Friday, January 8, 2016

Ecuador Update Team #2 - Day 3, 4, 5, & 6

"I lift my eyes to the mountains where does my help come from? My help comes from The Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1
Today has been an extremely busy day for our team. One team went to a Bible study that we had planned this morning, but our friend was busy with customers. Of course, this was no accident, but once again, a divine appointment. We walked across the street to a barber shop and were able to share the gospel with a young man waiting on his friend to get a haircut. A seed has been planted in this young man's life and we pray that it takes root. 
The team split into 3 teams and headed to hand out flyers. We covered about 5 miles and handed out 150 flyers for tomorrow night's movie event. Pray that this community will show up and respond to the gospel, and lives will be changed!
After we handed out fliers, 1/2 of our team went to Paola's school where she teaches English. As the team arrived, they were able to speak with the administrators of the school, 2 adult men. The team was able to share why we are here, and the men began to ask many spiritual questions. They were very hungry and asked us to come back and share more with them. One stated that his wife was a believer but he was not. The team had to leave that meeting to speak with the class. In class, the students asked questions and the team was able to share the gospel through their questions. This was such an uplifting experience for us!!! After class, the head administrator asked that we continue to come to the school and share with BOTH the students and the adults! He even said, "this is your home." Praise the Lord for open doors!
The other 1/2 of the team stayed at the apartment and Chip led a bible study and 11 of our Ecuadorian friends showed up. We talked about how hard times will come, and temptation will hit us, but The Lord will fight for us and if we stay in his word, pray every day, and fellowship with other believers, with his help, we will be victorious. The conversation turned to Romans 10:9-13, and the gospel was presented. We are certain that several here were not believers. More seeds planted. 
There were a few other bible studies today. People here are hungry and they want to learn more. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. This is a photo taken before our bible study tonight.

"Porque de tal manera amó Dios el mundo que ha dado su hijo unigénito para que todo aquel que en él cree no se pierda más tenga vida eterna." 
Juan 3:16
Another full day in the books here in the city we love, Tabacundo. This morning we started out with an amazing devotion and prayer time and Miguel, our translator, shared his testimony with the team. We left feeling refreshed and renewed. We split teams again and one team headed out to Bible study with Maria and Hilda. We studied Matthew 28:19-20 and the parable of the seeds with them and encouraged them to share their faith with others. 
Another team stayed and popped popcorn for tonight's movie and then set out to visit Marta in the market and she wasn't there, however, her son was. Of course we didn't leave without sharing the gospel with him. He was receptive, but insisted he'd already received Christ, even though he gave us the "good person" answer. 
After these two appointments, we handed out fliers when, by no accident, we met a young lady named Maria. She had no idea that hell existed. We were able to share with her and have an appointment to visit her again on Thursday. She is very open to the message of Christ. We gave her a Bible, please pray for her as we continue to share. 
The team met up at the apartment and prepared for the evening events. We split up again. One team went to Paola's class and one team went to show the movie War Room.
The team at the school was able to share the gospel with 25 students. We answered many of their questions about what we shared. Several students were extremely interested. We ran out of time and Paola will be following up with them. *These were not the same students that the team was able to share with last night.
The movie night was fantastic! We had 42 people attend the movie and once it was over, no one moved. Several people stuck around and we prayed with many of them. Please lift up Rosio who is struggling with a broken marriage. She is a very broken woman. 
Your prayers are being answered here! We can feel the Holy Spirit empowering us each time we share. Thank you all so much!
"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." 
Philippians 1:3-6
I can't begin to express to you all how in tune this team's hearts have been. We have functioned as one, and each and every member of this team has shared their testimony and shared the gospel of Christ. I'm so thankful to our Lord for orchestrating every step of this journey so far. 
Today our team was able to get out and experience some Ecuadorian culture. We purchased some souvenirs for those at home holding things down. We were also able to visit Peguche Waterfall in Otavalo. We were once again in awe of the beauty of the Lord's creation. We serve an amazing Creator! 
While we were in the market, we met Juan, a fellow believer. It was a sweet time of fellowship with a brother in Christ. We also had a chance to share with a man whom we've visited before who used to live in Miami. 
We are ending the day with a surprise birthday celebration for our beautiful Ecuadorian friend and partner in His work here, Paola. We're so grateful that the Lord put her in our path. 
Continue to pray as we enter our last two days of ministry here. We have another big movie night scheduled for Friday night. Also, pray for our team as saying goodbye to our friends is never easy.

