The following article by IMB staff writer Marie Travis is about the beginnings of our house church work in Guayaquil seven years ago. It appears as a July/07 IMB news story here.
As he left the building, Guy Muse, strategy coordinator for the Guayas Mestizo people of Ecuador, felt someone tap him on the back. That someone turned out to be a pastor – and an answer to prayer.
“I hear you guys are willing to come and help train people in evangelism and church planting. Could you come to our church and train our people?” the pastor asked Muse.
Before this encounter, Muse and his team had been discouraged by the lack of church-planting opportunities among the Guayas Mestizo, a population segment of the Ecuadorian Mestizo people group. The population in this area is 3.3 million; however, only 3 percent are evangelized.
“When we first began our church planting back in 2000, the Lord led us to Luke 10,” Muse says. “This is where Jesus sends out the 70. In the first nine verses are a series of instructions Jesus gives the 70.”
The first instruction to the disciples was to pray for workers. So the team began praying for workers in March 2000. July came and with it no response to their prayers. The team began to question whether they had accurately interpreted Jesus’ literal command.
“If [the command in Luke 10] was applicable for us today, where were the laborers?” Muse questioned. “Just as we were about to give up on this approach to find workers to train, the Lord opened a door.”
Muse could barely contain his excitement the day that pastor tapped him on the shoulder.
“[I] remained cool and took out my blank agenda and checked to see if we had any open available dates,” Muse said of his empty calendar. “It didn’t take long to agree on a date and time for the training.”
When the team arrived at the church with their box of training materials, the group of new trainees was not what they had expected.
Among the members were several elderly women, a blind woman, another woman who had physically lost her voice and could only whisper, a 2-month-old Christian and a man whose house recently had been burned to the ground.
Despite these beleaguering circumstances, the team presented the church-planting materials to the small group faithfully gathered there.
“God works in mysterious ways. It was more a lesson for us as a team than it was anything else,” Muse said.
Within eight weeks that resilient group of believers had begun six new Bible studies. Today – seven years later – four of those six are active churches ...
Mission leaders are encouraged by the evidence they see of an emerging church-planting movement among the Guayas Mestizo people... --story by Marie Travis