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Author: Tony Anzalone

New Disciples Baptized

New Disciples Baptized

One of a church’s key vital signs is baptism. On October 29 we rejoiced to see 6 believers baptized at the end of the Sunday morning service in Manta. Three of those baptized were children from families in our church. This shows that the children are receiving some good instruction at home and in Sunday School. A young married couple was baptized. They are receiving discipleship instruction and starting out the Christian life on the right foot. The sixth candidate was a woman well into the Senior Saint category, she recently became a follower of Christ after many years in a pseudo-Christian religion. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a dynamic, life-changing force at any age.

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Women’s Conference

Women’s Conference

At the end of October, Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Manta held a one-night women’s conference. Over 60 women, both adults and teens, attended and enjoyed the music, games, fellowship, food, and teaching. Joy was one of the speakers. We are grateful to see many signs of renewed unity in the church since our return.

 

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Teddy Serving in Bonsai Ministry

Teddy Serving in Bonsai Ministry

Our son Teddy (age 15) serves 2 afternoons each week in the Bonsai After-School Program at our church. Teddy recently added a new aspect to his duties at Bonsai: teaching the children to play the guitar. To help the kids with practice instruments, Teddy had an extra guitar available, but needed another one. We found out about a new BBFI program to help MK’s with their own ministry endeavors through local church VBS offerings. Soon Teddy had another guitar available, thanks to children’s VBS offerings from the USA.

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Carla’s Doing Well

Carla’s Doing Well

We recently celebrated Carla’s 14th birthday. It has been amazing to watch this little girl grow up. Just 4 years ago on her birthday she was recovering from open-heart surgery. Now she’s healthy and strong. We’re grateful for what God has done for Carla and for our family in general. Please keep praying for Carla to overcome her challenges and to grow strong in the Lord.

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Back in Ecuador

Back in Ecuador

Anzalone Prayer Report October 2017

Trying Times

We returned to Ecuador on August 30, and arrived in Manta on September 1. We have encountered a number of challenges during the past several weeks. We are very aware of your prayers for us as a family, for the church in Manta, and for our minsitry in general.

We have been disappointed to learn that the ministry leadership team in Manta was very dysfunctional during our long absence. There was unresolved conflict, a lack of pastoral care and leadership, and evidence of dishonesty with church funds. Several members of the team left the church. Within a week of our return, the pastor resigned. Soon the remaining leaders asked us to guide the church through this difficult time, and the entire church membership gave its approval. We accepted the challenge and are once again preaching, teaching, leading, and counseling at Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Manta. We have no idea how long we will be serving in these roles, but we believe this is God’s will for us now and until he makes it clear that we should step aside for others to lead.

We are faithfully directing the congregation to focus on the core truths: the saving message of the Gospel, the supremacy of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the sovereign plan of God. We ask you to pray that this difficult time would be a starting point for revival and spiritual growth; and a catalyst for the multiplication of disciples, servant-leaders, and local churches. Pray with us for repentance, restoration, and renewal. Pray for new believers and young disciples to be confirmed in their faith, and for more mature disciples to renew their commitment to fellowship and service. We are seeing some positive signs: seven people are ready to be baptized this month. We are grateful that God has allowed us to be here at this time, and that you stand with all of us in prayer.

Next Step

Our home in the city is for sale, and we are actively seeking property in a rural area about a half-hour from Manta. We looked at a beautiful two-acre site just outside of a nature reserve. The owner has offered it to us for $27,000. It would be perfect for building our home, as well as a guest house, recreation area, and a pavillion for small group gatherings. This sort of property is a key part of our vision for serving Ecuadorian ministry families. We wish to provide hospitality to those who serve Jesus. Please pray with us for the sale of our house in Manta, and for God’s direction and provision to the place he has in mind. Please pray about giving especially for this project by designating an offering through BBFI (designate: Anzalone Ecuador Multiply).

Thank you for praying and giving.

For information about giving: How to Give

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Returning to Ecuador Soon

Returning to Ecuador Soon

Anzalone Ecuador Prayer Report July 2017

It’s time for us to get back to Ecuador!

This furlough has been a great experience for our family. In some ways we’ve had ample opportunity for rest, recharging, and even recreation; but in other ways it has been stressful and challenging. We have reserved tickets to Quito for August 31, so … ready or not, here we come!

Praise

  • Fellowship – Since we arrived in the USA at the end of October 2016, we have spent 12 to 16 weeks around 3 different churches that invited us to stay in homes provided to missonaries. Their generosity created much-needed stability for our family, and reduced our furlough expenses. It also created a unique bond of fellowship and sense of belonging between our children and the church. We are very grateful!
  • Safety – We have been driving a couple of 2007 vehicles with high numbers on the odometers, but we have had no breakdowns and no accidents. One of our trips with the five of us plus our grandson Crosby Taylor covered 13 states, and over 4,000 miles in 15 days! We’re thankful for God’s mercy over weary travelers.
  • Family – Joy and I are at this stage of life when we value time with our parents, children, and grandchildren over almost anything else. God has been generous with us in allowing us to spend quality time with many of our family members, to enjoy holidays together, and to make memories that we’ll treasure.

Prayer

  • Goodbye and Hello – We have mixed emotions about returning to Ecuador. It is going to be hard to say goodbye to family and friends. Our parents have some serious health concerns and our adult children have challenges to face. On the other hand, we’ll be returning to our Ecuadorian brothers and sisters who love us and to the Manta church that has moved forward during our absence. Pray for us to have grace for both experiences.
  • Extra expenses – Our budget is always stretched beyond the limit! Airfare from Knoxville to Manta will have a total cost around $3,000 for our family. Recently an opportunity developed to have Carla and Matthew professionally tested in regard to their special educational needs. They will be completing the testing before we leave. The testing, plus our usual education costs at this time each year, come to over $2,000. If you’d like to help with either of these needs, you may add an additional amount to what you send through BBFI (mark it Anzalone Ecuador Special).
  • Family – We are starting our new “Multiply!” ministry. Pray for us as we create networks with pastors and churches. Pray for new visions and strategies for discipleship, servant-leadership development, and local church planting. Pray for the sale of our home and the purchase and development of a new home for hospitiality ministry. Pray for God to provide our goal of $50,000 for development of the property. Please pray about giving for this purpose.

 

Thank you for praying and giving.

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We’re Thankful for Partner Churches

We’re Thankful for Partner Churches

Several days ago a young woman from All Nations Baptist Church in Woodhaven, NY e-mailed to say that they would be holding an international festival to emphasize missions. She and some friends had offered to represent Ecuador, and she was asking me if it would be okay to use information from our prayer letters and websites. “What a great idea! Absolutely! You may use anything you find. Check our newest website, anzalonesinecuador.com ” As you can see in the photo they did a great job of presenting Ecuador, and representing the Anzalone family. They had attractive decorations, photos, maps, information, and even food from Ecuador.

 

This reminds me of the many ways our partner churches assist us. Obviously, one important way is by sending monthly offerings to support our family and ministry. These monthly offerings are sent by individual churches to Baptist Bible Fellowship International (PO Box 191, Springfield, MO 65801). All funds sent to us through BBFI are credited to our account each month. None is held for office costs or other purposes without our consent. These same churches often add additional amounts for special projects or unusual needs. (Contact us by email anztony@gmail.com if you would like more information about giving for our ministry in Ecuador. There is an online donation option. Donate through BBFI)

 

The churches that support us, have become partners in ministry with us, so their involvement goes beyond sending money. Their prayers for us and for our ministry is very important. Some churches have prayer groups assigned to pray for us regularly. Others have designated individuals who correspond with us about our prayer needs. Some of our partner churches follow our blog, Facebook account (facebook.com/AnzPrayer), Twitter (twitter.com/AnzPrayer), or anzalonesinecuador.com to stay up-to-date on our daily activities and needs.

 

Some churches make a regular practice of writing to us, informing us of their activities, and inviting closer communication with them. This is often a blessing, giving us an opportunity to know each other better.

 

When we’re on furlough, as we have been for the last several months, we get to visit some of our ministry partners, but not all of them. In many cases, the time of our visit is short, and our entire family can’t always be present, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be faithful partners to one another, and enjoy a fruitful ministry relationship.

 

We’re thankful for our faithful partner churches!

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Family on Furlough

Family on Furlough

We’ve been on “furlough” (sometimes called “home assignment”) for over 6 months! The time has flown by! One of the important reasons for missionary furlough is to build extended family relationships. Sometimes it is difficult to do this because of the other important things missionaries are trying to do while back in their “home” or “sending” nation. Essential travel, reporting to partner churches, healthcare needs, seeking new financial support, and recharging for future ministry all demand time and attention.

We try to spend quality time with our kids, filling memory banks of their experiences in the USA. Because of the generosity of churches that have provided us missionary housing, we’ve been able to spend significant parts of this furlough in Tennessee where we could see Joy’s parents regularly, and in Florida, where our daughter Lexi Taylor, husband Jonathan, and their kids live. We have seen them nearly every day during the past few months! During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays we were ale to see all of our grandchildren for a few days. We’ve checked in with Tony’s parents. Recently we made 2 long car trips through 18 states to see grandchildren, children, other relatives, and lifetime friends. Although these visits never seem long enough, the moments and memories are very important.

We want our children to love Ecuador. The whole family needs to feel at home there. It is also important that our kids feel known, loved, and welcomed back in the USA. It’s hard for MK’s to identify “home.” I always tell ours that home is wherever our family happens to be. I’m grateful for our extended family all over the USA for welcoming our family and loving us whether near or far.

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Easter Sunday in Manta

Easter Sunday in Manta

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.

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Happy Easter and Earthquake Anniversary

Happy Easter and Earthquake Anniversary

April 2017

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.

Acts 16:26

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.

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