Down a steep, one-lane, curvy mountainous dirt road, across a little river, and up the other side sits a little adobe and wooden farm house. There are chickens, ducks, dogs, and kittens running around the yard. A hammock, table, and bench are on the little porch. Our friend Maria is always ready to welcome us.
We met Maria last May when she heard about the medical team that was in Chaguarpamba. On her paper she marked that she would like to receive a visit from us. The first time we went, we weren’t sure how to find her house. After asking around, we were told, “to go down the road and, where you see the big tree, that is where her home is.”
Maria used to live in Guayaquil, but when her parents were sick, Maria moved back to their house to take care of them until they passed, leaving her the farm. One day, she told us about her sisters in Guayaquil and how they were Christians. She shared that she used to enjoy going with them and hearing God’s Word. She prayed with us to dedicate her life to Christ and shared how her heart breaks for others who place their faith in idols that can't help them. She feels alone because no one near her has faith in Christ. I handed her a little card with spaces to be filled with seven names for people God places on her heart to pray for. She was excited to be able to play a part, through prayer, in the lives of people she cares about. Every time we go and share a Bible story with her and ask if we can pray for her she answers, “Sure!”
We loved being a part of bringing the Good News to her, and we hope to eventually plant a church she can invest in.
Maria's generous heart means we rarely leave her place empty handed. Even though she doesn’t have a steady income, she always has something to share, like papayas, oranges, and bananas. She invites us to go with her to pick the fruit that she wants us to take home. It is her way of saying thank you.
We are praying that Maria will have the boldness to generously share Christ like she shares her fruit; that her family, friends, and neighbors will know her by her willingness to share Christ; and that one day, there will be a church out in this little farming community of Achiotes.
By Jennifer Riggs, OMS missionary, Loja, Ecuador