We spent a few days in “El Oriente”, the part of Ecuador known for it’s beautiful plants and animals. The rain forest. It was a beautiful experience and my family soaked in God’s beauty and the rest He granted us.
While there, we met an indigenous man named Jóse. Jóse’s first language was Quichewa and he lived in a small village that he pointed out to us as he guided us on a four hour walk through the jungle.
As we crested a hill before entering the jungle, you could just see the roofs of the house, and see the smoke curing into the sky.
“That is my village.” Jóse pointed out. “I am sorrowed for it because a deal has been made with China to seek oil on this land.”
I looked around with horror. This was beautiful land. It was humbling to imagine God speaking it into existence with just a few words. “Trees. Sky. Mountains. People.” He said, and this place rose from the earth, an artistic testimony to God’s awesome power. I had never seen anything like it (and I hadn’t even entered the jungle yet).
My heart began to mourn with him. I know what happens after the search for oil. The beauty would disappear and be left spoiled.
“When this is gone,” he asked, “How will my people eat?”
And it hit me. I was as bad as Jonah. I was worried more about a plant (or in my case, a whole LOT of plants) while this man was worried more about his people.
So I told him this: “Jóse, Christians love this land too. It is our God who made it, and even more, they love the people who live here. I will tell them so we can pray for your home, and for your people, that they will have plenty to eat.”
Later, after I arrived back in Loja, the conversation stayed with me and as I mulled it over, I realized that my mistake did not stop with sorrowing after land without thinking of the people who would go hungry.
My mistake continued on by forgetting that physical hunger is not the worst kind.
“How will me people eat?” He had asked. And I responded that I and my friends would pray for food.
I wish I had told him that I would pray for both kinds of food. That God would continue to provide for his stomach, and that He would send a missionary, whether it be a national, or foreigner to teach scriptures.
But, I didn’t tell him that. My eyes were blinded first by the beauty of creation, and then secondly by raw physical need. It’s a common mistake, but eternally deadly.
So, I ask this request of you. Will you join me in praying for the following three things:
That God protects the land around a small village named “Siente de Julio” and that the Quichewa people that live there would have plenty to eat.
That God would send a missionary to this village to teach scripture.
Would you ask God is that person He is calling to this people group, is you? Because God is calling someone. He is not leaving this group of people hopeless to hear the gospel, and maybe, YOU are who He is calling.