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the Bible teaching ministry of Sam Gordon

Guinea pig for lunch

Guinea pig for lunch. Ever had it? If you haven’t, you don’t know what you’re missing! The Quichua of the snow capped Andes call it cuy. I remember the first time I had it, I prayed! ‘Lord, I’ll get it down, if you keep it down!’

Seriously though, if that doesn’t make your taste buds tingle, what about roast monkey garnished with rice and yucca for dinner (that’s a delicacy favoured by the Shuar Indians of the Amazon jungle), or wild rat cooked in coconut milk for supper (a speciality enjoyed by the small community of indigenous folk three hours up-river in Santo Domingo de Onzole)? Such are the gastronomic delights (and challenges) of rural life in Ecuador in the third millennium.

There’s a lot more to Ecuador than cuisine. There’s a rich cultural heritage, and what an enriching experience that is. Stunningly beautiful scenery. The climate is a pot pourri of all things to all men – from the sultry humidity of the Pacific coast to the rarefied air of the majestic Andes mountains to the tropical feel of the Amazon rain-forest – it’s all there in one relatively small country.

I hasten to add, it’s not all sunshine in this equatorial land. There are problems, huge problems, not least of which is corruption. Personal security features high on the agenda of the average citizen of Quito, the capital city. There are well-armed guards everywhere, even outside McDonald’s. To be honest with you, I had to think twice before walking downtown on my own after dark.

To me, though, Ecuador is all about people. People of all shapes and sizes. People who are young and not so young. People from every walk of life and embracing every strata of society. People with different colours of skin. People from a diverse mix of ethnic backgrounds. Real people. Ordinary people. People who desperately need the Lord. People who passionately love the Lord.

I believe that’s where missionary radio comes into sharp focus. Through the wonders of modern technology combined with the blessing of God, this is a ministry which touches hearts and transforms lives. It effectively reaches a business couple residing in comparative luxury in the leafy suburbs of Quito and, on precisely the same wavelength, it impacts the lives of men and women who are struggling to eke out a living in a shanty town in the inner city.

It works! It really does! I’ve seen it with my own eyes ... that says all that needs to be said regarding the unbelievable power of Word of God.

Here’s one scenario: travel ten hours overnight by bus in a north-westerly direction from Quito into Esmeraldas province, it’s adjacent to the Pacific coast and it straddles the border with Colombia. Literally, at the end of a pot-holed road, jump off at Borbon for a quick coffee and whatever else you might fancy for breakfast, get yourself acclimatised to the sweltering muggy atmosphere, step into a motorised dugout canoe for a three hour trip upriver to a scattered community of people. You suddenly realise, these folk are different, they look different. The plain fact is, such a strange anomaly can easily be explained by a quirk of history.

There’s no electricity, no running water. Actually, there’s not much there, period. What I did find, however, was a vibrant worshipping fellowship of the Lord’s people. What a thrill and privilege to open up the Bible to them! They couldn’t get enough of it, they wanted more and more, and even then, they still wanted more! The truth is, eighteen months ago, there was no ‘church’ like this. That was, until a young man went in and told his own people about the Lord Jesus.

The good news is, they’re not standing still. They’re going on with the Lord and growing in grace. How? Well, one evening I was in a home when I heard a crackling noise in the corner; through the flickering light of a candle I saw a handful of people listening to God’s word on a wind-up radio! It was worth it, just for that!

And, when all is said and done, it doesn’t really matter what they have for lunch!