Ax Head in the River
We are growing here at Pra del Tor! From the time that we first arrived, our dream has been to provide a place where young people could prepare to be medical missionaries. We wanted to offer them an atmosphere where they could come in contact more easily with the Fountain of true wisdom through nature and His Word, away from the bustle of the cities and the false system of education. We have had a few youth come and stay with us over the years, one or two at a time; but our training center never expanded into anything larger, no matter how we tried. And so, busying ourselves with the farm and other projects, we accepted that it must not be God’s will for this place.
Now we are beginning to see that the Lord has His time for everything. Those years of solitude as a family prepared us to fulfill the work that our Heavenly Father had in mind for us! Our own children have grown into adolescents who can now help shoulder the work and, most importantly, be a living testimony of God’s true education.
People ask us how we screen the young people that come, or what is our selection process to make sure we don’t accept youth who will do more harm than good, and negatively influence the others. To be honest, we leave that up to the Lord. We simply pray and ask His will in the matter. We have set up guidelines for the young people’s stay at the farm, and so far, the “troublemakers” and those who aren’t interested in following our standards have left of their own accord within a week. We want to remain a family and not turn into an institution, so we bring the young people into our home and treat them as our children with the same correction, encouragement and privileges. They all have responsibilities in the work schedule, classes, outreach, etc. God is blessing!
One recent Sabbath afternoon, I went walking with my youth (all eleven of them) and three young people from the surrounding area. We set off to a village about half an hour from us, enjoying the vigorous exercise and the cool breeze. Along the way we stopped at some small wood houses and called out to the children playing underneath. At first, they all ran and hid, peeking shyly from behind sacks of dried corn and piles of bricks. However, when we started to sing about the wise man and the foolish man, showing them all the actions and hand motions, the children ventured out. Before long, they were right in the middle of everything. They shrieked with delight when we told the story and sang the song about David and Goliath, especially since my son Caleb, the tallest of the group, demonstrated the part of the big, gruff Goliath, complete with his swaying and tumbling to the ground.
As I continued with the story of Jonah, I noticed some of the adults in the house sitting near the upper windows, pretending not to be interested. Then, when I lowered my voice in the story, they leaned closer to the windows, trying to hear.
We told numerous Bible stories and sang a song about each. Then we said our goodbyes and started towards home. “Are you coming next Sabbath?” a frail little girl shouted as she waved from the stairway.
One of the young ladies turned to me with teary eyes. “I’ve never had such a happy Sabbath in my whole life as a Seventh-day Adventist.” This young woman, age 18, comes from the capital city of Quito. Initially, she was quite reluctant to come live with us, but she came for “three months” to accompany her younger sister who was eager to come. Now the older sister doesn’t want to leave, even though her relatives and friends are begging her to come home for a visit. Instead, she is trying to learn everything she can, with the hope that that she, with the help of her sister and parents, will be able to start another “school of the prophets” in the countryside outside Quito. Like us, she wants to see many more places that can receive and educate young people!
Our spirits are willing and committed to this special work, but we do have physical challenges! Right now many more honest young people want to come than we have room for. It reminds me of the school of the prophets in the time of Elisha and how the place where the young people lived with the prophet was too small. They all got together to cut wood to build a bigger room, but one young man’s borrowed ax head fell into the Jordan River. The poor young man was beside himself to know what to do. All he could see before him was impossibility and embarrassment; yet God worked a miracle for that young man. We can only imagine the happy ending: a whole group of joyful young people in their new dwelling, training to serve as “sons of the prophets.”
We feel at times like our ax head has fallen into the river, and there seems to be no way to advance. As Pra del Tor expands, we need more bedrooms, bathrooms, transportation, utensils, tools—the list can go on and on like the deep waters of the Jordan. Oh how we need the faith to cast that stick upon the waters and expect a miracle!
Please pray for our ministry and these dedicated young people who are preparing to turn Ecuador and many other countries upside down as they are touched by the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. Let us finish the work and go home; we have been here too long already.
Early this year we started another mass distribution of The Great Controversy in Ecuador. Over 7,000 books will go to all businesses and government offices. The young people will all be involved in this work. We will keep you posted as the work progresses. Maranatha!
By Laurie Orellana. firstname.lastname@example.org. Support for Pra del Tor may be sent through Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058, marked “Ecuador.” To donate online, visit www.missionspro.org.