I met Dora several days ago while I was shopping in the central market. Some of her items had caught Marcus' eye and I used my best Spanish on her.
"Hola". I said.
"Muy bien." I responded.
I don't know what the rest of the conversation was because... well... that was my best (and pretty much only) Spanish.
Fortunately for me, we had a Spanish speaking missionary with us and as the two began to converse, I began to wander off. When I eventually wandered back I noticed that my missionary friend and Dora had stopped conversing with each other and had begun to converse with God.
Wow. Is this how missionary work is done? Go to the market for some peanut butter and end up in prayer?
Well- that day, that is how missionary work was done.
Dora had wondered aloud what Marcus and I were doing there. When she found out we were Christians she opened up to Paula (missionary friend) that she was also a Christian. However, she had become frustrated in her faith because she did not feel "Touched by God".
Paula prayed with her, encouraged her to continue going to church, and invited her to a woman's Bible Study.
I left feeling frustrated with my lack of ability to understand and speak Spanish. What if Paula had not been with me? This woman had a spiritual need for encouragement that I could not have met. Is God really going to be able to use me in Ecuador?
I was at the Central market again today. I saw Dora from the corner of my eye.
"Did she see me?" "Maybe she didn't see me." "Maybe I should just leave before she DOES see me." And then- I knew that I NEEDED to say hello to Dora.
"Hola! Como esta" said Dora.
"Muy Bien. Y tu?" (At least I knew enough now to ask how she was)
And then came a string of Spanish.
"Uno momento". "HEY LUCINDA!" I yelled across the market (the people probably thought it was a just another crazy loud American)
Lucinda came over.
"Mi amiga nombre es Lucinda." I said.
I was hoping that Lucinda would help translate. But when Dora asked where my son was, I knew the answer. When she asked how many children I had and how old they were- I understood her and could answer.
In just a few days my ability to communicate has grown. So has my ability to make friends.
When my missionary friend Tanya came over I introduced her to Dora.
"Hola Tanya. Mi amiga es Dora."
And so- I am confident (even while being terribly unconfident) that God can use me in Ecuador. I speak like a two year old, but I have the Holy Spirit to give me boldness when I want to run away.
And you have a part in this. So many of you have supported us financially, and still others have been praying for us weekly, and even daily.
To you, I want to say...
Meet "Mi amiga Doro y ella ija Michelle) Meet my friend Dora and her daughter Michelle.
PS. My Spanish is really very terrible. I have written it here as I said it and thought it. I know that it is grammatically wrong, but I wanted to keep it intact without correcting it because my point is that God used it the way it was. Please keep praying for Dustan and me. Pray that our minds will be clear to understand and that we will have the energy to study and the courage to practice.
ray for Dora and her daughter Michelle that she will be able to get the Spiritual discipleship that she needs.
Pray for Paula and for Lucinda- two woman who have been an example to me in what I will call "Market-place Ministry".