Things have been going really terrific over the last few months. The family is really getting settled well and the ministry is really beginning to grow. There are so many opportunities coming our way. We need wisdom from the Lord to know what to get involved in and what to pass on. We are beginning to understand the verse “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” And so we pray asking the Lord to raise up more workers that can help us minister here in Ecuador since the needs are endless.
The chaplain work at the school is going well. There is so much need there that sometimes I don’t even know where to begin. I have been leading the chapel service for 5 of the grades each week. Last two weeks was vacation for the kids, but the teachers had workshops all during the first week, and so I had a great opportunity to share three messages with the teachers during that week. The new semester started today and the chaplain and I are trying to implement some new ideas of ways that we can begin to reach the older students.
I just started discipling an 18 year old guy named David who is part of a ministry here in Quito that works with former street kids. We only met once so far but it went really well. I will be meeting with him every Wednesday to mentor him and teach him the Word of God. Please keep him in your prayers. He has had such a hard life and it will take the power of the Word of God to break through the walls that have protected him for so long. He’s a really nice guy. I’m really looking forward to meeting with him weekly.
I have preached a few times in various places. Last week, I visited a church in Santo Domingo that is part of the training program. I shared a short message from Psalm 139 as it was their Tuesday Prayer and Testimony service. It was great to be able to fellowship and pray with them. The pastor was absolutely shocked when I told him that I drove 3 hours from Quito just to visit his church. So, I’m thankful for the time that I had to get to know his church a little more and for the opportunity to encourage the church. I also preached at a mission church in Calderón in a very poor community. This is a ministry that is part of our home church. It was great to share God’s Word with the simple people and pray that my teaching on John 1:29 ministered to their hearts.
Maria shared at a quarterly women’s conference in our church 2 weeks ago. She is really starting to get more involved in ministering to women in the church.
Last Friday and Saturday we spent in Otavalo ministering to the church there on Friday and then doing a children’s outreach at a nearby church on Saturday. Maria and the pastor’s wife shared with the women while Joselito shared with the men downstairs. It was a great time to be able to encourage the church there. Saturday, we drove 30 minutes further north to a little Quechua town called Taguali where we did an outreach for about 75 children in the community. It was a great time to connect with another church in Otavalo. I talked some with the pastor there and shared about the training center that we will soon be starting with Canaan Baptist Church in Otavalo. He is very excited to be part of the training. The church in Otavalo (Canaan Baptist) has received us with open arms and are hoping that we continue to get more involved. We hope to be starting a training site there in the next few months as soon as we have a partner church or churches in the U.S. They are super hungry to learn more of the Word of God. We will all be heading back again this Saturday since our mission director will be in town and I want to introduce him to the pastor there and have some time to talk about mission work there. Then I will return again on March 29th to preach in their Sunday morning service.
That’s just a brief snapshot as to what has been going on with us in the past month or so. Enjoy the pictures!
Visit from a missionary we haven’t seen since our missionary training 5 years ago.
Me with the two teachers (Tom on my right on Josh on the far left) with a couple from the church in Santo Domingo.
Tom Mercer of Christ Covenant Church teaching the group in Santo Domingo through the pastoral epistles
Jorge’s young students in training leading a children’s ministry at a new church plant in Quininde.
Me with Jorge and Tom as we get ready to minister in a new village.
Delicious tilapia lunch after spending some time with a couple from the church. I didn’t eat the head:)
What a blessing to meet up with our good missionary friend from our days in Haiti, Emory Wilson. He was in Quito for the week and we got to have dinner with him.
One of the churches in Santo Domingo where I visited and preached. This is Iglesia Galilea, a small store front church in the city.
This is the mission church in Calderón where I preached, which is a ministry of our home church. It was such a blessing to visit these sweet people and get to know them better. I definitely plan on returning.
Maria and Joselito’s wife, Anita, after our third Evangelism training workshop for the Sunday School teachers.
Maria sharing about specific evangelism methods.
Maria sharing at Iglesia Bautista Universitaria about specific evangelism methods.
Jorge teaching at the new church plant in Quininde.
A Quechua dance that the school in Pifo put on during one of the holidays.
So glad that my brother sent me his old Cannondale from the states so that I can get back in the saddle.
Replenishing after being out for my first mountain bike ride in 7 years. So pumped to be back on a bike!
This girl is too cute!!!!!
Anita sharing with the women of the church in Otavalo
Maria teaching the women at the church in Otavalo
Beautiful view outside the church in a new ministry site near Otavalo called Tanguali where we distributed gifts and ministered to the children and families.
Unloading Samaritan’s Purse gift boxes. We gave out about 80 boxes to some very happy children!
Maria sharing some counsel with a woman after teaching a group of Quechua women in Otavalo.
Joselito sharing with the men of the church in Otavalo about healthy and biblical discipline of children. It was a fantastic message!
My beautiful wife, and Reaching and Teaching missionary, Maria Whittaker!
Pastor Joselito leads the kids in some songs of worship.
Isabela poses after her and Belen did a few dances at the outreach.
Isabela, Belen, and Anita lead the group in some songs and dances.
Me teaching the children about the ultimate gift, salvation through Jesus Christ.
Me sharing the Word of God with the children.
Isabela handing out gifts to the children.
Pastor Raul of the church in Otavalo hands out gifts to the children.
Happy faces as the kids receive their gift boxes!
Isabela and her good friend Belen who is the daughter of Pastor Joselito and Anita, our ministry partners
The ladies prepared a Quichua snack for us after the outreach. Potatoes, habas, fresh cheese, and aji sauce. Que riquísimo!
Having breakfast before heading out to the ministry outreach.
Beautiful view in Otavalo!
Downtown Otavalo…a very charming little city.
Jake trying to put on his Woody doll cowboy hat. Such a silly boy!
Trying to stay warm inside our heaterless house!
Such a cute girl!
Isabela and Belen looking cute!
What is she up to with that face?
My handsome little boy!
I can’t believe how beautiful she keeps getting!
I definitely need to buy a gun!
So proud to be her Daddy!!!!
And this little one is just so adorable!!!
Stopping off on the way home from Otavalo for some famous biscochos. Yummy!!!!!
Quechua woman in Otavalo
We love Otavalo and plan to spend a lot of time here this year as the ministry grows.
Happy girl with her gift box.
Joselito teaches a song to one of the leaders of the church in Tanguali.
Quechua mom and child after receiving her gift box.
Quechua Dad and child.
Jake trying to look Quechua receiving his gift box:)
Quechua children pose for the camera.
A Quechua girl very happy after receiving her gift box.
Isabela serving the Lord with a happy heart!