This was a second marriage for both Ronald and Vanessa. While Ronald had two kids from his previous marriage, Vanessa’s hope for a child was in the balance. The personal and relational stress eventually caused Vanessa to turn toward God. She accepted an invitation from a friend to attend church. Here, both Vanessa and Ronald got relief from their struggle with infertility and pain as Vanessa finally became pregnant.
But the ‘God of religion’ was only a temporary stop. He became a placebo—a placeholder until their son Alejandro was born. Soon after, Ronald and Vanessa drifted back to a self-centered world of medicine and making do. For the Ayala family, God was something they ‘knew of,’ like knowing about the casualty of war without ever losing a loved-one to it. They had gotten what they needed from Him.
Fast forward several years, and another invitation to church came their way. This time, it came through some friends of their son Alejandro. To keep him happy, they accepted the invitation and began attending the Puembo Church. Alejandro took to it quickly. His excitement kept Ronald and Vanessa engaged. Soon after, Ronald and Vanessa went to the church’s Marriage Encounter retreat.
Over the weekend, they experienced selfless love and service embodying the gospel. People they barely knew were loving them, serving them, being authentic with them, and expecting nothing in return. No career advancement or personal gain. No accolades or awards. It was grace, God’s grace. Here, both Ronald and Vanessa fell into the selfless, transforming, saving love of Jesus. God was no longer a subject to be acquainted with, but a Father who can be intimately known.
Since meeting Jesus, Ronald and Vanessa now use their careers and family to give back. Expecting nothing in return, they serve and give their time to medical brigades led by the Puembo Church. And you’ll find them at the next Marriage Encounter retreat—loving, serving, and expecting nothing in return.
Selfless love is something we all long for. Ronald and Vanessa did not find it in a medical journal or successful medical careers. They found it in Jesus. And having received it in fullness, they now give it away freely.
The generosity of CMI friends is changing lives and marriages with the gospel through churches impacting cities like Quito, Ecuador, for Christ.