The month of April has seemed like a blur to us because of many things going on in the ministry. We are thankful for what the Lord has allowed us to be part of here in Ecuador. We see more and more the truth of Jesus’ words when He said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. This is the case here in Ecuador. There are so many opportunities to bring the Gospel to the people, and so we pray that the Lord will indeed raise up more laborers that can work along side of us in this great work that He has called us to. April was really busy, but things are going to get even more busy in the next few months as we have a lot of things going on such as evangelism crusades, pastoral training teams, mission teams, etc. May the Lord give us the strength to work hard for His glory and the wisdom to maintain balance so that we remain healthy as a family as well as ministers.
The chaplain work at the school in Pifo continues to grow. Thankfully, there is now an intern from our church who is helping out a few days a week at the school. The head chaplain and I have begun to do some more one on one counseling with those students who are experiencing problems at school. I pray that the Lord uses these moments to connect with the hearts of these kids and be able to bring them the truth of the Gospel. It is a blessing as well as often times a huge challenge to speak to these groups of students week after week and share with them the precious truths of the Gospel. Sometimes the students seem to listen attentively and other times there are those who really could care less what I’m saying. But, even as I sometimes tell the crowd that seems very disruptive, if there is even one person in the group who is listening and desires to know God, then it is worth it and I will continue to proclaim His truth.
Two weeks ago, one of the RTIM missionaries from the home office was here in Ecuador to learn about the ministry that we have here and then to help with a pastoral training team in the south. So, the first week was spent taking him around to all the different places where we are ministering here in the north so that he could get an understanding of what the Lord is doing here. We spent most of the week on the road traveling to our different ministry sites in the north. Then the following week we both flew to the southern part of the country to help with the pastoral training program in Tambo. First, we flew to Guayaquil to spend a day with another new RTIM missionary who was in Ecuador to scout out a possible place of service in the south. After that, we met up with the team from the states who were flying into Guayaquil and then took a four hour bus ride almost at midnight through the mountains to reach the training center in Tambo. I had already been really sick with a bad stomach bug and so the four hour bus ride through the mountains just about did me in. It took me a few days to fully recuperate. So, the team spent the week in Tambo teaching the pastors and leaders there about worship. It was a great week. This was the last of the three year training program for this group of students and so there was a graduation ceremony on the last day. They were super excited to receive their certificates. I was not there because I only stayed until Tuesday before flying back to Quito. I did not want to spend the whole week there since next week I will be away from home again for a week as we have our first training program starting in Otavalo. So, I spent the rest of the week just relaxing with family and recuperating some of my health since I had been sick earlier.
This past Sunday, I was invited to speak about the Reaching and Teaching ministry at a church in Ibarra which is about 30 minutes north of Otavalo. So, we all headed up there early Sunday morning. We had a good time worshiping with the people there and afterwards I had the opportunity to share in more detail with the leaders about the ministry and the new training center that we are starting in Otavalo.
Tomorrow, Maria will be speaking again to the staff of an orphanage here in Quito that has invited her to come once a month to share with the staff about the Word of God. Maria also gave a workshop last week at an all night prayer vigil at our church. The workshop was about how to follow up with a new believer. They asked her to do this since our church is having a huge evangelism crusade in two weeks. So, during the all night vigil they had various people doing workshops. Thankfully, Maria’s slot was only from 10:30PM – 11:30PM, therefore we were able to get home close to midnight.
This Saturday the team arrives that will be ministering in Otavalo. We are very excited to see this new pastoral training program get under way. I will be up there the whole week with the team. I will be preaching on Sunday morning to get things started off. Please pray for our time there throughout the week. The team will consist of three guys from a partner church in Pennsylvania. They will be teaching throughout the week on Old Testament Survey. I think I’m going to come back mid-week and bring Maria and the kids back with me for the rest of the week so that we can be together and also so that Maria can have opportunity to minister to some of the women in the church in Otavalo.
The Lord is good and He is certainly doing a lot of things in our lives. Personally, the Lord has me in a season of bringing to light some things that have been in the darkness for a long time that have been like a slow cancer eating away at my soul. He has drawn me with cords of lovingkindness which has led me to expose the deep places of my heart to Him as well as to some trusted others. He is really doing a deep work in my heart and I feel like I am coming to know and experience His love and mercy like never before.
Our family is doing well and continuing to adjust and get settled in to life in South America. We love it here even though daily life has its many challenges. We pray that the Lord begins to grow our team so that we can develop a little community of RTIM missionaries who live and work together for the glory of God.