Tuesday, March 11

Carlos and Maria

The church that meets in the home of Carlos and Maria has been meeting now for several years. I first met Carlos when he came to one of our church planting trainings. It was during the third week of lessons that sadly Carlos and María's small cane house burned to the ground leaving them with only the clothes on their backs. Satan figured that would stop any new church planting by this couple. As materially poor as they were, the Lord helped them come up with enough random bamboo slats, wood, and cement to rebuild. From the very beginning they dedicated the "living and dining room" space to function as the area for the meetings of the new church plant.

Today, this is a church that meets seven days per week. Every night the believers gather to comfort one another and share fellowship in the Lord. Those who miss are visited by Carlos and Maria the following day to see why they were not present. Over the years they have baptized many people into their small house church fellowship.

At one of the baptisms that I was invited to, Carlos and Maria together baptized five new believers. It took place in the heat of the day on a dirty little beach on the extreme southern end of the city. I was invited to go and take photos. I was glad to accept and share in their joy.

As 20 members of the church clapped and sang praise choruses at the edge of the water, thunderous loud speakers blasted away salsa, reggaeton and rap music from the various bars that lined the beach area. But nothing could change the joy expressed in their faces and the song coming from their lips.

The competing musics were symbolic of the spiritual battles raging between good and evil for this city. While there was no way to compete with the loud speakers drowning out the sound of the brethren singing, the reality was that Christ had once again defeated Satan. Seemingly, all the loud, vulgar music was Satan's yelling out his discontent of losing five more souls over to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

One of those baptized was an elderly woman who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The church prayed for her and anointed her with oil. The Lord graciously healed her.

After the baptisms, all the church went for a dip in the cool waters of the estero (branch of the sea that snakes its way inland.) One of the sisters brought a 2-liter soft drink along with three disposable plastic cups. All 20 adults plus innumerable kids shared out of the same three cups. Many would suck on the ice for a few seconds before returning it to the cup and allowing the next person to have their cup filled. As an "honored guest" I was given the cup first (thank you, Lord!) Believe it or not, that one 2-liter bottle (and ice in the cup!) "stretched" for everyone to have a full glass of refreshing drink!

Afterwards we went back to Carlos and Maria's for a thin slice of cake in celebration of the baptisms. Eating cake together was a breaking of a church-wide fast. As we ate our cake and more cola, people shared testimonies of the Lord's goodness. I was personally impacted by the vision this tiny church has to reach, not only their community, but the entire city.

Pray for these brothers and sisters. Not one of them that I am aware of has a steady job or way to support their families, yet each remain faithful to the Lord and are out there literally living by faith day by day in the Lord. Times are very tough economically for the country, and our brothers and sisters suffer greatly not knowing from day to day where their next meal will come from. They know what it means to pray, "give us this day our daily bread."

6 comments:

Tim Patterson said...

What a great church! Thanks for sharing their story.

Reminds me of what Paul said... "Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth..."

We will all be surprised one day to find how many churches like this one had more influence and impact in God's kingdom than many of our churches here in the west.

GuyMuse said...

Tim,

Thanks for the comment. I have been out of town a few days and just getting "back in the saddle".

Gabryel Arias said...

"Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth"

I agree with brother Tim - We will all be suprised come the day of the Lord as to whom has obtained the greatest rewards.

I will keep our fellow hermanos en la Fe in prayer, that the Lord supply for all their needs.

Hope all is well brother Guy.

Blessings,

Gabryel A.

GuyMuse said...

Gabryel,

Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your interest and prayers for us.

Gabryel Arias said...

Greetings Brother Guy,

As I was praying for Carlos & Maria and the church of Guayaquil last night, I felt an impression as to how I may be able to assist financially. For those of us in the States who would like to send an offering how could we go about that? Is there a PayPal account or something of the likes, how could we help? I'm currently in the process with my family of relocating from Florida to Texas, but we'd love to see how we may assist.

FYI - for those Brothers in Guayaquil that may have access to the internet, there is a global online business that requires $0.00 capital to start and can be very lucrative with a little hard work and diligence. Here is the link for those brothers that may want to check it out:

http://www.MyInternetBusiness.ws

Bendiciones,

Gabryel Arias & Family

GuyMuse said...

Gabryel,

Thanks for your prayers and concern. What we try to do is channel all giving through a local missions offering. If interested in giving to this offering please email me for details. One of the things we have to be careful with in a country with so many needy people is giving to some while not giving to all those who work with us. That is one reason we have set up the missions offering to avoid any resentment that might occur when some are receiving and others not. Thanks again for your love and concern for the people of Ecuador.