I write this ministry update in the days following Thanksgiving. This year I was able to travel back to the United States to spend Thanksgiving with my family, a surprise visit for most of them. Soon I will be traveling back to Ecuador. After being at home with family, friends, and my church family, I feel encouraged, renewed and ready to return to Huaticocha, Ecuador.
Now that I am approaching the end of my home visit, I have been reflecting on the past two weeks and how much I have to be thankful for. I feel especially blessed to have been able to come home to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. I feel even more blessed to have been given a wonderful, loving and supportive family.
As I reflect on the past year, I have a lot more to be thankful for than just being able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. A year ago I was just beginning to raise support to travel to Ecuador to serve as a missionary with Inca Link. I was uncertain about how things were going to work out financially and was not looking forward to the support raising process. Now, looking back a year, I realize that I should have had more faith. If God were calling me to missions (which he was and is), he would provide. I ended up being blessed through the process and have come to realize just how generous God and his followers are.
I am very grateful for everyone who has partnered with me in my ministry in Ecuador financially and through prayer. Without the support system sending me out, I wouldn’t be able to go. I am also thankful for the Inca Link team I am a part of, especially Mark and Cheryl Shafer, Alvaro Valladares and Ulises Pineda, the four missionaries with whom I work in the Amazon Region of Ecuador. They are wonderful people who love God and have given up everything to serve him and bring the good news of Christ to those living without hope.
I am thankful to God for how I have seen him working and moving in the communities of the Amazon region of Ecuador. I have seen him working in the lives of Violeta and Alfredo, the leaders of a small church in the community of 12 de Febrero. After losing their youngest son in an accident in July, Violeta had to face a surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor in her uterus. God brought physical and emotional healing to both of them and his provision brought them through these difficult times.
God has been opening doors to new communities, areas where people suffer physically and spiritually. Many have a genuine desire to know him, and for that I am thankful.
I am thankful for God’s provision financially for the construction of the mission school in Huaticocha. God has put it on our hearts to train the indigenous youth to go out and share the life-transforming news of Christ with the hundreds, perhaps thousands of tiny communities scattered throughout the remote areas of this region of Ecuador.
We are now about half way completed with the construction of the mission school. For much of the project we were working with only enough finances to keep going for another week or two more. God always provided, though. Then this past month, we received news that several large offerings had come in. We should now have enough to finish the construction and are one step closer to receiving students and beginning classes in January of 2014.
We are still praying for more funds to be able to buy extra property for farming as much of the food for the missions school as possible, but I know God will provide for our needs through the generosity of his people. I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to serve our Creator and Lord as a messenger of his good news for humanity, the hope of life in Jesus Christ.
Although as I write this update, part of me feels somewhat melancholy because I know I will be leaving my family in the upcoming days to return to Ecuador, I am very thankful for what God has done this past year and excited to see what he does in the upcoming year. With joy and anticipation I will be returning to Ecuador.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. You have been an encouragement and blessing in my life. Dios les bendiga!
Jim Zoschg, Jr.