I am glad that you have tuned in to this page to find out what all is going on with our team of 16 here in Quito, Ecuador. I will try and update this page at least once a day so that you will know what we have done and how you can pray for us. In praying, we of course ask that you pray as God leads but would you also join us in praying a prayer journaled by a long time missionary named David Brainerd. The prayer is, "Lord, let [us] make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who [we] are." We have partnered that prayer with Ephesians 2:8-10 that it is God who puts the good work before us to do but we want it to be centered completely around God, not us or anything that we can do on our own. Enjoy and be sure and leave us some comments if you are able!
We made it through our first day safely and pretty well. We had a morning of preparation on crafts, games, and bible stories then after a good lunch we made it to Las Marias! Not too much has changed from last year, we saw many of the same faces from last year and they remembered us! And we were also shocked that over 50 children came out today! We got to play some soccer where we found out that not many of us are very good, especially compared to a bunch of 8-10 year old boys. We had a good relay race followed by "la luz roja/ la luz verde". The beaded bracelet craft was a hit with children and moms as they came over and made one for themselves. Songs are always fun and a challenge at the same time, we don't know the words or the motions but we do our best...and the children laugh at us. Our bible story was about God "fearfully and wonderfully" making us. We acted out the creation story so they could laugh and hopefully remember how it pleased God to make man and woman. When we finished up the VBS we then prayer walked through the village then got some dinner.
This is a pretty tired group and they have a VERY busy day tomorrow starting with the children's hospital at 9:30 AM. So would you pray for good rest tonight and the other nights we are here. Also pray for health as a couple are really feeling the effects of 7000-9000 feet elevation. We are also praying that these people we talk with will hear the incredible story of Jesus, that he is the only way to salvation and relationship with the God that fearfully and wonderfully made us in His image. We'll talk with you tomorrow! Quito Team 2011
What a long day! We started at a children's hospital here in Quito where we had the chance to meet some very sweet children and their parents. We played games, passed out some candy, shared the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors -- emphasizing that God would never leave us or forsake us! The children and their parents then got to draw on blank bandannas that we brought. Many drew about the story while others drew their homes, the place they so look forward to returning.
There is one little 6 year old boy that I want to ask for your prayers. His name is Jon and about 3 months ago he fell and broke his leg and fractured his skull. They repaired the skull but it has since developed an infection that is effecting his whole body. We never got to see his eyes as he was not very aware of what was going on around him. His father told us how his son is improving but he has a long road ahead of him. Please pray for his healing, as I prayed for him I got this picture of a little boy that needed to get out of this chair and pray. I am not sure all that means but it sure led me to pray for his healing...like now! So join us in asking for a miracle.
After the hospital we went back to Las Marias and had a great day of sharing and soccer...using the whole field. Found out that our best players are not quite as good as their average players. We made many contacts and had some older guys sit with us and have a snack and hear a the same story about Joseph and his coat of many colors. After the stories and they began to go back home we had the chance to go and talk one-on-one with these awesome people. Several of our team shared the gospel with children and adults. Pray for Viviana as she prayed to receive Christ today! After she prayed she thanked the ones that shared with her several times saying how she appreciated them sharing a relationship and not just a religion. Pray that the love of Christ consumes her and her family. Pray also that she can quickly connect with the other few believers in Las Marias. Pray also for the others that heard the gospel and may not have responded just yet...that they would very soon. I would also like to ask you to pray for Christian. He is a young man consumed with alcohol and as a result has an abusive dad. Some of our team talked with his mom today and set up a hopeful meeting tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 PM. Join us praying that Christian would come at 5:00 and see the love of Christ through these that share with him. Pray also that he sees that Jesus is so much better than anything this world has ever offered him and that he receives grace, forgiveness, love, and a new life tomorrow afternoon! It is NO accident that we are here!
Thanks for reading and praying for us. On a note about the team...everyone woke up feeling great today and we have had no negative effects from the altitude. On to do more things utterly disproportionate to who we are! Quito 2011 Team
So much to share today. We started out our day by sharing the gospel in a park in Cumbaya. We divided into teams of 2-3 and a translator and began talking to people sitting on park benches or simply passing through. Most people were so very grateful that we would come all the way from America to share such good news with the people of Ecuador. We had several that prayed to receive Jesus and we gave away many bibles and talked to people about churches and small group bible studies in which they could participate. Pray for these new believers that they would quickly get involved in discipleship and growth in their new relationship with Jesus.
We had a somewhat slower day in Las Marias. We still played soccer with the older children, had some good games and crafts with younger children. The songs are so much fun that we do with them and our bible stories are well received. We had some down time in the late afternoon to play more soccer but more importantly have some one-on-one share time with these children. A couple of them came to Christ as well as some ladies in a small store where we went to buy juice for our snack time. God has plans that we could not even imagine. Pray for these new believers as well as us as we continue to look for opportunities, the obvious ones and the not so obvious ones.
