No one, I am convinced, will follow Jesus very long without tribulation. It is His way of demonstrating His presence.
-K.P. Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions
We hear the words of Christ echo throughout the corridors of history:“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We follow the one who has all authority in heaven and Earth and who has promised that he is with us always!
As we walk with Christ through the good and bad in life we walk with confidence that he is with us. In the good times we delight in his blessings, when tribulation defines our path we rest assured that his presence makes all things bearable.
Although we constantly give thanks to him in the good times, we draw close to him during hardships of life.
When we look forward in life we often see only confusion, a path not clear, full of terrifying obstacles. When we pause and look back we see exactly how Christ lead us through difficult situations in the past. Likewise, when we face tribulation, we can take courage that he has always made his presence known in the past and will certainly walk with us in every situation, even to the end of the age.
May we be filled with a clear sense of His companionship today! May our tribulation be defined not by our suffering but by His presence.
We invite you on a journey into the countryside of Cayambe. We will have to leave the smooth road and the small Pueblos and use the cobblestone less traveled. Imagine, we drive along the bumpy road past the eucalyptus trees, and alongside a small rio. We encounter several large rose plantations every once in a while catching a glimpse of the beautiful plants with tall straight stems reaching up to the Equatorial sun. After a while we cross the rio and begin our ascent up a steep and winding road. We pass the ancient aqueduct build by the Incas and still in use today. We eventually we pass the tree line and see picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Our 4×4 finally claws its way over the crest of the mountain. In the valley that unfolds below we see a large church building, that is our destination.
It is breathtaking, as we step out of our vehicle, partly because the temperature is 20 degrees cooler on the mountain as compared to the valley. But perhaps the real reason is our breath has been stolen by the altitude. The Cangahua congregation that we were visiting worships at an elevation of 10,768 feet above sea level. To put it into perspective we are well above the tallest peak in the Appalachian mountains, Mount Mitchell which has an elevation of 6,684 feet.
We had been invited to an evangelistic outreach event held by the Mt. of Olives church in Cangahua, Ecuador.
Cangahua is the oldest rural district in the Cayambe canton. It is located in the wasteland between the inactive Pambamarca volcano, and the active Cayambe volcano. The church building sets nearly on the Equator.
Our brothers and sisters are serving Christ in a largely indigenous community with rural values. In the community there are also many who still celebrate the Sun or Inti Raymi. Each June 29 and 30th the Sun is celebrated in the city square.
Pastor Luis and the church very much love the community and are brilliant lights for the Gospel among the 16,000 people within the church’s reach.
The outreach service we were invited to began at 7:00 pm and ended at 1:15 am. It was full of great singing, powerful preaching and wonderful fellowship.
Pastor Luis is an excellent preacher and tought homiletics at our seminary but instead of preaching to the assembled crowd he invited a lady pastor from a sister congregation to give the message. She preached the best sermon over 1 John 4 that I have ever heard.
God is moving in Cangahua and has invited whomsoever will to believe in His Son and enter into eternal life!
Most Christians would like to send their recruits to Bible college for five years. I would like to send them to hell for five minutes. That would do more than anything else to prepare them for a lifetime of compassionate ministry. -William Booth
There are three very important realizations that each follower of Christ has. The first is when we realize just who we are in contrast to our Holy God. This is when we realize our sinfulness and desperate need for Salvation. We usually have this realization just before we become Christians. The second realization is the ghastly reality that there is a Hell and the natural human condition leads us there. At this realization we are usually driven to make sure our friends and family know of Christ’s salvation. The third realization is that we are called to do something about the horrible reality that multitudes of people step out of this lost and dying world each day without seeking salvation from the consequences of their sin. These multitudes have no hope. They will spend Eternity in Hell.
The hope that each Christian experiences when we begin following is the very same hope that we are to proclaim to the world! Every Christian is called to make known the Good News! Every Christian can take motivation from the ghastly reality of Hell, the sad destiny of mankind and the hope that only the Words of Jesus can offer!
May we be quick to realize that the very hope that we hold dear is the only hope for the multitudes of lost and dying souls. May we be even quicker to share the hope that we have!
The rain was pounding on the windshield as our Toyota rolled to a stop. It was the kind of rain that gave promises of ending soon. If we had arrived a couple of minutes later we would have been able to walk into the home without getting soaked. We paused for a moment hoping the rain would cease but we were drawn to the faces filled with expectation crowding in the doorway. We opened the doors of the SUV and made a run for it. The sensation of cool rain alighting on our skin was drowned out by the wonderful smell of Pollo Seco cooking from inside the home.
When we entered the Santa Elena home we were quickly made comfortable and handed a delicious plate of food. We had a great time of fellowship as we discussed this new work that is nearly a year old.
Last year the pastors of the Carapungo Church in Quito responded to a burden that they had for the people of Santa Elena, a small town near Nanegelito. They Evangelized the area and a lady opened her home so that the new group of believers could meet. The Carapungo Church sends their pastors every other Saturday to develop the work. From time to time the entire church goes for a special service. Each visit takes a day. They begin traveling at 8:00 in the morning and return to Quito at 8:00 in the evening.
