We began a 10-trip by visiting Riobamba. Here we did more tourism than ministry, where we enjoyed a huge outdoor market and a trip up Chimborazo. Quickly, though, we left tourist activities behind and God gave us many opportunities in the towns of Alausi, SiqSiq and Cuenca to minister.
While in Alausi, we invited people to the church service on Sunday, and we participated in that service by singing Open the Eyes of My Heart in English and Spanish. A group of the NILIs also performed a skit to the song Everything. The pastor of the church in Alausi is working with 5 different church plants, and he took us to one of the communities on the side of a mountain where we spent time with the church people and had an activity time with the children with songs, games, and the story of Noah. It was a great time to visit with these people. The weather cooperated and it didn’t start to rain until we were ready to leave. We had roughly 50 kids and adults participate in this event.
From Alausi, we headed to Cuenca, where we were welcomed by the church with a worship service that was unforgettable. While in Cuenca, we painted a church and we helped finish putting a new roof on the District Center. We traveled out to SiqSiq with the District Superintendent and held a Kids Club and participated in the Thursday night church service that was amazing. We packed about 50-75 people into a tiny room with people sitting on the floor, on laps and even standing outside looking in the windows. We held the Kids Club first and had roughly 25 kids participating; these kids were so excited and engaging during the program. They loved the singing and they filled that tiny church with their beautiful voices and the sweet sound of their laughter! It was a great time! The NILIs lead the church service—we even had one of our NILIs preach a message that God laid on her heart. Two people accepted Christ. It was an amazing time worshipping with our brothers and sisters in the tiny church in SiqSiq!
On Wednesday night, the NILIs led church at the District Center in Cuenca and afterwards we had the Ecuadorian version of a potluck. People from the church brought typical dishes to share—they even brought us a live chicken in the morning that some of the NILIs killed and cooked to make chicken and rice! It was very yummy! Saturday we led a Kids Club in the District Center with about 50 kids and parents. In the afternoon and evening we did evangelism with the youth of the church. We went out to a local park and shared Christ with the people there.
God worked in this trip, not only in the places that NILI went to share through kids ministry, painting, leading worship or evangelism, but God worked in the lives of each of the NILIs and the leaders. We were truly God’s instruments and He used us to do His work and to share His message. We hope that we lived out 1 Corinthians 3:5-9:
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. . . . We are God’s fellow workers.