Thursday, July 14, 2011

Missions Within Missions

Last week I was able to join John Rosado and Rafael Molineros on a trip to Milagro de Dios and La Concordia, 2 places in the coastal region of Ecuador. It was a great week.

Monday, July 1st, John and I traveled by various buses from Pifo to Milagro de Dios, a tiny village way out in the middle of nowhere. The only running water there is the river across the road, so we bathed there. Thankfully they do have electricity. John and I walked around visiting people, and inviting them to a Bible study we were going to hold at a neighbor's house. That night however, when we went to the neighbor's to have the study, there was no one home! So we returned to the Pacheco family house where we were staying. There I led the study in 1 John 5. It was a good time. The family is growing spiritually, little by little. We spent the night there and Tuesday we stayed until mid afternoon. Then we headed out to La Union, the closest town on the main road. We hitched a ride in the back of an old rusty mazda pickup truck. It took about a half hour or so I think.

From La Union we took a bus to La Concordia. I think that was about half an hour as well. Maybe less, I'm not sure. There we stayed at John's grandmother's house with his cousin. Each night from Tuesday until Friday John, Rafael, and I took turns leading a Bible study in the book of James. That was also a great time. Rafael met us there late that Tuesday night. He had been staying with some friends in Santo Domingo, about an hour I think from La Concordia.

Over the past couple weeks, John and Rafael had been going to the local schools where the opportunity had risen to share the gospel with kids from every grade. God truly opens doors. So that Wednesday we continued in the high school about a 5 minute walk from where we were staying. Rafael is part of the Open Air Campaigners group here in Ecuador, so he is skilled in evangelism through paintings. If you haven't seen an example I encourage you to check it out. It is a very effective tool that really captivates the kids' attention. The hook Rafael used was 'values.' He asked some questions like, what are values? and what are some examples of values? He then continued with a sort of game. he had numbers 1-36 painted on his board, and he cleverly went from talking about moral values to numerical values. His main point was that values never change.

Next, Rafael would continue by talking about Christian values. He talked about the emptiness in man and the futility of trying to fill that void with things of the world. Then he went on to explain the Gospel. After each meeting, a few kids showed interest and asked questions.

That Wednesday, one young guy wanted to talk to Rafael so they set up a meeting for 2:30. They talked and were gone for over 2 hours. Rafael later told us that the boy was struggling with homosexual tendencies and wanted some help. The kid had talked to the guidance counselor at school about it but she told him it was normal!!! What a foolish world we live in! It's not normal at all! I believe the boy was saved, but very confused. Rafael helped clear things up for him.

Wednesday and Thursday we did the same thing. The session was held 3 times each morning. We planned to return Friday, but they were having a sports day instead, so one of the grades didn't get to attend the presentation. We were able to talk with many teens, answer questions, and we discovered a few Christians, some also with problems. One girl talked to us afterward and confessed that she was finding it hard to be separate from the world. We talked to her and shared Bible verses and she left.

Friday afternoon we held a kids club at John's grandmother's house. We had about 7 show up. We played some games, John did a Bible lesson, and the kids colored and had a snack afterwards. We had also invited the teens to come later in the afternoon to have a youth group, but no one showed up, sadly. Rafael had to leave Friday afternoon. That night I led the Bible study in James chapter 2. Saturday morning, John and I returned to Pifo.

Each night we went to the park where there is a volleyball court, a turf soccer field, and a basketball court. The first night we played volleyball with some men that we met there that night. Thursday we played basketball with some other people we met, and Friday we played basketball again with some young people. During those nights we were also able to talk to people about who we are and what we were doing.

It was a really great week full of opportunities and blessings. John plans to continue working in Milagro de Dios and La Concordia as much as he can. The next few weeks will be very busy here with 3 VBS's and Camp, so the work in the coast will have to wait. I was encouraged to hear that at John's grandmother's, his relatives had continued the study of James without us. Pray for their spiritual growth, and pray that the Gospel will be shared in all of La Concordia. Pray also for the spiritual growth of those in Milagro de Dios. Pray for the young people in both areas, that they will seek the Lord first, and be separate from the world. The temptations are strong for them, and it is difficult. Pray also for the spiritual leaders, all over Ecuador. Pray for missionaries, pray that the Lord will send more laborers, and as you pray, be willing to go. Thank you for your prayers.

Luke 10:2

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