Our dear friend, missionary Jeff Davoll, was invited to speak at Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Manta, on Easter Sunday. He shared a picture with us, and said there was a full house! We’re happy to hear a good report and to see some of our dear brothers and sisters in the photo. It is reassuring to know that the church belongs to Jesus Christ and he is building it whether we are there or in the USA.
Christ is Risen Indeed!
Happy Easter! What a joy it is to worship and serve Jesus Christ our Risen Lord! This April 16, is the first anniversary of the earthquake that shook Manta and the coastal region of Ecuador. It was an event that God has used to influence us and our ministry in amazing ways. A good friend recently asked me if we were “over the earthquake.” I immediately said, “No!” Then I said more hesitantly, “I don’t think we’ll ever be over it completely.” Maybe we shouldn’t be. I don’t want to be.
One Bible passage in particular has served as a theme and an inspiration to our family and our ministry. I shared it with the little group that gathered at our church building on the day after, and tried to keep it fresh on our hearts throughout the following months.
Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed (Acts 16:26).
- Foundations Shaken – In an earthquake, buildings collapse because of faulty foundations. Earthquake experiences in life should cause us to evaluate the values and beliefs that form our foundation for life. Jesus Christ and his teachings are a solid rock upon which a wise person constructs his life (Matthew 7:24-25). Have you checked your life’s foundation?
- Doors Open – Open doors are often equated with opportunities for ministry and border-crossing missional living. We had unprecedented opportunities to serve and speak in Jesus name. Because so many of you were giving and praying (and even coming to serve with us), we could act as Christ’s amassadors in expressing compassion, mercy, and grace. Many doors opened for the Gospel to be seen and heard. What doors for ministry has God opened for you?
- Chains Broken – Paul, Silas, and the other prisoners were free physically, but even more amazingly, the jailer and his family were freed spiritually by the Gospel of Christ on the night of the earthquake in Philippi (Acts 16:27-34). In Manta, many in our congregation experienced greater freedom for service than ever before. Others embraced the freedom that comes through life-giving faith in Christ. Are you living in the freedom that Jesus Christ promises?
Thank you for praying and giving.
Here is some of the latest news from Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Manta, and the new congregation in La Revancha.
A youth missions team from Pleasant Valley Baptist Church came and spent a week with the young people from IBB Manta. They made friends and had fun, but they also did ministry together, holding outreach activities in La Revancha. Pastor Darwin Moreira said that over 150 people from the community participated in the activities.
Dr. Chuck Lynch and his wife Linda came to Manta to lead a seminar on Biblical Counseling. IBB Manta was the host church, but pastors, church ministry leaders, and others were invited to attend. Dr. Lynch’s material is outstanding. It is very biblical and highly practical. He places a high value on discipleship and healthy relationships. Later in April, Dr. and Mrs. Lynch will be repeating the seminar in Latacunga.
12th Anniversary of our Church in Manta
Our church in Manta, Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Manta, celebrated its 12th anniversary of ministry. It gives us joy to see the church moving forward, continuing to grow as a community of God’s grace and service. Pastor Darwin reports that people are coming to know and follow Jesus through the ministries of the church in Manta and in La Revancha.
What will we do next?
During the past few months, many people have asked, “What will you guys be doing next?” We asked that question for over a year by prayer, in conversation with trusted friends and counselors, and as we worked with the Manta church through earthquake relief and the leadership transition. We believe that God has led us to continue our service in Ecuador in a ministry of multiplication: helping local churches multiply disciples, servant-leaders, and local churches.
How will we do it?
Here are some of the ways we plan to serve for multiplication:
• Build and strengthen relationships with pastors, churches, and ministry leaders beginning in Manta and extending throughout Ecuador.
• Provide materials and training to local churches for discipleship and leadership development; and teach or preach wherever needed in support of those ministries.
• Encourage, coach, and assist pastors and local churches to develop and implement strategies for church planting in their area.
• Give hospitality at our home to pastors, along with their wives and families, for times of respite and renewal, to meet with them for prayer, counsel, and encouragement in a relaxed setting.
• Make connections between our ministry partners in the USA and church planters in Ecuador for relationships and resources.
Where will we live?
We believe that we can be most effective by maintaining our connection to the church in Manta and serving its ministry leaders. Our family can continue to be a part of church life where we are known and loved. We would like to live in a more rural setting, but not too far from the city. When we return to Ecuador later this year, we plan to sell our home and buy property within a 30-minute drive of the city, in a more natural environment, with space for the hospitality aspects of our family ministry. We estimate that we’ll need to raise up to $50,000 for construction.
Will you pray with us about these plans for our future ministry? Will you pray for God’s guidance to the best location for our family home? Will you ask God what he would allow you to invest financially in this exciting stage of our ministry?
Thank you for praying and giving.