Let The Earth Hear!
The world cup has come and gone. Ecuador qualified for it for the 4th time in 6 recent tournaments. Although they did not advance past the group stage, they managed to capture world-wide attention. Throughout their time they were seen on and off the field offering "prayers to god". This is something that was also seen in 2014's World Cup. On the surface this would seem like a good thing. As believers we are encouraged by genuine public displays of faith in Jesus and especially when He is glorified before the world. But what do these players truly believe?
Most statistics will say that Ecuador is a predominantly Catholic country with an approximate 80% of the population classified as catholic. Although many churches and people in Ecuador carry the catholic name, their beliefs and practices would not be recognized, even by our catholic brothers and sisters here in the US. Much of what is know as Catholicism in Ecuador falls more under syncretism, (the blending and combining of different beliefs) adhering to animistic practices like the worship of Inti (the Incan Sun god) seen prominently during the annual Inti Raymi (sun festival) or mountain tribes whose beliefs are strongly tied to the mountains which sometimes are called mother and father and believed to provide fertility. Amongst the afro Ecuadorians you will find ancestral worship and voodoo practices from the Caribbean.
They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread - Deuteronomy 32:17
I look at the Ecuador National team and see that a large portion of their roster is made up of Afro Ecuadorians, the very people that God has called us to. I am reminded of exactly the environment we are preparing to move into - a community of people who believe they are worshiping god(s) and doing all that is required to gain his (their) favor; a community of people blinded and confused, believing evil is good; a community of people where less than 1% know Him. As the day of our departure for Ecuador draws closer, we are excited to proclaim the name of the Lord, the ONLY and True living God. He says "See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me". This is the God we proclaim to the nations.
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