"This is the day The Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!" 
Psalm 118:24
I'm in tears as I type out today's update. The team walked back into the apartment tonight and we all agreed that today's update should be called, "Best Day Ever!"
Our morning started off with a visit from 2 young ladies. One of them accepted Christ on a previous trip. She brought a friend to the apartment this morning. The same friend was at our Bible study Monday night. She was also at the movie on Tuesday night and asked to come by this morning to ask some questions. Well, those questions led to Lorena trusting Jesus as her savior! Praise The Lord!!! Our entire team was in tears. And this was the start to our day. 
The next appointment was with a young woman named Maria. If you'll remember yesterday, she was the woman we encountered on the street who didn't know hell existed. Well, after some discussion and sharing the truth of the cross with her, she also accepted Christ!!! Number two of the day, again, a team in tears and praising our Lord. 
Some team members had Bible study with Hilda, who is a new believer and very hungry for the word. We encouraged her to share with others. And she asked about baptism, so we shared some scriptures with her and left her some to read and pray over. I see a baptism in her future!
As that team came back to the apartment, Ronald, a young man team 1 met last week, had brought his friend, Paul, by the apartment. And guess what? Paul accepted Christ too!! Our God is so good. 
All this happened before 3:00. We headed to Cayambe to hand out fliers for our last movie night tomorrow night. We passed out 100 fliers. Pray that there will be a great turnout tomorrow. After handing out fliers, we had a dinner prepared for us by Jhoe's mom. We laughed so hard, and cried so hard, and shared the best time of fellowship with a family here that has truly become a part of our family. 
Many other divine appointments happened today and this week. Please come to our share night. Although I must warn you, this team is on fire and may talk for a while. 
We love you all and we appreciate your prayers and support. Tomorrow will be so bittersweet. Sweet because we know God will be faithful and we will see more wonderful things. And because we are loo

Monday, January 4, 2016

Ecuador Update Team #2 - Day 1 & 2

Day 1:
First of all, our team wants to thank everyone for their prayers. We are very tired and your prayers and encouragement, and strength from The Holy Spirit have kept us going today. As we wind down our first full day here, our hearts are very full as The Lord has answered several prayer requests that have been on our hearts over the past several months. 
First thing this morning, our team split into four groups. Bruce, Laina, and Paola went to visit Estela who has been in the hospital with gall stones. She is not a believer but her sister trusted Christ on a previous trip. Please be in prayer that she will come to salvation in Christ, and that her gall stone surgery will be successful. 
Olga, Julia, and Heather went to Maria's for a Bible study. When we arrived, Maria had chosen some scripture she wanted us to study with her. It was about........tithing. She has a heart that desires to give her best to Him. We were able to read scriptures with her and teach her how to give a tithe and what an offering is. During this meeting, we found out that her husband trusted Jesus just yesterday when her pastor came to visit! Praise The Lord!! Be praying for her and for his growth as a new believer.
Jane and Carmita went out and invited several people to a Bible study at our apartment tonight. We had 9 of our Ecuadorian friends at our Bible study and had a sweet time of study with them. Bruce spoke about the importance of assembling ourselves with other believers. One of our friends who had been waiting to be baptized, Guillermo, has been baptized in church here. Another praise report!
We were also able to visit with an old friend and eat some of her delicious empanadas! We thought about you Scott
As always, our calendar is filling up very quickly and we are excited for opportunities to share His love. 
Praise Him for what He's been doing in the lives of His people, and for their faith in action even in our absence, which is our ultimate goal. Pray for strength and encouragement for our very weary team. We are looking forward to a beautiful morning of worship tomorrow. -Julia Roberts

Day 2 Update:
Buenas noches! 
"Pure and undefined religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress..."James 1:27 
Day 2 was extremely busy! Our team started off the morning by dividing up to worship at 2 of the local churches. Both messages centered around following Christ in this new year. We are so thankful to be starting our year off in Ecuador sharing His plan of salvation! 
After church, we went to the market in Cayambe and purchased some food for the elderly people that Paola is ministering to. I just want to say that what we saw today can never be unseen. This heart of mine was moved to tears. These people have nothing. I'd heard stories from the previous teams about our friends Pedro, Amelia, Maria, and Jose, but I'm telling you that you just can't fully grasp the gravity of the situation until you've experienced it. We brought them chicken and they began to eat immediately. I don't believe I've ever seen a human this hungry. We also purchased some goods that they will be able to cook in the future. The picture below is our friend Pedro. He said today he believes he's about 100 years old. Please be in prayer for Paola as she continues this much needed ministry. 
This evening, we enjoyed a night of worship at Mt. Zion Baptist Church with many of our oldest and closest friends here in Ecuador. It was so heartwarming to see many of their beautiful smiles.
Our calendar continues to fill up and we are squeezing in every opportunity we can to share the gospel. Pray for us as tomorrow will really kick things into high gear. Our first team leaves at 6:30 in the morning for our first appointment, and things get busier from there. We thank you all for your prayers, believe me, they are felt! Keep them coming! -Julia Roberts

