The Ariels are discipling a nation

Nate and Tara Ariel left town last fall. They packed as much as the airlines allow, boarded a plane with their seven children, and moved to Bocachica. That’s an island off the coast of Cartagena, a beautiful port city in Colombia, South America. The Ariels don’t live in the beautiful port city; they live on an island that is a 30-minute boat ride off the coast. There’s no running water on the island, so bucket showers are the order of the day. Drinking water for non-natives, like the Ariels, has to be brought by boat from the mainland. There is electricity there. Sometimes. Most of the houses have dirt floors and no bathrooms. That’s why the early morning trek to “the hill” is necessary. You either do your business behind the hill or out in the ocean. One of the main reasons missionaries come to the Proyecto Libertad mission is to build latrines and pour concrete floors for as many as they can. The Ariel family went to Bocachica to serve the Lord for the rest of their lives. It’s just been a few months, but the impact one family has had there is astounding.
Their children already have dozens of friends. Spanish is quickly becoming their second language, with love being their first. Besides playing soccer and kickball with the children, they chase iguanas, work hard at serving the mission, and keep visiting missionaries entertained with their giggles and pranks.
Tara picked up right where she left off, already earning a reputation on the island as a woman who loves her husband and is ready to help him accomplish his calling. She loves to bake and has won the hearts of many Bocachican ladies with her sweet gifts. Tara is also an encourager of the young ladies who come from Germany to serve in the mission.
Nate was known around Burlington as a hard worker and a straight shooter. You didn’t ask Nate what he thought unless you wanted to hear the truth. He also made no empty promises; he simply delivered. In the Bocachica community, Nate has risen quickly to earn the respect of the men, especially the day laborers. They admire his skill; Nate can do nearly anything with his hands, especially if he is working with brick or block. They also appreciate his acceptance: Nate could not care less about skin color or socioeconomic status. He just wants to know if you are willing to work hard and if you are teachable. Those qualities are rare everywhere, and Bocachica is no exception. Jobs are hard to come by on the island, so men who have a good work ethic have found a friend and an employer in Nate Ariel.
Not only that, Nate is teaching the men how to be good fathers. One of his employees sells ice cream on the island when he is not working with Nate. Nate said to him recently, “Why don’t you take your son with you, and let him help you in your business?” That thought had never occurred to the man, nor to anyone else on the island. Relationships between fathers and sons are strained there with much neglect and sometimes abusive. This man took Nate’s advice and found a working partner and a friend in his son that he never knew he could have.
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” How do you do that? One child at a time. One wife and mother at a time. One husband and father at a time. The Ariels are discipling a nation. How about you?

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