This week we had the joy of spending time with a pastor and his family from Guayaquil who came up to enjoy some family time away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We have ministered together with this family several times in the past few years in programing and running retreats for their ministry in Monte Sinai (a very underprivileged area of Guayaquil). We always have a great time together and seem to feed off of each other’s excitement and ministry visions. This weekend was much the same as we talked, envisioned, shared resources and planned together. But, being the multitaskers that we are, we did these vision sessions while we diligently worked to clean and freeze an immense amount of mora berries (24 pounds) that they had purchased here in Pallatanga. While we worked and talked we ate berries, yummy, super sweet mora berries.
Several hours into the job and when the basket did not seem to be getting any smaller, we decided to go ahead and make some pies. It was the pies that brought us back to reality! You see, after several hours of eating fresh berries while talking non stop, the pies were done fresh coffee made and both families were sitting around the table with forks in hand when Ivonne cut the steaming hot pie to serve. It was only then that we noticed the little white worms thoroughly cooked and laying on the top surface of the pie. Between bouts of giggles and moans of disgust about what we had just spent the last few hours eating, we quickly began to pick off the little dead creatures. And all the while, the two families were still gathered at the table, forks in hand and anxiously awaiting their piece of piping hot mora pie. AND the coffee was fresh.
Why am I telling you this? Well, as I picked dead worms off the top of our beautiful, fresh pies I was thinking about how this seems to happen all too often in our lives and especially in the ministry. Ya know, when things are simply good and God is tangibly present. When fellowship is sweet and uplifting and joy is palatable. And then, little worms float to the top. Sometimes those worms are in the guise of gossip or backbiting. Sometimes they are bad choices that people have made or hearts that seek to divide instead of unite. Sometimes the worms are big and obnoxiously complicated but most times they are little, nagging issues that we must pick out and take care of. But the worms are always there. We do not get to choose which worms will be there or when they will pop up. We do however, get to choose how we will deal with them and whether or not we will allow them to steal our joy and ruin the whole pie!
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12
I should also mention that we also hosted a weekend retreat for a small youth group (53 people) from Guayaquil this weekend. They were a super easy group that enjoyed the camp and all of its perks. If you’d like to see a little glimpse of their time you can check out our facebook page Campamento Evangelico de Pallatanga.