It is the season of advent, when we anticipate the commemoration of the baby Jesus’ birth into the world. His appearing was miraculous, humble, and the start of a new covenant. It’s the holiday we call Christmas!
The advent story is filled with amazing happenings and interesting characters. Looming large is Mary, of course, John the Baptist, Joseph, Herod, the Wise Men (Magi), and more. We have Simeon, Zecharias, Anna, and the Shepherds. But we also have angels.
In 2013 I watched a movie called End of the Spear, about missionaries making first contact with the Stone Age Huaorani tribe of Ecuador not far from the Shell oil company corporate base in Shell-Mera Ecuador. It’s a good movie and I recommend it. The missionaries made the contact in 1956 in the Amazon basin. I got curious and looked up where Mera is, and it is only 5 miles from Puyo.
I was in Puyo, I was in the Amazon.
This is why I am so fascinated by Providence. Little did I know that the incident the modern movie depicts was in 1956 a famous event in Christianity- and still is. When the five missionaries who were killed by an aggressive tribe in the jungle in the middle of the last century in a different hemisphere, that a mere four decades later there I would be at that nearly exact place, sitting at a cafe on the main street unaware of my own lostness and need for those same missionaries who had arrived years before.
I was unaware and unaffected by the drama of courage and salvation that had taken place and had opened up so many hearts. And how Jesus knew that a few years after that, I would become one of His children, my very own heart He opened up to His grace.
He knew I’d come to understand the debt I owe to those missionaries who in the great relay race over centuries, kept the faith alive for all peoples and tribes and tongues to hear the words of life, the baton of belief passed from hand to hand and mouth to ear, so that one day I might partake of the great truth. All I knew back in 1996 was that there were too many Jesus statues in Puyo.
With a magnificence as great as His grace and the power of the Gospel word, we should rightly celebrate His work in the world in awe and in gratitude. Even on the days when you feel useless for Christ, know and understand that the seeds of faith are powerful and everything you do and say in His name adds to His tapestry of faith, and makes a difference. Providence is an amazing thing- because Jesus is always at work.
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