(there are tons of pictures you can enjoy here!)
The month of July brought sixty-six North American short-term missionaries from eight different states to the cities of Ibarra and Ambato, Ecuador. All of our short term projects with Extreme have five main goals: 1) make an impact in the city or cities in which they are serving by seeing people come to Christ and the church grow in its’ presence in the city, 2) bless the church leaders and pastoral family, 3) bless the missionaries on the ground, 4) bless the physical church building and surrounding neighborhood and 5) see a transformation in the short-term volunteers themselves.
All five of these goals were accomplished in both cities, but in various forms. In both cities, significant time was spent in prayer for the church, missionaries, leaders, and city of service. A half-day was spent in each city doing what is called a Prayer Adventure, in which we go out into the city to strategic locations and cover the city in prayer, using the specific prompts for prayer already provided by the missionaries on the ground. This allows the short-term missionaries to know and understand the city in which they are serving, get to know some of the missionaries serving in the city, get to know some of the other short-term volunteer. Also, both Ibarra and Ambato were blessed with the opportunity to offer free medical care to various neighborhoods and areas of the city.
In Ibarra, many different events were held, including visiting a nursing home, home for the disabled, an orphanage, and a hospital. There was also a time to promote the church in the community. This included short-term volunteers holding carnivals for children in the area near the church, free nail painting for ladies, hosting a soccer tournament, standing at intersections wearing wigs and holding signs about the church or sharing the love of Christ. There was also a breakdance competition in the main park of the city, during which over 800 people learned of the church’s presence in the city. In this event, the gospel message was shared, and several came to know Christ as Lord and Savior. Finally, the team served the city by cleaning up and painting a park near the church.
In Ambato, the strategy was to focus more on one principal event. That was a free event at a theatre downtown. We brought in a pastor (Ferney) from the Cali, Columbia House of Prayer Church of the Nazarene, who is a former member of the Columbian drug cartel. The “Night of Great Hope” included a message from Pastor Ferney, worship, dramas, and prizes. Over 400 were in attendance, and 76 made decisions for Christ. The days leading up to the event were spent handing out flyers in different parts of the city (parks, plazas, hospitals, bus terminal, markets, etc.) as well as praying for people while at those locations.
Statistics from the project include the following (combining the numbers from both service cities):
Prayer hours: 1206
Med clinic patients seen: 617
Impact hours: 4775
New Contacts Made: 676
New Decisions for Christ: 103
While these are not the only way to measure success, it is obvious that the Lord’s hand of blessing was over the Extreme Staff and short-term missionaries. The missionaries on the ground are still calling and visiting with those 676 new contacts made. Please pray that their calls and visits would bear supernatural, eternal fruit that will last.
Chris currently serves as the Cluster Support and Short Term Missions Manager in Ambato, Ecuador.