Summer Review 2018

A Rodriguez Family Review

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This year we had an opportunity to visit Ecuador as a family. Our trip had a double purpose since we were able to visit Nancy’s extended family. The other reason for a visit was to explore what ministry opportunities there are available in Quito and the surrounding areas. We hoped to find some really good connections not only for ArtServe but also for our church, Cumberland Community Church. Our hopes were not disappointed as we connected with ministries and missionaries living there full time.

We were able to knit ourselves with the missionaries and the people, even for just a short while, and fully embrace our surroundings.

We visited with ministry teams, directors, and missionaries while gathering information to present to our missions ministry of our church. We mainly stayed in a small rural town, named Calacali. Not coincidentally, our lodging was a short walk from Nancy’s family. It was a retreat cabin run by a Christian couple from South Africa. We had such a wonderful time with them as well and it was such a comfort to Nancy, knowing that this couple lives near and frequently prays for the people that live in that area.

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We also spent some time in Otavalo, an indigenous artisan town. The native culture, crafts, and artistry is so strong and beautiful there. The highlight of our trip was toward the end when we went to Ibarra to visit missionary friends who are starting a small church. They invited us to do an art workshop in their community event. It was such a blessing to be able to share an art project that helped point people to the Gospel. The aim was for kids but since the mothers stayed to watch, we also included them.

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The Holy Spirit really touched the hearts of the mothers as they created a design on a metal cross while hearing the words, “You are his workmanship.”

As they covered that design with black paint, they agreed that we have a problem that covers up our original beauty, sin. When they received a paper towel and began wiping the black paint off their metal design they saw that the design could be seen more clearly. They understood, as they wiped of the black paint, that…

Jesus came to forgive our sin, that He alone can heal and make things beautiful again. There were tears and grateful hearts, open to the Gospel as we and several others began to pray with the mothers, while their children excitedly made more crosses.

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In the end, I think we came back changed..our hearts enlarged, our own children seeing the value of cross cultural ministry.  We are truly thankful for these opportunities made possible by supporters and summer art camps. Perhaps this will lead to future ministry and teams visiting Ecuador. We shall see!

~ Freedom and Nancy Rodriguez