I asked you to pray for a boy named Christian last night, specifically that he would come today to hear the gospel. Well he did not come but memebers of our team did get to talk more with his mom. She believes in Jesus but wanted to know more about baptism. After sharing with her she said she wanted to be baptized on Sunday, by the people that were sharing with her! That is awesome....but we have no idea how we are going to baptize this lady but rest assured we will find a way! We hope that her son comes so that we can share this good news with him as well. Who knows, we may have a second baptism! Keep praying! This lady also met Cristina, the lady from Quito that has been working in Las Marias for the past 3 years. They talked about a bible study that could start very soon. How exciting that many of these ladies that prayed to receive Jesus might be meeting together on a regular basis very, very soon. Let's pray in expectation that the Holy Spirit will bring this one together!
It is late and we have a very early morning, so watch tomorrow night for more great stories on all that God is doing. I will also update the names of people that we need you to being praying for. Blessings! Quito Team 2011
It seems like a month ago that we were spending the night in Miami getting ready to come to Quito, my how time flies! Today was another good day. We started bright and early in Las Marias with some great "Ecuadorian" games then a fun craft that the children and their parents really enjoyed doing. The songs were fun and our puppet team did a great job presenting the gospel to these children. So fun to watch smiling faces and squealing kiddos as the puppets began talking to them. This never gets old! After the bible story we gave each of them a string, like the ones that we brought as a tool to share the gospel. We taught all the children a couple of the tricks and taught them the stories as well. Our challenge to them was to go home and show their families and friends. An awesome chance for the gospel to continue to spread through this small village.
I was very encouraged to talk with Cristina Gondor, the young lady that has had a heart for this village for the past 3 years. She is a university student that goes every Saturday to work with the children in Las Marias. She has such a heart and passion to see a church planted in the village. Her weakness is resources as in manpower to help her with these 40+ children that come weekly to her bible study. We talked with her about sharing the need with the church she is currently attending, asking them for help. I hope she has the courage to ask and that God will lead her to the right people and quickly!
After lunch we had the opportunity to go to a really busy park in Tumboco for the purpose of sharing the gospel. We had some really incredible stories from these people! Everything from people that claimed to be atheists to people that attended a local baptist church, really good times sharing. Several people prayed to receive Jesus as Savior and now our continued prayer is follow up and getting plugged in to a local congregation of believers.
Good stuff here! Lots of great stories shared, laughs like you would not believe, and every day a chance for us to say, "that was totally God!" Our prayer now is that we would continue with a passion for the lost in Topeka and that those of you that did not come on this mission trip would make plans to come on the next one! Our command is to go to the nations...to the ends of the earth...so what are you waiting for? Let's get going!! Blessings! Quito Team 2011
Days 5 & 6
Sunday was a really good day with some really sweet people worshiping the Lord! We got to divide into 3 different teams. We sent some of our team including our puppeteers, with the children for a time of bible study, games, and snacks. Another part of our team got to spend some quality time with the youth ministry of the church where they shared their testimonies of how God had rescued them from dark places then never gave up on them as their journey has had ups and downs. We got to hear from them, how they are learning about defending their faith with plans for a mission trip very soon (we invited them to come to Topeka! how great would that be!?). A couple of our adults stayed with the adults of the church in a service where they too offered their testimonies and words of encouragement from the word of God. These also had the opportunity to participate in communion with other family members within the Kingdom!
After lunch we had our last afternoon in Las Marias. We arrived just in time to watch a couple of league play soccer games. These guys were good, and they play through anything! They were already on a pretty rough field but then it began to rain pretty hard, they never missed a beat and continued to play. Many of the moms and children joined us inside the community center for some singing, a drama by another local church, and a magic show. We finished out the afternoon by giving them a necklace explaining the plan of salvation. It was very difficult to leave this year. We really made some awesome connections with these people. They will hold a very special place in our hearts as we will continue to pray for them and hope for the opportunity to return next year.
Monday was our day to go to the Center of the Earth Museum where we saw how indigenous people of Ecuador lived and we got to stand on the equator of the earth. We had some really great stories of weird things that happen on the equator. Just stop and ask us when we get back. After lunch we had an opportunity to go to a market in downtown Quito to purchase things to bring home with us.
This has really been a good trip. I don't know how many people accepted Jesus but it was a lot! And I can't even begin to tell you the number of real, heart connecting conversations we had with people. I would ask that you pray for the people of Quito, Las Marias, Tumbaco, and Cumbaya. I will post some names and prayer requests as soon as I get some time to go through all the contacts that we made here. I would also ask that you pray for Sam Schmidgall as we will say goodbye to him tomorrow. He is one of our students that we are leaving here in Quito to continue this mission work through mid July. He will be working with the local missionary here and other groups that come to work in the area.
We will see you guys soon. Thanks for reading, I hope through these messages your heart is beginning to burn with desire to "go" to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel! Looking forward to taking you next time! Blessings! Quito Team 2011