We are so thankful for the successful ministry week the NILI staff and students recently experienced. God used them to share His love through ministry events and community service.
One of the unique indigenous nations on the Pacific cost of Ecuador is the Tsáchila, also called the Colorado. Their distinctive appearance includes the painted faces of the people and the red-painted hair of the men. On Saturday, the group painted a church at Congóma, a Tsáchila village. While they were there, they were able to share lunch with a Colorado man and learned about his tribe and culture.
On Sunday, they participated in the church service at the church on the Nazarene campgrounds in Santo Domingo. The NILI group sang the hymn Great Is Your Faithfulness, and Lucy Olivo (Assistant to the NILI Director) preached a wonderful message to encourage the church. After her sermon, the students performed a skit about all of the sins and problems that tempt us away from God. To see a video of their skit, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_QZrIFRdmM. During the altar call, four people accepted Christ as their Savior. God was present and moved an in a great way during the morning service.
Monday through Wednesday they worked in the Juan Elujio 1 community. They painted the church and worked on the foundation of a cistern. As a part of the Compassion International program, this church’s cistern is a huge help to the community because the neighborhood doesn’t have any water except for what is delivered in a tank truck. While working, they also fell in love with the local children, many of which would come to the church after school asking the NILIs to play with them. The NILIs held a Wednesday night service in the church. Josue, one of the NILI students, preached and the other students sang and performed their drama.
On Thursday, they painted a church in Juan Elujio 2, which was the former church of one of our Seminary students. Once again, there was no running water, but they did have a well. Although the novelty of sending down a bucket and pulling it up to get water was fun for a day, the NILIs quickly realized how difficult and tedious this would be all the time.
On Friday, they enjoyed a day of fun and relaxation at the hacienda (farm) owned by the family of Evelyn Rodriguez, NILI Director of Spanish. They loaded into the back of a large truck, ducking palm branches and enjoying the amazing views of the hacienda. They then hiked to two waterfalls and had a picnic lunch after a bit of swimming! They tasted a lot of new fruits, cacao (from which chocolate comes) passion fruit, and mandarins. It was a special day to enjoy God’s creation and the great diversity of His creation in Ecuador. On the trip back to Quito, they visit Mindo, a small town in the rain forest, and toured a butterfly garden and a chocolate factory.
The students saw God at work in their lives and those around them during this trip. The NILIs gained a new understanding of what it means to be the body of Christ and of service. We pray that God will continue to work in their lives and to develop their gifts and talents as they focus on Him.