Pastor Orlando spoke in glowing terms of the growth and potential of this new work. After we shared a meal we walked the neighborhood and dreamt about reaching each family in the area and what it would take to build a permeate church building.
After our walk the church gathered to worship through song and the hearing the Word of God. Brother Orlando preached an excellent sermon and invited the new believers to be baptized. The Carapungo Church is planing a baptism service and they want the new work to be involved too.
The Church in Ecuador keeps growing under the leadership of the Holy Spirit! We are honored to walk alongside of our friends here and we are Joyful for your support! Your encouragement, prayers and donations keep us in Ecuador! Thank you for helping us stay on our mission path.
Have you ever considered how important food was in the ministry of Jesus? We see that the context of many of Christ’s interactions involved food. What does our Holy God incarnate have in common with sinners? Food. And the good news is that the table of Christ is always expanding!
In this cultural insight we explore the difference between North American cuisine and that of Ecuador. We just scratch the surface of this topic but we are willing to do the in-depth research to dive deeper on an upcoming episode!
Have Asians rejected Christ? Not really. In most cases they have rejected only the trappings of Western culture that have fastened themselves onto the Gospel.
-K.P. Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions
The work of missionaries is particularly essential to the Church. Not simply becuase every Christian is commanded into missions through the great commission in some way but becuase of the inheritant smelting of the Gospel message as it travels into new cultures. We who are missionaries can not afford to give a Gospel wrapped up in our home culture no matter how wonderful our home culture might be. We dare not give even aspects of our home culture in place of the Gospel or perhaps more commonly in addition to the Gospel. It is impartive that we separate the trappings of our culture and deliver only the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only His message contain the Words of Life!
The words of Christ reach people in every culture, they even fundamentally change cultures but only when we give the words of Christ unwrapped from the message of our culture.
Friend, if you are a believer in Christ you are a believer because you heard the words of Christ. Let us carefully read the Bible and consistently breathe the Words of life into our lost and dying world!
May we do the hard work of objectivity looking at the Gospel and then at our culture and follow the Gospel when the two diverge. May we give Jesus only!
We had the joy of worshiping with a new church plant in La Pradera. The church is a work born of the heart of the Rodriguez sisters, some of our pioneering church planters in the Ecuadorian Church of God. This dedicated family definitely has a missionary vision for their country. They have tirelessly worked to establish the gospel in several places.
La Pradera is a new neighborhood north of the El Caldron section of Quito. The church is located on the street named Jesús del Gran Poder (Jesus of Grand Power), an apt name for a church address. Please pray with us as this new work shines the Gospel light in this neighborhood. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
We were impressed that this work included the children in every aspect of the service. The church was very warm and welcoming.
Timothy had the honor of preaching over a section in 1John. By an act of the Holy Spirit one of the church leaders read a section of Proverbs during the opening of the worship service that prepared everyone’s heart for the sermon God had given to Timothy.
After church we had the opportunity to travel across town and eat with brother Alejandro Choez and his family. Brother Choez used to serve as the pastor at the Santa Clara Church. Pastor Choez and the Santa Clara Church played a significant role in forming our thoughts and feelings about Ecuador. One of Timothy’s first mission trips to Ecuador was to the Santa Clara church. He joined with a church group from Greenville Tennessee lead by Sister Roma Lee and helped with a construction project on the lower level of the church building. It was a great encouragement to relive some of our shared memories.
One of the great joys of ministry in Ecuador is the encouragement we both give and receive as we walk alongside our brothers and sisters here on the Equator
The Gospel message is the same in every epoch and in every culture. Our Christian experience flows from the Gospel but when our culture is added to the mix the two coalesce into a unique experience that we call church. Although our theological understanding of Church remains constant across borders our experience changes drastically. In today’s Cultural Insight we explore some of the differences between the North American church and the church in Ecuador from our perspective.
Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter. -Charles Spurgeon
Missionary. What do you think of when you hear the word missionary? Missions, primarily, is not about men and women giving their lives away for a moral or humanitarian cause. Rather, missions are primarily about the proclamation of a specific message with a specific content. We see this message written large in every sermon recorded in the book of Acts. The redemption of the world through the death and resurrection of our incarnate God, Jesus Christ.
If you tell someone of the love, salvation and redemption of Jesus Christ you are speaking missionary words. If you proclaim “God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not parish but Have everlasting life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him” you are proclaiming the missionary message.
But where should you proclaim your missionary message? Jesus actually gives us clear instructions as to where we are to be missionaries.
In Acts Chapter one Jesus tells his original disciples that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. In other words where they lived, where they were comfortable, across cultural lines and to the furthest parts of the earth.
We, His current disciples are called likewise. Although we tend to think of only the furthest parts of the earth as being the realm of missionaries, the truth is that all Christians are responsible for each area of witness. We must take care to witness in each of the realms that Christ sent His disciples.
May we loudly proclaim the missionary message to all whom we meet. May we go in person, and where we cannot go in person may we go in purse!