April 24 2018
As we continue on the Manta, Ecuador, construction projects, we are now in the phase of constructing homes for families that completely lost their homes in the earthquake in April 2016. We are currently constructing six homes with the help of Arturo Conde and his building crews. Arturo has been such a blessing to us in this process. He has drawn the plans for the new homes, worked with the government to make sure we have stayed within the regulations, bought supplies, and has overseen the construction. Without Arturo, it would be very difficult for us continue the project in a timely process. We are hoping to finish this phase of six homes within the next two months and then continue with our second phase of home construction.
We are so thankful for the groups that have come down to help, but we are still in need of more groups and funding to complete the three-phase project.
If you are interested in being a part of this ministry, please contact Jim Smith at MFM or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate to this project, click here.
Darryl Chambers, Field Director, OMS Ecuador
April 17 2018
In January 2018, a team from the U.S. and Canada traveled to Manta, Ecuador. A major earthquake had hit Manta in 2016 and left the city with some pretty major damage. The main purpose of our trip was to help repair the damage that was done to a church. Pastor Carmelia shared how she had a dream that North Americans would be coming to help at their church. She pondered how this might happen and considered several possibilities, but dismissed each one. Eventually, OMS contacted her and said that a team was coming to help with repairs on the church. This confirmed in her mind that all of this was from God and that he deserved all of the glory!
Upon arriving, we found that some of the walls needed to be repaired. Some of the men from the church were already there working to knock them down. The men in our group jumped in to help finish knocking down the walls. The men from the Manta church were experienced in bricklaying, so we did the grunt work of unloading the sand and gravel off of the truck. We shoveled sand and gravel into bags, and then carried the bags up two flights of stairs.... 34 steps. The cement blocks also had to be removed by hand from the truck and then carried up the stairs as well...34 steps.
We swept and cleaned up debris. The men also poured a small cement pad downstairs. This was all mixed and moved, and done by hand. We made sure to stop and rest and drink. And we counted those steps. Did I mention there were 34?
In the evenings, we enjoyed some great Ecuadorian food, and then shared our life stories. It was good to listen, share, and pray for each other. We also had the privilege of hearing a pastor share his story of the earthquake and how the church worked with OMS to provide a soup kitchen during that time. A time was spent praying for this young man and his family. It is always encouraging to hear how God has worked and is continuing to work in people’s lives!
It was a trip with so many good memories. We loved the international flavor - working together with people from Ecuador, the United States, and Canada. We even learned a little Dutch! Eh?
By Penney Willms, OMS short-term team member from Canada
Do you want to join a future team? Sign up here!
April 13 2018
In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men returned to their hometown of Ziklag to discover the Amalekites had attacked and burned it. The wives and children of David and his men were gone, taken captive by the Amalekite raiding party. With their loved ones missing and their houses destroyed, David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s fighters were so angry and embittered that they talked of stoning him.
In the midst of these horrific circumstances, “David found strength in the Lord his God” (vs 6). After inquiring of the Lord about whether or not to pursue those who had burned the city and taken all of the women, children, and livestock, David and 400 of his men pursued that raiding party of Amalekites. But the text makes it clear that 200 of David’s men stayed behind.
Soon, the 400 returned with abundant plunder, announcing that not one wife, not one child had been lost. All had been miraculously recovered. It was then that troublemakers among David’s men said, “Because they (the 200) did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered” (vs 22).
In response, David put forward a statute for Israel that has stood through many generations: “The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle” (vs 24). While this felt counter-intuitive, even unfair to the men who had risked everything to take back what the Amalekites had stolen, it was a reflection of God’s heart.
Today, there are missionaries who go to distant places and peoples representing Christ. When a person repents and puts their faith in Christ or a new worshiping group is established, who gets the reward? First and foremost, this is for God’s honor, not for the glory of anyone else. When it comes to God-given rewards, those who stand behind that missionary with prayer, giving, and encouragement are just as worthy to receive eternal rewards for what’s accomplished as is the missionary.
This is one of the many lessons from this amazing story in 1 Samuel 31. Being one of the ones who serves in the home office to help support the work of OMS around the world, I’m grateful for this centuries-old statute about shared rewards!
April 9 2018
We’re so thankful for veteran OMS missionaries Jim and Sue Smith, who have agreed to serve as interim coordinators for the Manta, Ecuador, work relief project. The Smiths, who served in Ecuador for nearly 20 years, will serve in this position until Aaron and Kristin Gouge (currently funding) arrive on the field to assume this ministry position full time. Jim and Sue currently live in the U.S, but they travel to Manta as needed with Men for Missions teams. As on-site coordinators, they work closely with the OMS Ecuador field leader, the in-country Manta project manager, and Manta city officials.
Their responsibilities include arranging team accommodations, team work assignments, airport runs, orientation, meal schedules, transportation, currency exchange, healthcare, and cultural/sightseeing trips. They also oversee team dynamics such as daily devotions and debriefing, observing how God is moving in lives of team members and encouraging them in that journey, promoting a willingness to understand the culture and honoring the national coworkers, and challenging team members with ways they can be further involved in MFM/OMS.
The Christian presence in the Manta area is minimal. A long-range plan is to expand beyond the current earthquake-related reconstruction project to include the following types of teams: work, medical, evangelism, and VBS/youth.
Urgent need: Work teams to Manta for the following 2018 dates:
October 27-November 3
We are also beginning to schedule these types of teams for 2019 and beyond. Please consider Manta, Ecuador, as a place to go on your next life-changing journey. We will be happy to help you throughout the process.
Men for Missions
941 Fry Road, P.O. Box A
Greenwood, IN 46142-6599
Office phone: 317.881.6752
April 3 2018
On April 16, 2016, the southern coastal province of Manabi, Ecuador, was hit by a 7.8 earthquake. The death toll was 676, with over 16,000 injured and 2,000 who lost their homes. There was widespread damage in the province, but one of the worst-hit areas was Manta.
One Mission Society responded immediately by taking in bags of supplies, water, and clothes to those in Manta. Along with our local church there, Jesus Christ is the Answer, we ran a two-month soup kitchen, delivering hot lunches to an average of 450 people three days a week.
We also had the opportunity to share the Gospel with hundreds of people each day as we fed them. Many people came to Christ during that time and requested Bible studies. As a result, we have nine new study groups that meet weekly in the areas affected most by the earthquake.
We planned a three-phase ministry of relief work. We have completed phase one of the project, which was helping six churches with rebuilding and repairing the damage from the earthquake.
We are currently in phase two, which is the rebuilding of homes that were completely destroyed. We have the approval to begin building six properties. When we began this project, we had no idea of all of the red tape that would be required by the government. We praise God for sending us Bolivar Conde, an Ecuadorian architect who has taken over as the project manager. He began construction on the first three houses in March. We are praying that God will provide the funds so that we will be able to build 9 more houses, which will complete our initial goal of 15 homes.
Our final phase will be reparations made to homes that were not destroyed but that had severe damage. These homes are habitable but still need major repairs. We are hoping to be able to carry on phase two and three simultaneously.
There are two main needs that we have to help complete this project:
- We are currently seeking groups who would like to come to Manta to help us with phases two and three. Connect here!
- We need funds to help complete the project. Give here!
We are so thankful to all who have offered their time and funds thus far. It is amazing to see what God has done in Manta, not only with the rebuilding of homes but also the restoration of lives. Outreach to those who lost so much in the earthquake continues, and the church is growing.
If you would like to help in any way, please contact Jim Smith, serving with Men for Missions: email@example.com.