Guayaquil—Tom met last week with Juan Carlos, Nino and Gustavo. It was great meeting and we made much progress in planning. Our focus has been to develop a new vision for the Guayas area that will include new target areas for ministry and a combined national/missionary team. The Lord gave us a great time of prayer, evaluation and brainstorming, and crowned it all with enthusiasm and unity.
Since it is the first new ministry thrust for the current Guayas team, we are taking a basic approach to planning which includes the “what, where, when, who and how.” We worked on the “what and where.” There was unanimous consensus that we will take a two-pronged approach that will include aggressively establishing cell groups based out of the Altar Cristiano Church (Gustavo) and we will plant a new congregation in a “virgin” area of Guayaquil such as a new housing development. Juan Carlos and Diana will likely be our point leaders but that is to be determined. There was a lot of synergy in the meeting.
Costa Rica trip postponed—I was to be in Costa Rica this week with our missionary team, but was denied entry into CR for no certificate of vaccination for yellow fever. This is not required for those who travel from the USA, but it is required for travel from Ecuador to CR. I will reschedule my trip for a bit later.
Peru—I will be in Peru next week for a missionary conference where I will speak 5 times, then I will speak at the Trujillo churches on Sunday. I will return to Ecuador October 8.
Prison ministry—God is doing awesome things in the women’s prison. The Voices of Hope team which Lydia leads has a good trust relationship that has been built over the last two years. Many inmates are now opening up more, being more honest about their needs, and actively following the teachings the team is providing. Give God praise for this growth.
Lighthouse—Good things continue to take place in the congregation in Racar. Average attendance for the last four Sundays has been 98. New people are being saved each month and rarely is there a Sunday without 8-15 seekers at the “altar.” Sunday September 30, we will hold a baptism event at a family ranch outside of Cuenca. Thirteen candidates have prepared themselves to receive this sacrament. It is a wonderful evidence of their obedience to God’s command to “repent and be baptized.” Pray this will be a great experience for these new Christians.
1) The nephew of a Lighthouse church family has been arrested and is being held on possible charges of accomplice to homicide. Pray for justice and fairness in the judicial process, and for "J’s" newfound faith. By God’s providence "J" is being held at the men’s prison and was place as a cellmate with the prison pastor!
2) Leaders. Tom is going to be working on building a team of dedicated leaders at the Lighthouse. Many new ministry opportunities are before us, but it is necessary that national leaders be developed to lead them.