Amigos in the Holy Spirit
The people of Baños, Ecuador are accustomed to outsiders coming and going. Their city, located at the northern foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, is a popular tourist destination.
The pandemic has been especially hard on them. Their businesses have been affected, and many haven’t been to church in months.
The Waldrop and Peña families, who are part of the next class of FMC missionaries, attended language school in Baños earlier this year. While they were there, the Holy Spirit led them to foster friendships with the people they met day-after-day, to learn about their stories, and to pray with and for them.
Many of these people live hidden lives, working humble jobs in service of tourists. But the missionary families wanted them to know that they were not hidden to them or to God.
It started with a man named John Paul whom the Waldrops met while shopping for a toy for one of their kids. He asked the normal questions about what they were doing there and how long they were staying. Then he offered to give them a tour of the city. The families were expecting a tour on foot, but when they met him the next day, he gave them a ride on a little train with Scripture verses painted on each car. This sparked a conversation and a new friendship.
After that, Angie Waldrop and Kree Peña were inspired not only to strike up conversation with the locals they encountered each day but to return often to talk with them and to pray for them in their needs. They asked if they could share the prayer intentions with others so that they could have an army of friends praying for them.
Here Angie and Kree introduce us to some of the friends they met and the needs they shared. Please join us in praying for them today.
This is Elias. He is from Venezuela and has a wonderful little restaurant that serves arepas (a Venezuelan snack made from corn flour). They’re delicious! Elias would like prayers for his business and for continued perseverance during the hard times.
Meet Patricia. This sweet lady and her family own a small general store that was close to our casa. When we passed by we always received a kind greeting and extreme patience as we tried to communicate in our broken Spanish.
Please pray for Patricia’s dad who has been in a hospital located in another city for two months with stomach issues. Even though there have been difficult days for her, she still trusts and confirms that Dios es bueno TODO el tiempo (God is good ALL the time). What a great inspiration for us!
Meet Elizabeth and Nicoli! They were our neighbors from the top floor of our casa. Every time we were with them, they would help us with our Spanish. We helped Nicoli with his English and taught him how to play street hockey with brooms!
Elizabeth works as a massage therapist for a spa in town. They often travel an hour away to her parent’s farm. They both are extremely joyful, humble, and always happy to speak to us. I told her that my favorite soup in Baños was locro de papa (potato soup), and she offered to make it for us before we left. When I asked her what she wanted us to pray for, she said “first tell me how I can pray for you.” She asked for us to pray for the health of her and her family and for her work to continue to grow.
Meet Gina, who owns a laundromat in Baños! Emmanuel [Peña] was amazing (as always) and washed most of our laundry by hand. At times it rained too much and our clothes wouldn’t dry, so they just piled up. Emmanuel would take them to the nearby laundromat that Gina owns.
Please please lift her up in your prayers. Six months prior her husband, Roberto, died from Covid. And recently her brother-in-law died from the virus. She has lost several friends and family members and is struggling. She would like prayers for her health and an end to the virus. Emmanuel would like to add prayers for her peace.
Meet Stalyn and Martha. They manage two gift shops in the center of Baños. We would usually look around, tell our kids to not touch anything breakable (multiple times and sometimes with raised voices), and pick up a few postcards. They were always so patient and kind to us! We could honestly have a small basic conversation with them in Spanish!
Their son was recently Confirmed! They LOVE our Lord and truly care for all His creation! They ask for prayers for their health as they work with the public and prayers for the whole world’s health—not just physical, but mental and spiritual as well. Please also pray for their son as he continues his faith journey.
It is not only in Baños—or any foreign city—that God calls people to holy encounters. There are amigos in the Holy Spirit awaiting us wherever we are. As we approach the great celebration of Pentecost, let us ask the Holy Spirit if there is someone one our path He might be calling us to befriend this week. Who might be needing a word of encouragement and prayers, or just someone to remind them that they are seen?
O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your Will.
– Prayer by Cardinal Mercier