Prosperity Found in God, Not Tourism
by Rachel | Misahualli, Ecuador
When is the heart softened and formed in daily life? When one opens the soul wide enough to give and receive the immense joys of community living, it is then that the heart is perfected and transformed in His love and mercy. Deeply desiring to give witness to the transforming love of the Gospel, the FMC missionaries who live in Sinchi Warmi, a community tucked into the jungle along the outskirts of Misahualli, Ecuador, are already seeing many low hanging fruits, giving their sweetness back into God’s economy, after only having arrived eights months ago, in January.
Growing Roots in Sinchi Warmi
Upon arrival in Ecuador, Team Misahualli was eager to see the home the Lord had in mind for us. Led by the Holy Spirit to the community of Sinchi Warmi, which in Kichwa means “Strong Woman”, we gave our resounding YES to God’s call to simple living and settled into our rustic cabana, complete with bamboo walls and a grass roof!
The vision and goal of this Ecolodge for tourists is that by hard-work and desire to share the Kichwa culture with others, nine families would have a means to better their lives through the business of tourism. The families that work hard for the success of Sinchi Warmi broke ground on building the main Cabaña in 2009 and have never looked back. Now in addition to the main cabana there are four personal Cabañas, a Kichwa Museum, and much more in the community of Sinchi. Though the future is bright for business, it has yet to really pick up and provide adequately for the families.
Why did God send missionaries to this tiny little community? Remembering that FMC missionaries are initiators, going where others are not and doing what others are not doing, our team of girls listened to the Lord’s call to animate the community in their faith, and also to animate the greater community of Misahualli. What great joy has been reborn in this place through the true friendships already made and the many memories already shared!
The Low Hanging Fruits
The Lord witnesses His joy, love and mercy to these beautiful people through the simple lives of three young women each morning as the sounds of community prayer radiate from the mission house down into the wash area, out into the soccer field. When meals are shared together as a community, as we travel together as a team, the Lord is glorified for all to see. Saint John Paul II says in Mission of the Redeemer, “Even before activity, mission means witness and a way of life that shines out to others” (38). And so He has shared His love in this place since day one, and to testify to this incredible truth Betty, the leader of the project and community, wanted to share this testimony with the FMC community:
“I give thanks to God sending missionaries here to share the Word of God with us, to animate us in our faith! We are drawing nearer to God now, more than we ever have. We always thought of God first in the beginning of our project, building this place, these cabañas. Then it got harder, and we fell away from going to daily Mass and praying rosaries as a community. We fell away from the Lord. We couldn’t drive all the projects: our families, Sinchi Warmi, our faith. I kept fighting and trying for our communities’ faith, but the other 8 families didn’t share the same fire I had for God.
But now with your help, let’s go and fulfill this mission with the Lord! Let’s finish this project, this dream with the Lord at our side! I can feel that the prayer group we have every Wednesday is drawing us closer to Him. All this work is for the Lord! We can’t do everything all the time, but at least we can give thanks to God for everything all the time. I am so thankful for you, Candice, and Lauren, our work, and my family. Amen.”
Through the resounding truths of Betty’s inspiring testimony, it is clear that prosperity is not found in tourism, it is found in our GOD. What a witness Sinchi Warmi is for all of the communities alike in the area seeking similar work but not seeking the Lord first in their lives.
May each one of us root deeper in our hearts this earnest truth that our prosperity is never found in the things of this world, “…for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18b