Nov 2020 – Newsletter

Thankfulness in the midst of uncertainty 

Thanksgiving greetings to all our family and friends. At the writing of this greeting I am reminded that about this time last year we all began to hear of this virus that was developing in a distant land far away. I don’t think any of us believed that it would become a pandemic. With that in mind it has changed our whole manner of life. I was thinking this morning of what would be my description of what being thankful looks like this year. Many of you I know have had a really difficult year. But in spite of how bad this year may have been God is still God and that alone is enough for us to give Him thanks. 

Many people have asked if Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in Ecuador. The short answer is no. Few countries in the world set aside a day to give God thanks for what he has done. I was reminded the other day that the celebration of Thanksgiving Day is a holiday that originated in United States at a time of great strife and troubled times. The president at the time was Abraham Lincoln and he made the following proclamation. 

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the

blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added. . .No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens, And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony , tranquility and Union.”

President Abraham Lincoln

Daina and I have so much to be thankful for. In March when we could not return to Ecuador we really did not know what to do but God had a plan. In the midst of this our worship leader, friend and youth leader Erick succumbed to colorectal cancer. He went home to be with the Lord while we were in the US. We couldn’t even be with him to say goodbye. We were devastated because this was not how we thought things would go.  But God was still in control as He always is. We had the generous gift from a great member of our support team loan us a car for as long as we needed it. A now new members of our support team loaned us their basement apartment for as long as we needed. God has always provided for us and has never failed us. 

Later in August Kevin came down with COVID-19. He, Esther and James all contracted the virus but Kevin had it so bad he had to be hospitalized. Fortunately because even in the middle of this God still had a plan and was in control as He always is. Kevin spent 5 days in the hospital and 3 of those days in critical condition. Because of prayer partners like each of you and many others around the world God heard those prayers and Kevin, Esther and James all recovered. Daina and I have not contracted COVID-19 and we give thanks to God for that. We have done a lot of traveling this year and God continues to keep us healthy. All praise and thanks to God. 

As Daina and I returned home to Ecuador we encountered a very different place than we left. Schools as they are in many places are not meeting in person. So we don’t see very many children on the streets. Many business have closed due to the lack of business. We started meeting in person for worship services but very few are coming for two reasons. Having our doors closed for seven months didn’t help and folks became accustomed to watch a message online instead of in person. The other is there is still the fear that someone could get the virus at a gathering. Both semi valid reasons but it is very disheartening to know where we were as a ministry and church and to be almost at ground zero.But praise and thanks to God that He is willing to start a new the ministry at Door of Hope again.

Being confident this very thing, that He who begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.   Philippians 1:6   

For the first time in our married life Daina and I are not spending Thanksgiving together. Daina is in Ecuador and I am in Reno, NV. I flew back a week ago to help my in laws. My father in law is in the hospital battling with the side effects of chemotherapy. He is fighting his second battle with lung cancer. The first was managed with a laser surgery but this time the required treatment was chemotherapy. Anyway I came back to help them as he tries to transition to home care. He is still in the hospital but should be transferring to a VA rehabilitation center where he will receive the occupational therapy he needs to come home. All praise and thanks to God for providing the care needed in this situation.

All in all I would have to say this year has been a tough one and for many more it’s been a devastating year. But we live in a fallen world and there is a lot of evil out there. Remember there is always something for us to give thanks to God. Even if we are in want or plenty, even if we are with shelter or without, even if we are sick or healthy. We still need to Give Thanks to God from whom all blessings flow. Thank you all for being so faithful with your giving and your prayers. We thank God for each one of you.

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with Thanksgiving. Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God and the great King above all gods. Psalm 95:1-3

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