Monday, May 31, 2010

Look What God Is Doing!

Teachers’ Workshop in Guayaquil—Lydia traveled to Guayaquil Saturday for the last in a series of initial teacher’s workshops. She attended a special children’s day activity at FERTISA (Dios Es Primero) on Sunday morning then traveled to Cuenca Sunday afternoon. The workshop went well.

New ministerial students doing well—Pastor Juan reports that all five students are doing well in their theological studies. They carry a heavy load of seven classes per week (three nights) along with their weekend ministries in the churches and their secular jobs and family responsibilities. They need lots of extra strength to keep up the pace. Pray for these who are giving their lives into God’s service.

New families at Dios Es Primero—Pastor Juan reports that two new families have begun attending the church this month. He said, “We are not going to fit in this building much longer. We might have to turn this into a school and get a bigger place to worship.” Keep dreaming God’s dreams, Pastor Juan!

Westview Community Church Team—A youth team from WCC will arrive in Ecuador June 9 to hold youth activities and youth leadership training in Guayaquil June 9-12. They will travel to Cuenca to work some on the construction for their remaining time until their departure on June 22. While in Cuenca they will focus on youth ministries with outreach/fellowship activities planned almost every night. They will lead the ICW service Sunday June 13.

ICW discipleship group to launch June 3—A week ago Sunday Tom preached on “true disciples” and called for a public commitment. Eight came forward and two later joined. This week two more were added. We will meet for our first session this Thursday. Pray for a hunger for God’s Word, and that deep “want to” spirit that drives growth in new converts. Pray for Tom as he leads.

Women’s prison ministry committee—Since making a first visit to the Cuenca women’s prison under the prompting of Janet Wolfe, (a visiting member of the Heritage Wesleyan team that visited earlier this month) an open door for regular ministry there has been opened by the director. The committee met last night and Sheree led them in a discussion. There is interest in such an outreach on the part of several ladies of ICW, but there is also a sense there must be a clear mandate from God for such a work to evolve. At the heart of that mandate, there must be a passionate, God-directed leader who must come forward. So far, we do not have that leader. Pray for God’s direction.

Surprise prayer—Byron took us all by surprise yesterday. He and his wife, Nancy, along with their two children started attending ICW sporadically several months ago. Byron has struggled in his work situation and, if he showed up, he always seemed down and out. No smile, no joy. Last Sunday, Byron came forward to say he wanted to be a true disciple of Christ. Yesterday he was one of the first ones at the “church” (tent). He looked different—smiles and a cheerful attitude. I said, “Hey Byron, would you help receive the offering this morning?” He said, “No, not me!” He then pointed a finger at his wife. She pointed back to him. They were both goofing off and playing shy. Javier is in charge of the ushers and when he asked Byron to help, Byron accepted. Unknown to me was the fact that our student pastor, Alex, had asked Byron ahead of time if he would have the prayer for the offering. Byron did not want to do it. (He is a shy person by nature). At offering time, as Javier and Byron stood ready with the offering bags, Alex asked Javier to pray. Immediately and unprompted, Javier said, “Let Byron pray.” I guess Byron had decided by that time that, shy or not, he WAS going to do it. He stepped to the mic and led a prayer that sounded as if he had been around church for years. It was a good, heart-felt prayer. I had been preparing to show a video as soon as the offering started, but had not really noticed what had been transpiring in regard to the offering. Suddenly, I heard an unfamiliar voice praying—it was Byron! I was shocked-and overjoyed. After service, Byron was helping us tear down the chairs and sound equipment. He came up to me and said, “That was the first time I ever did THAT!” (Referring to his leading a public prayer). I thanked him for his service and the satisfaction in his accomplishment clearly shined through.

Testimony of near drowning—Here is one of four testimonies shared at ICW yesterday: Nancy de Lopez, (wife of Byron, above) shared a testimony of her life being saved a few weeks ago. While in the Amazon area of Ecuador on a family outing, she slipped on mossy rock and fell into the river. Nancy does not swim. She pleaded for help and Byron tried to save her. He failed to pull her out. An onlooker jumped in and also tried to rescue her. He nearly drowned trying. Nancy testified, “At that point I turned to God and cried out for Him to save me. I then passed out. Suddenly, I felt someone pulling me by my hair. It was Byron. He pulled me out, but I know it was really God who saved me!” Thanks God (and Byron!)


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