Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ecuador Mission Team (Update)

August 22, 2016

This update is my last update for this missions trip. I was telling one of the team members today that I always get into a funk on this last full day of ministry. The reason has many aspects to it. Firstly, I am physically tired because I average less than five hours of sleep a night. Secondly, I am missing my family. Thirdly, I love these people of Tabacundo and do not wish to leave them. My life has been intertwined into their lives and it is difficult to leave them.
Well, here is the update. The ladies of the group had their own meeting with a lady who works in the market. The ladies said they had a good time and they received presents (which were just for ladies). Now, what you need to know is the men got sent out to go shopping for the Bible study we had tonight. Can you believe that? Men, shopping for bread, cups, tea, etc.? What is this world coming to? I kept telling the guys, “Guys, you know we are not going to get this right, don’t you?” Well, we shopped any way and got it done.
We left for Cayambe to get me some ICE CREAM!!! Can you believe I never made it to the center of the universe (not world, which is what Ecuador is known as) until the last full day of our trip to Ecuador? Some of our team went to meet a new individual and ride horses. The team did not get to meet the intended individual, but did get to meet another person. The team also did not get to ride horses, but only got to pet one. The individual intended for the visit was at the ER with the son. We don’t know the details, but please pray for this family. The other team had returned to the apartment and started cleaning it in order for us to depart tomorrow.
After the teams reunited we started preparing for the Bible study. 30 people told us they were going to attend the Bible study and because of the size we had made arrangements to hold the meeting in another place. To our surprise, only four people came. I do, however, believe the four people that attended were supposed to meet each other. In other words, two of the four people were a married couple and they are a part of the new church about which we have been telling you. In fact, the home group Bible study that our team attended last Friday is held in this couple’s house. The other two people exchanged contact information and we told the Bible study hosts to really encourage these other people to attend the Bible study.
The other part of the Bible study that was exciting for us was that our translators did all of the work. We did not lead this Bible study, rather, our precious translators did and they did a great job.
I now have to pack and then go to bed. Please pray we have safe travels home and we can’t wait to see our families, as well as, our church family. God bless you and again thank you for all your prayers and support.

August 21, 2016

I have gotten to speak brief testimonials in churches here in Ecuador before. Today, however, is the first time I have had the opportunity to preach an entire sermon. I preached at the church we have been talking with in regards to a partnership. I was truly blessed and honored by the opportunity and I pray my words encouraged this congregation. We had nine people with us with whom we have been ministering attend the service. I pray they will start attending on a regular basis.
We had one individual in the church service that we know is agnostic or atheistic. This individual came to lunch with us and the worship pastor of the church had the opportunity to speak with him regarding his belief system. Please pray for this person.
The afternoon was very slow and relaxing. In fact, I even got a nap and so did several others. As the afternoon progressed a group went out again and revisited with several people and invited them to our Bible study tomorrow night. The other group went up into the hills to meet with the president of the community in which we are trying to begin a work. Our meeting with him was just to say, “Hi,” and to confirm our meeting with the community counsel for our October trip.
When these two parts of the day ended we had supper and prepared for our evening meeting. This meeting was one I have been longing to have. It was a follow-up from the new believers from March’s trip. We had a chance to encourage them again and to hear some of God’s work in their lives. It was an amazing three hours and I wish it could have gone on longer. I have for some time thought this family would become our family of peace in Tabacundo. I still believe they will be. Please join us as we pray for the Lord to take them deeper in their walk with Him.
It is now 11:30 and we have a very full last day. Pray it goes well tomorrow, especially for the last Bible study. It is being held in the same place where the summer team showed the movie. Many, many people have told us they are coming. Please pray they actually do attend. Pray the believers are strengthened and pray for lost people to hear the gospel.
Thank you again for your prayers and support.

August 20, 2016 

Are you ready for this second sentence? It is very late, again! Today was our “free day” and we went to Otavalo and it was my first time on a Saturday. It is the traditional market but on SUPER steroids. It shuts down virtually every street and there are vendors covering the ENTIRE city. It was amazing. We had a lot of fun socializing and shopping.
We returned back to the apartment and split the group up again. One group went to La Esperanza and met with a family we had previously met in March. We are not certain this family is Christian yet, but they are definitely being drawn on by the Lord. I honestly can see them as being people of peace for La Esperanza.
The other group went out and followed-up with most of the people we have contacted this week. As they reported back this evening, their report was very positive and many of the people they met will be joining us tomorrow at church.
The first group left their La Esperanza meeting and went to a counseling session with a family for which we asked you to pray earlier in the week. It was a good meeting. They are being attacked by Satan and are in need of a lot of prayer, but some positive things were observed by our team. As a result, we feel comfortable calling tonight a success all around.
Tomorrow we have church and I have been asked to preach. So, please pray for me and our translator who will be working with me during the sermon. After church we have another full day of scheduled activities. Pray all goes well for the Lord’s glory.
Good night and again thank you for your partnership with us in prayer and in all of the many other ways in which you support us.
God bless.

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