Our Sunday School lesson today was about missionaries and traveling to tell people about Jesus, so we talked about our ministry in Ecuador and prayed for the team in Tabacundo right now. "All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name." 
-Psalm 86:9 -Bridgette Cook (FBC Bowling Green) 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Ecuador Mission Team Update (Day 4, 5, & 6) & Welcome Team #2

Day 4 Update 

This morning during devotion we had a rock hit the window (our door bell here in Ecuador). And a young man that some team members met at the park the other day. Long story short Seth gave him a Bible and he loves it. He does know Jesus but has not been baptized. This may be in the near future. This young man has an amazing testimony. He went with us to a church in another town to pass out flyers for another movie night at this church. Great fellowship with the pastor and his family as we split into 4 different teams to hand out flyers. This evening we had a visit from a special friend who wanted prayer. God is working and I could keep going but ask the team members for more info. Keep praying the people here are super nice and God is moving here. -Matt Warren 

Day 5 Update 
Go out into the highways and lanes and make them come in, so that my house may be full.
Walking is great exercise, and we do a lot of it while we are here. One of the team members is able to track the approximate amount of walking that we have been doing this week. The total so far is just under 50 miles!!

The C3 (Carrying Christ to Cayambe) event was very well attended tonight including some first and second-timers! Praise!!
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. 
Feliz Año Nuevo!!!
Tonight, people all over the world are celebrating a new year! Our tradition in the U.S. is to make resolutions. Here many build and stuff a monigote (picture a life-size scarecrow) that resembles you. Next, you identify the words and actions that you regret or want to stop, write and display them on a sign with the monigote. At midnight you set them on fire! 
May we all bring more glory to the Lord in 2016 than any year in the past!!
Keep praying! -Janice Durance 

Day 6 Update 
Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters...
Water has received quite a bit of attention since we have been here! There were many times we would have liked to have given it even more attention if we had any!! The skies have been very clear this week, but it has also been quite windy. The land could use a good soaking rain. 
Of course one of the greatest uses for water is in baptism! Tonight we were privileged to witness this act of obedience! What a great way to end our week together!
Galatians 6:9 So we must not grow weary of doing good.
I'm so thankful that this verse does not mean we are not to get tired WHILE doing good, because I think I am as tired as I have ever been after a week here. However, I'm thankful for every hour of lost sleep and tired bone!
"I delight myself in you! I'm overwhelmed by you.
We will be welcoming the other group in a couple hours. As they unload their bags, we will be loading ours and heading home. My prayer is that I will be willing to spend myself for the Lord at home! 
Thank you to any and all who remembered us and said a prayer! - Janice Durance 

Well the last day for me here in Ecuador. But no better way to end it than with baptizing new brothers in Christ. Praise God for the vision of Bowling Green Baptist. Thanks for allowing me to study and be a part of your strategy. The biggest thing I learned is that it is about building relationships trust and respect while the Gospel is introduced to them. The biggest amazement to me is walking down the street here and every 10 minutes someone recognizes the team
It is like walking in the streets in Wauchula, they have built a huge relationship with these people. All the Glory to God in the powerful name of Jesus. -Matt Warren 

Team #2 Arrives
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." 
Psalm 46:10 NIV
- As I send off the 2nd child to another country to share His love, I was reminded by a sweet friend to "Be still & know"
The momma in me is overwhelmed, but the believer in me is rejoicing like crazy !!!!!
I don't deserve these blessings, but I praise and thank Him daily for them. I also can't wait to see a picture of my 2 babies together in Ecuador for the 1st time ever!!!!!!!! 
Laina Durrance & Seth we love you more than you can imagine. Be safe & know we are praying daily for what God has in store for you, the teams & the Ecuadorians. -Michelle Durance