Ecuador: Reaching an Unreached Group

When on mission trips it is said you must be "FAT."  No, not that fat.  Flexible, Adaptable, Teachable FAT. That meant that while we were on the bus headed to Montalvo according to plan, pastor Hernon called to say an elementary school in Quero had just agreed to let us come to distribute parasite medicine and present a Bible story!   

You should be proud of your JFBC team, they didn't miss a beat.  The drama team and Susan split off and headed to the school while the rest of the team got working at Montalvo.

Curious and sad that we can come to Ecuador and tell Bible stories in school, something we might be sued or arrested for in the United States.

That's pastor Hernan on the left with the kids lining up to receive parasite medicine

That's pastor Hernan on the left with the kids lining up to receive parasite medicine

This is the first time the Iglesia Bautista Montalvo has been invited into this community.  That's not easy.  They don't accept strangers readily and are suspicious of people who are not family or who they don't know.  It is a huge responsibility for JFBC to participate because everything we say and do is being watched very carefully.  It is a testimony to the team, Iglesia Bautista Montalvo and the trust we have in each other that God will open doors like this and use us to tell his Gospel to children who may have never heard.

And by "telling the Gospel" I don't mean just the story itself, as important as it is.  I mean being the sort of people who just reach out and love others, not looking for anything in return. 

It's just like in the picture below: 

 

Caroline C making some new friends at Quero

Caroline C making some new friends at Quero

That's Mauricio leading reviewing the story of the Prodigal Son with the kids at Montalvo

That's Mauricio leading reviewing the story of the Prodigal Son with the kids at Montalvo

The team reunited at lunchtime and did VBS for about 30 children in the afternoon at Montalvo.

The VBS Bible story team did it again at Iglesia Bautista Montalvo with just as much enthusiasm as in the morning. 

We've never been able in prior trips to use the sanctuary for VBS because it was always needed for medical.  This year, without a medical team, it was a blessing for VBS to be able to use the stage for opening song time and the Bible story. 

As always, there were crafts (salvation bracelets) and recreation time. 

We stopped about 5pm to have empanadas before heading into Ambato for pizza.  Several of the ladies then traveled back to Iglesia Bautista Montalvo for a women's conference that is being led this year by an intern, Shilo, who believes the Lord is calling her to women's ministry.  

That makes twice this year that God has blessed us with not doing something we've done in the past.  Instead of JFBC bringing a medical team, this year the team is Ecuadorian and led by an Ecuadorian doctor who is also a believer!  And instead of Susan B doing the women's conference, Shilo has the opportunity to explore God's calling in her life.  Sometimes listening to God saying, "no, not this time" makes space for Him to raise up others.  God always has plenty for us to do if we'll just listen.

 But wait, I want to go back to the empanadas story... 

Jenny, pastor Hernan's wife, teaching North Americans how to make empanadas

Jenny, pastor Hernan's wife, teaching North Americans how to make empanadas

That's right, homemade dough without a recipe.  Mixed by hand.  Rolled out by hand. Filled with tuna, cheese or jam (by hand) and then fried to a delicious golden brown!

Give John (part of Steve T's crew) credit for trying his hand at making them.  "They said I put too much filling in, but I wanted to make a manly empanada," he said when asked about his experience.

Susan promises to hold a class when we are back in the United States. 

Family is like that, is't it?  You gather in the kitchen to make food, chat and laugh.  You work around the house together fixing what needs to be fixed and making it prettier where you can.  You tell your family stories over and over again because they make you laugh or cry or they have a life lesson that's important for everyone to know.  Before coming to Ecuador I did not understand that in God's family you don't need to live in the same houses or even speak the same languages to have that experience.