June 27 2017
About a year ago, I went with another OMS missionary to check on
our short-term missionaries working in the province of Loja, Ecuador. It was a
trip we made regularly to encourage our short termers. We didn’t know that this
visit would be a God-divine appointment.
A short time after
arriving at the short termers’ house, we heard a knock at the door. Dario and
Isaac, two friends of our short-term missionaries, were welcomed inside. They
sat down and began to ask questions about God. They asked us to share more with
them, thus beginning their faith journey.
Fast forward 12
months and the roles have shifted. Our team of 8 now lives in Loja. Recently, I
was sitting in the home of Dario’s family, listening to him share about the Scriptures.
He presented the plan of salvation and led two family members and a neighbor to
Christ. Dario is the director of one of the main schools in town and is using
his position to spread the Gospel. He has been inviting the students' parents
to come together and listen to us (OMS Loja missionaries) share about godly
parenting. He is casting a vision for children and youth programming so that
all ages can be reached for Christ.
Why such a
difference? Shortly after we began regularly meeting with Dario and his wife,
Dayana, we learned that she was having trouble getting pregnant. In a culture
where family is everything, a couple with no children was considered damaged
goods. They shared their hearts with us, and we prayed together. We assured
them that they were valued and important to Christ.
A few weeks ago,
when our missionaries arrived for the discipleship meeting, Dayana had a sweet
smirk on her face. As greetings were passed around, she motioned for her
husband to look at the paper on the coffee table. Right there, the team and
Dario found out that Dayana was pregnant!
Dayana and Dario
did not choose to ask Christ into their lives to get what they wanted. They
asked Christ into their lives so that they could be transformed by his love.
They went from brokenness to restoration. After giving their all to Christ,
they received the desires of their heart.
God is at work in
Loja Province. This is just one story of how God is moving in the hearts of his
people. Sometimes, the progress is quite slow; sometimes, the progress seems to
come in like a rushing river. Please continue to pray for workers to help us
reach a province full of hungry people searching for the truth of God’s Word.
By OMS Ecuador missionary, BJ Williamson
June 16 2017
Down a steep, one-lane,
curvy mountainous dirt road, across a little river, and up the other side sits
a little adobe and wooden farm house. There are chickens, ducks, dogs, and
kittens running around the yard. A hammock, table, and bench are on the little
porch. Our friend Maria is always ready to welcome us.
We met Maria last
May when she heard about the medical team that was in Chaguarpamba. On her
paper she marked that she would like to receive a visit from us. The first time
we went, we weren’t sure how to find her house. After asking around, we were
told, “to go down the road and, where you see the big tree, that is where her
Maria used to live
in Guayaquil, but when her parents were sick, Maria moved back to their house
to take care of them until they passed, leaving her the farm. One day, she told
us about her sisters in Guayaquil and how they were Christians. She shared that
she used to enjoy going with them and hearing God’s Word. She prayed with us to
dedicate her life to Christ and shared how her heart breaks for others who
place their faith in idols that can't help them. She feels alone because no one
near her has faith in Christ. I handed her a little card with spaces to be
filled with seven names for people God places on her heart to pray for. She was
excited to be able to play a part, through prayer, in the lives of people she
cares about. Every time we go and share a Bible story with her and ask if we
can pray for her she answers, “Sure!”
We loved being a
part of bringing the Good News to her, and we hope to eventually plant a church
she can invest in.
heart means we rarely leave her place empty handed. Even though she doesn’t
have a steady income, she always has something to share, like papayas, oranges,
and bananas. She invites us to go with her to pick the fruit that she wants us
to take home. It is her way of saying thank you.
We are praying
that Maria will have the boldness to generously share Christ like she shares
her fruit; that her family, friends, and neighbors will know her by her
willingness to share Christ; and that one day, there will be a church out in
this little farming community of Achiotes.
By Jennifer Riggs,
OMS missionary, Loja, Ecuador
June 13 2017
Jennifer!” I heard my name being shouted. I turned around to see a
nine-year-old girl with her New Testament open. “Look, I found the memory verse
in my Bible that you taught us last week.” I looked at her New Testament where
she had the verse circled in blue ink. She was so excited to show me how she
had found it on her own.
Christmas program, we gave the kids each a New Testament as a gift, which they
proudly bring with them every week to our Bread and Fish kids club.
Jaclyn, one of our
Loja Challengers who served for a year, started Bread and Fish a year ago while
living in Chaguarpamba. This ministry involved her playing soccer and sharing
Bible stories with them. When she left, we took over what she started and kept
We hold the kids
club every Saturday in the open-air basketball court. Most of the kids come
running or riding their bikes, but some of them are dropped off by their
parents. We sing songs, learn Bible stories and verses, make crafts, play
games, and have snacks. We also have some special events throughout the year,
like a Christmas program and VBS.
The kids are
learning and growing in their faith. They come hungry to learn and desire to be
I was teaching the story about how Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter, and my
heart was filled with joy as I looked at these kids sitting around me with
their open Bibles. I asked for a volunteer to read a verse and was met with a
chorus of “pick me, pick me.” They were so eager to read from their Bible’s
that they didn’t want anyone else to have a turn.
Most of the kids
are between six and ten years old, but there are two older girls who come and
enjoy it as much as the younger kids. One of the older girls, a 16-year-old,
has a desire to be a leader. So, we invest in coaching her. As she grows in her
walk with God and in her ability as a leader, maybe someday she will be leading
the next generation of kids.
God is touching
the hearts of the young.
Riggs, OMS missionary, serving in Loja, Ecuador