Making a New Way: Out of the Shadows

SHE WAS A SMALL, HUDDLED FIGURE at the side of the room. I didn't notice her at first. I was visiting a small Quechua Indian village perched high in the Andean mountains of Ecuador to learn more about the human needs and the development work being attempted in this poor community.

The men of the village were doing all the talking, while the women maintained their distance from the visiting strangers. As I listened I became aware of the woman sitting silently on the dirty floor against the wall, holding her baby who was tightly wrapped in a colorful blanket. Around her were four other young children, the boys dressed in the traditional woven red ponchos and the girls with brightly embroidered blouses and black felt skirts reaching to their bare dirty feet.

I found myself wondering about this Quechua woman. What would the gospel of Jesus Christ mean in her life? Would she hear it as good news? Or would the gospel only give her hope of heaven and leave her daily existence untouched?

I decided to interrupt the reports being given me by the men of the community and asked if I could talk with the woman by the wall. The men's first response was, "What woman?" as if there were no woman in the room.

I answered, "That one, right there."

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