Dear IBC Church family,
“Finally!” is probably what you all are thinking. 😉
Well, unlike the Japan Team who is in technology-ville, we haven’t had a chance to get to an internet cafe until today. So, I have been chosen (self-appointed) to give an update… (wish you were here Mark to do this!)
We arrived safely to Quito, Ecuador on Friday afternoon and were welcomed by members of Good Samaritan Church in our own large bus. We traveled about 2 hours out to Guachala where the church family prepared us a home cooked dinner. They have been cooking us 3 square meals at the church daily… lots of yummy soups (Jen, I’ve been trying to get the recipes and pictures of each one!).
We have been divided mostly into groups of 2 for our homestays. The church family has shown us so much hospitality and hearts of service by welcoming us into their homes, making us feel at home, getting up early to cook for us and serve us daily. It is truly humbling to see them give us so much in abundance.
We are appreciating the comfort of a hot shower these days as we all had to learn how to “turn on” the hot water at our homestays. We were all ashmaed to ask for hot water in case they didn’t have any. So families laughed at us that we took cold showers for 2 days. I, for one, am very happy to have learned how to get hot water to come out! Actually, room temperature water is just fine. 😉
VBS started on Monday and we can really see that we have learned from our experience last year. The adjustments we have made in terms of the teaching time and activities have helped tremendously. We started with 45+ kids attending the first day and by yesterday (Day 3), we were already at 85+ kids, which is the number we reached on the LAST day of VBS last year! So we are grateful that God has allowed more children to come out and we pray more continue to come out this week.
Something new we are implementing this year is trying to get contact information for each child so that the church can do follow-up with families afterwards; something we didn’t focus on last year. So we pray this will help reach out to the children and families after the VBS.
Pastor Dave has taught on the attributes of God on Saturday night and it was a good time of learning for the congregation as well as for us. They enjoyed his stories and imitations of Bruce Lee just as much as you all did at IBC!! He also taught on Sunday morning and will teach again this coming Saturday night. Please pray for him as he prepares to preach the Word to the people of Good Samaritan Church and for those who come out–that they will learn, grow and be convicted by the Gospel.
Our team had been doing well until yesterday when 3 of our members got hit with stomach problems. Please pray for Tamara, Frank and Matt. They are doing better today but are still feeling a little weak. Dave also was not feeling well but is much better these past 2 days. Also please pray for Cesar as he has a zit/pimple in a uncomfortable location… He’s having trouble sitting! Hahaha. (FYI:He asked me to actually say this)
Apart from physical ailments, the team has been doing very well. The Lord has blessed us in abundance and we have been able to work well together despite such a large group. We can see how God provides the gifts and talents we need from each member.
The Good Samaritan Church continues to do well. They continue to express their gratitude for our ministry to them and the VBS. There is one child about 10yrs old that continues to come out to church without his family since VBS last year. We are very encouraged by this as well. Please pray for him–his name is Andres and he has been with us everyday at the church and I can see the changes in his behavior since last year.
The church continues with about the same number of members who come out. It seems that apart from the major families that comprise the church, families will come and go and come back again over periods of time. Please pray for the members of the church–for their faithfulness to the local body. Also please pray for pastor Jose who continues to work 2 jobs, as well as lead the church–for physical strength, for his personal spiritual walk that he might continue to faitfhfully preach the Word to this area. We have seen that there are a lot of unreached people in the area.
The church has started in recent months to do evangelism door-to-door. Initially, there was a lot of rejection and indifference especailly since the area has been weary of Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons doing door-to-door evangelism as well. But they continue prayerfully and have shared that slowly they are able to enter homes and share the gospel and invite people to church. Please pray for this ministry for them as well.
This is all I can pull together in such a short time before going back to town. Excuse the typos as this keyboard has the letters painted on with white-out I believe! Thank you for your continued prayers…
The Ecuador Team