this trip:  "We have so much in this country, and they don't even have their needs met.  And yet, they are still happy with what they have.  I have realized that I am spoiled, but I am changing.”

No comments: