DATES: July 19-29, 2010
CITY: La Paz Barrio
MINISTRY: VBS & Evangelism
The Barrio of La Paz is under extreme hardship and basic needs are often unmet. Many residents live under bleak conditions and the infestation of contagious diseases is on the rise. One common hardship residents face is the unavailability of water which is only delivered once a week and sold at $1.00 a barrel. This is often a price too high for residents to pay and many decide to salvage what remaining water they do have at home. Many in Quito view La Paz as a slum overrun with rampant delinquency, prostitution, illicit drugs, child abuse and many others which are exhausting to mention.
The efforts of El Inca Church to adopt the La Paz church and bring it under its wings, in view of overwhelming odds, must be applauded. Their mission is to develop leaders who can plant seeds of the gospel and bring others to an understanding of the Lord’s compassion and grace which many residents so desperately need. It is in this poverty stricken background that our team shares the good news with the children using VBS as an instrument. The team also led house to house evangelism together with members of La Paz’s congregation and distributed bibles to local residents. One of the many fruits of this effort has been the decisions of residents to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Homes were located in mountainous terrain and were widely scattered making a visit to every home difficult. The team made contact with 44 families. 23 individuals made decisions to follow Christ while 16 expressed and interest in follow up visits. We also were able to purchase medications and assist members of the community with various health issues.
The team’s objective in sharing the gospel was executed in 4 classes. The children spent their day in the following venues:
- Bible Stories
- Arts & Crafts
- Team Sports
- Worship Music
VBS Attendance increased as the days progressed: Tuesday – 62, Wednesday – 98, Thursday – 140, and Friday – 150.
During this week 28 children made decisions to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. These children will have follow up contact with Pastor Edison and his family at the church in La Paz.
CITY: El Inca, Quito
MINISTRY: VBS & Evangelism
Following the wonderful experience in La Paz and participating in Sunday services at El Inca Church, we initiated a VBS week at this second location. The environment here was different as the kids were from an urban area and their socioeconomic situation was more stable. We used the same techniques for VBS and had more volunteers this week.
The church building at El Inca offered a significantly more spacious area to conduct VBS which allowed more children to receive all attention, encouragement and love that was more difficult to offer at the other venue. The older children received a bible in addition to those who received Jesus into their hearts.
Statistics of El Inca VBS:
The pastoral staff at El Inca made plans to disciple those who made professions
In addition, our team along with members of El Inca participated in neighborhood evangelism where tracts and bibles were distributed. Some residents accepted the plan of salvation. This strengthened the visibility and testimony of El Inca church. It should be mentioned that this is the first time El Inca hosted a foreign team to help reach out to their community.
It was truly a blessing to partner with the churches in El Inca and La Paz as we presented successful VBS seminars in those communities and built relationships with their members and staff. We praise the Lord for the work He allowed us to be part of and are so thankful that the door was left open to consider future projects.
Written by Ruth Castuera
Hello, my name is Ruth Castuera. I am writing to tell you about my experience participating in Grace for the Americas most recent project.
God granted me the opportunity to serve in Ecuador. Previously, I have participated in GLOCAL medical endeavors but this trip held a slightly different focus (VBS) and I was excited to see what was ahead. We served in La Paz barrio and El Inca Church. The first location, La Paz, broke my heart. Most of the children, not nearly old enough to care for themselves, were babysitting their little brothers and sisters while their parents were working. In the mornings we went door to door while conducting VBS in the afternoons. They opened up very nicely and never had a bad attitude. Their hearts were open to listening to the gospel and I saw that the people here were sweet and humble. I was deeply touched by their unconditional love, passion and selflessness. They were craving help and they showed it mostly in their desperation for receiving Jesus Christ.
A moment that resonated deeply with me was when we got a call from the pastor in La Paz. He told us, “We aren’t going to have any water.” I thought, this is going to be terrible and we can’t do anything about it. The worst part was wondering how we would even use the bathroom! We eventually hired a water truck to transport the necessary water all the way from El Inca to La Paz. It was a huge endeavor but it allowed us to continue our ministry. That situation made me realize that I often forget how blessed and truly rich I am. I take things for granted too often, even the apparently simple things like H2O.
Ecuador is a beautiful place. But when you look closer you might notice the children’s faces are very dry and red. They need sunscreen; they need water and many other things. But the most important thing to see is how they need the word of God and Jesus Christ in their hearts. On the first day we had 45 kids. On the last day we had 160. At the church in El Inca we started with 163 kids and finished with 206. The Lord provided us the opportunity to give the thirsty, sunburned children the living water of Jesus and I was so privileged to witness His mighty work. Thanks for your prayers, sponsorship, and financial support.
Written by Doug Chiriboga
The last 2 weeks in Ecuador have impacted my life in a significant way. This trip was especially important to me because my parents are from Ecuador. Our trip to spread the gospel was filled with joy, tears and encouragement as we saw things that opened our eyes to the poverty that can affect cities in our small world. In addition to poverty, we witnessed lack of basic necessities such as food, water and proper shelter. This trip put things in perspective for me as I learned that there are more important things in life than some of the things I crave.
After weeks of planning it was truly a blessing to serve the Lord in a VBS setting. We worked one week in a small neighborhood known as La Paz and the following week in the residential area surrounding El Inca church. I must applaud the hard work and perseverance of my team members (Pastor Hector, Oralia, Betty, Ruth, Krystal and Jon) as they toiled tirelessly in conducting their VBS activities. As a result of their faithfulness many children and adults came to know Jesus as their personal Savior! I also had the opportunity to provide some medical advice and treat residents who suffered from a variety of medical conditions. Their access to medical care was limited and often times they did not have the financial means to purchase basic medications.
It was encouraging and uplifting to work alongside other believers from both the churches of La Paz and El Inca. They were very gracious hosts as they provided housing and delicious authentic Ecuadorian food. We were able to share ideas with the staff of El Inca church to hopefully return for future VBS seminars and medical/dental outreach programs. Thank you for all your support and most importantly your prayers during our trip!
Written by Pastor Hector Alas
They were 12 intense days, not only for us as a Grace team, but also for the brothers and sisters of the church in El Inca. For them it was the first time hosting a team from an American church, and for that reason they showered us with extreme hospitality day after day. They gave us the best they had and encouraged us to give our best as well. There were two places where we did our work for Vacation Bible School and evangelism. The first was in the neighborhood of La Paz were we had 162 children in attendance, 28 of them made decisions for Christ; 23 adults did the same. The second site was El Inca, 206 enthusiastic children attended VBS; the tally of commitments for Christ was 48 children and 10 adults.
What you ask... Did I learn something? Of course I did, teamwork was what distinguished us at all times, each talent, skill and spiritual gift lifted to the Lord's service in these places was our greatest joy, especially considering the fruit that was obtained. This first experience makes us think and pray ahead to the next trip, which we dream will be medical and dental teams to serve these communities in these highly vulnerable areas. Thanks to everyone who prayed and supported financially, the fruit is also theirs. Praise the Lord for allowing us to sow into good soil, with partners committed to advance God's Kingdom and guide the new believers in their walk with Christ.