For years I have prayed that God would use our family to touch the nations with the gospel. I have watched as God answered my prayers by sending my sons around the globe. But it was especially thrilling for Pam and me to get to go as well. We have anticipated this opportunity for a year, and now that it is behind us, it is time to thank you for being God’s means of making it possible and to let you know how God has used your gifts and prayers for Ecuador 2012.
I am happy to report that Pam, Daniel and I, along with the entire Global Encounters team, have returned home safely. While, in God’s providence, we did not travel without trouble, we did travel safely and were aided and strengthened by our Lord.
I do not know how we could have been received with more love and graciousness. Pastor Luis Sanchez, his wife Jacinta, their daughter Anita, and the people of Redeemer Church showered us with the love of Christ. While this was not new to Daniel and others on the team, it was to Pam and me. And it was a blessing to communicate the love of Christ to one another without the aid of a common language. And it was so throughout our stay.
Pam and I were privileged to go with the Global Encounters team to three schools and an orphanage as they skillfully presented Biblical and theological concepts in an attractive and creative way. After one presentation, two boys asked to know more about the gospel, and we believe they trusted Christ that morning. Your prayers undergirded the team as they made presentations to receptive and interested groups as well as some who were unruly.
I had the privilege of beginning the conference ministry on Monday evening by briefing those who would lead the small group discussions on their responsibilities. On Tuesday I began the preaching ministry with the congregation of Redeemer Church. Their receptiveness was a foretaste of things to come, and their gracious attentiveness helped me through my first message given through an interpreter.
Wednesday evening was the first evening of the Family Leadership Conference. While late, as Ecuadoreans are prone to be, when they arrived, they filled the place to standing room only (about 300 people). They heard a gospel-based message designated to lay a biblical foundation for a Christ-centered vision for their families and a second message on the importance of building their homes and churches on a sound doctrinal footing. Between those messages, Pam shared a personal testimony of how God uses the weakest of us to build strong Christian homes. Her “cracked” (or crushed) pot helped drive home the point.
Thursday evening’s focus was on “The Family who Seeks the Lord” and a “Vision for Living.” The graciousness continued. Pam’s testimony reminded them that we who know Christ are His jewels because of what he has done for us.
Friday’s message was on the “Church and Home Growing Together” and communicated the importance of knowing that the church and home are inseparably linked in the work of the kingdom and in passing a Christ-centered vision to the next generation.
Saturday I was privileged to speak to the parents and young people of Redeemer church, encouraging them to work together to pass the gospel to the next generation. Sunday morning I encouraged the people of Redeemer Church to face discouragement by faith.
Pastor Luis Sanchez (the Pastor of Redeemer Church) was grateful that his prayers were answered and his expectations were met. He had worked hard to involve the other 10 churches in his area in the Family Leadership Conference. And we were as blessed as they were by their kindness, graciousness and receptivity. Thank you for investing your resources and prayers in us and the Ecuador ministry and may God give lasting fruit in Ecuador in the years to come.
For His Kingdom,