Ecuador (MNN) — Grandparents serving as full-time missionaries need a little help. Graham and Sharon Nichols serve with The Mission Society in Quito, Ecuador. Sharon says they’re about to transition their ministry to a coastal village.
“Our biggest challenge right now is: we don’t have anywhere to live!” says Sharon Nichols. “Our pastor is helping us, but we need people to pray for discernment, that we go and live where God would have us to live, and not this vision that we have.”
And, the Nichol’s need a little help filling their house, once they find one.
“It’s just like starting over again. We have to have furniture, we have to have appliances,” says Sharon.
“More than that, we need to have cooking utensils and pots and pans to serve the people that we are called to serve. We see children’s ministry [as] not only feeding their minds and their hearts on the Lord Jesus Christ, but their tummies as well.”
Graham and Sharon have been living in Quito, Ecuador since 2011, learning the Spanish language and Ecuadorean culture. Now that their formal training is complete, they feel the Lord calling them to serve in Ecuador’s coastal regions.
“We have traveled to different parts with the United Methodist Church just to discern where God can best use us,” says Sharon.
Part of their travels led them to a coastal village in Santo Domingo, where they met a pastor overseeing three different churches. Realizing the man was stretched to his limits, Graham and Sharon felt compelled to help in whatever ways they could.
“It is a great joy to know that this is a place where He can use us for the Kingdom,” notes Sharon.
The decision didn’t come without frustration, though. The Nichols spent years learning the Spanish language, only to learn that the indigenous people in Ecuador’s coastal region don’t speak Spanish.
“What God is doing in us, in the process, is turning it back over to Him and letting Him do the work in us,” explains Sharon. Instead of bitterness, “We’re just full of this great joy.
“God just opened our hearts to these people. We just feel incredibly loved, incredibly wanted, incredibly needed.”
The Nichols have a “full plate” when it comes to their ministries. Along with their work in children’s ministry, they help lead discipleship groups, music ministry, teach ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, and host short-term mission teams.
“To be quite honest with you, we felt like we were called to a different country,” Sharon says, reflecting on the journey she and Graham have begun.
“But when you get out of the way and let God do the working in your life, and set the premise before you, He opens your eyes to the people that need you.”
Pray for patience for the Nichols as they transition from Quito to the coastal region. Pray for discernment as they search for a home. Pray that they will receive the financial help they need to purchase supplies and a ministry vehicle.
“My husband is the saint amongst this couple; he very much depends upon the Lord for all things,” shares Sharon. “I do as well, but I need to learn to get out of the way more and to just let God lead us in the path that He would have us to go.”