A whisper leads to sustenance: One humble outreach in Ecuador
They had just finished talking about Elijah listening for God’s voice, which came in a whisper. They asked, "if God were to speak to us in a whisper today, would we hear it? Or are we too distracted; too busy?"
Ismael and Amy are celebrating one year with their Communitas church plant in Guayaquil, Ecuador in June of 2019. Their church does not have a designated pastor; it does not have a dedicated church building. It might not be what many believers recognize as church save one thing— the people.
One particular Sunday during the meal preparation, two people began talking. It seems they had both been hearing that whisper, telling them there was something missing. Once they were all seated around the table, one of them said,
“we had this idea… what do you think about maybe taking some bread and going into the downtown area where there are a lot of people living on the streets…”
The question about taking bread to the homeless was quickly answered: “Yeah! We should make sandwiches! That way it’s not just bread, but some meat and cheese too.” Then someone else said, “We should take something to drink also, maybe some juice.”
This conversation was a moment Ismael and Amy had been hoping and praying for—when this community of believers would suggest they begin to do something more than just meet together . . . and that the group’s response would be a resounding, “Yes!”
And so a ministry of feeding the homeless began. Once a month this church has ventured downtown with food to serve “the least of these.”
A few months later, a flood of text messages nearly cancelled the outing. Much of the group planning to bring some ingredients could not come after all. The group debated: Change to a more limited menu with limited group members, or not go at all? In the end, they decided not to be discouraged.
Once downtown, Amy mentioned trying to find the same people they had served before. She remembered there was an area where about eight homeless people had gathered. The church group walked and walked, serving other homeless along the way before they came to the place they sought.
What they saw differed from last time. There were about twenty people on one street and nine on the other. Upon the group’s arrival, some people started to stand up. Some started to wake their friends who were already sleeping. The church group began handing out sandwiches and pouring cups of hot chocolate as quickly as they could. Many of the homeless seemed very hungry.
And then, one man said, "We've been waiting for you. We haven't eaten. We were praying for food.”
They were praying for food.
As the body of Christ, we believe that God would have sent food with someone else if this group had decided not to go out that night. But through their service, they had the opportunity to bless others and to be blessed themselves!
“It was both humbling and thrilling to be able to share what we had with others who were waiting expectantly for God to show up,” Amy said. “They had prayed for food, and food came! What a privilege it was to be the ones to deliver it.”
This is the kind of quiet, humble, but amazing thing that happens time and again when the church thinks, cares, and acts like Jesus.
“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”