“…and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” Luke 10:1b NIV
Beloved Prayer Partners,
First, thanks to each of you who have been following and praying for the second Luke 10 Exploration Trip to Ecuador. I am excited to share the first part of the trip with you all.
Our team of six that included Jerry Clarkson from NWYM, Grace Anderson from NWYM, Jose Olivas from Mexico YM, Jael from Coahuila Friends Mexico North YM, Edwin, and I arrived in the city of Quito Ecuador on Tuesday, June 6.
Jimmy and His Family in Quito
Our trip began as a blessing to an Ecuadorian family and to us. We were welcomed and picked up from the airport by our friend Jimmy, whom we meet and who was our driver on the first trip last year and with whom Edwin kept in touch afterward. Jimmy is also the owner of a small modest hotel located in downtown of the city of Quito managed by his whole family, his wife and his three children. So, this time we decided to stay at their little hotel for a couple of nights before traveling to the jungle. Jimmy and his family were very grateful saying that it was a blessing to have us. Jimmy and his family are not yet Christians but have family who have exposed them to the Gospel. Edwin had several good opportunities to have conversations with Jimmy about having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jimmy and his wife told us that a few days before our arrival, the wife received extortion threats by phone and their hearts did not feel at peace. Before our team departed, they asked us to pray for them, and they were even more grateful. It was a great opportunity that we felt came from God to be a blessing and testimony to this beautiful family.
From Quito, we traveled to Macas, a city that is surrounded by Shuar people. There already exist several Christian ministries, but few that are really focused on reaching the Shuar. One of the main purposes of coming to Macas was to have meetings with people we considered key to the development of the Friends’ ministry among the Shuar. One of these people is Pastor Dario, who is the director of AMEE, which by its acronym in Spanish stands for Ecuadorian Evangelical Missionary Alliance. One of the functions of this non-denominational organization is to help missionaries, who have been called to serve in Ecuador, obtain their visas to be legally in the country and have legal coverage so they can develop their ministries. Another key person with whom we planned to have more contact and conversations with is missionary Pastor Patricio León. He has many years of experience working with the Shuar people and he has a heart for the rescue and restoration of Shuar children. He now has a role in helping to plant more churches and helping those that need motivation and leadership development. Patricio is very willing to mentor those who want to serve as new missionaries among the Shuar. We are greatly grateful for these valuable contacts that God allows us to have.
After last year’s trip, Jerry maintained contact with evangelical leaders from a Shuar community called Nantar located deep in the Amazon jungle. These leaders said that the need for discipleship and leadership training is huge and that we were welcome to return to teach more about the Word of God. Jerry since then had a strong feeling to return with teachings for a few days. So, we returned to Nantar! Other leaders from other Shuar communities were invited, who came every night for a week to learn, some walked a couple of hours to get from their community to Nantar. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and worship with our Shuar brothers and sister. It was a beautiful experience to hear them praise and sing to the Lord in their own dialect.
Exploring other towns.
During our stay in Macas, we asked Pastor Patricio what other places he would recommend we visit to learn more about the area and its needs. He gave us a list of several places. Our team ended up exploring a beautiful place called Limon, where walking through the plaza we found very kind people with whom we were able to talk and they gave us information about the cost of living, what are the sources of work and income for people and informed us about the communities of Shuar and Ashuar that are around. More and more we realize that God shows us that the need is plentiful there
Jose, Jael, and Grace
We are thankful for the three young, brave ones who went on this trip with us and who are staying in Ecuador with Jerry Clarkson until August 2. José Olivas is seriously looking to return for a long-term stay, to serve the Lord among the Shuar people. José is a leader serving in the Amigos church in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. So serious is the feeling of his call that just before this trip, he left his job of seven years and he is in the process to apply for a visa to return to Ecuador, God willing, at the end of this year. Jael Ayala is the daughter of the pastors of the Friends Church in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila, Mexico, and she is currently studying at a Bible college preparing to serve the Lord wherever he sends her. Grace Anderson is a brave girl from NWYM exploring her call to missions. Edwin and I were very happy to have this time with them and to see their desire to be obedient to God’s call. God bless their hearts.
EFM Missions Mobilizer