Thursday, October 16
To live or die for Ecuador's Quichua
The following article entitled, Willing to die, he brings new life to his people, was written by Dea Davidson for the International Mission Board, SBC and is featured along with the Commissionstories.com video at the end in promotion of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions this year.
They came for him in the afternoon.
With torches in hand, 250 of Gabriel Mugmal’s neighbors forced him and his family from their home perched on a mountainside in Ecuador’s Andes. Gasoline trickled down Gabriel’s face and arms as the mob prepared them for a brutal beating, then burning. The only way to save his family was to recant what he believed.
For months, the then 27-year-old Gabriel had preached from house to house the newfound faith he and his family had embraced. He had spoken openly about the sin of idol worship that permeated homes and churches in the area.
Enraged, the crowd demanded that Gabriel renounce his words.
The thought, “Don’t burn me,” raced through Gabriel’s mind. But he wasn’t afraid and began preaching to the crowd from Genesis.
Moment of truth
Then the circling mob fell silent.
The priest, moved by Gabriel’s willingness to die for Jesus, took Gabriel’s Bible, raised it before the crowd and declared freedom to preach the Gospel.
“The Word of God shall be preached throughout the entire world,” he shouted. “You all are doing a good thing. Keep preaching the Gospel so that everyone can know Christ.”
As the crowd dropped their stones and sticks and trickled away, some families remained. “We want that,” they said. “How can we receive Christ?”
More than 250 now worship
Today, more than 250 villagers meet for church each Sunday less than 200 yards from the site of Gabriel’s near execution in 1982. The people of Naranjito are a light among the 300,000 Quichua people of northern Ecuador. Gabriel and those he has led to Christ have started approximately 30 Bible studies and churches in the villages that dot neighboring ridges and canyons.
“He literally took the Great Commission in Matthew 28 that it was his responsibility to go to other communities and just talk to them,” says missionary Darrell Musick.
The Quichua live in thatched-roof dwellings on farms at elevations up to 14,000 feet. Darrell and Rogene Musick work alongside Quichua believers to share the Gospel, provide training and materials, and use their ranching background to offer agricultural help.
Gabriel walked three hours to ask help
The missionary couple met Gabriel in 2004. He knocked on their door after walking three hours across mountain trails to their home.
“God has sent me here,” he said to the new missionaries. “I want you to train me to lead my people.”
Within months, the Musicks trained Gabriel in church planting and discipling. He then asked them to train his fellow church members at Iglesia Bautista Cordero de Dios (Lamb of God Baptist Church). Today, more than 200 have been trained.
As the people of Naranjito go about their day – shearing sheep or roasting cuy (guinea pig) – Gabriel blends in, looking much like any other farmer of the region. Only his ever-present Bible signifies his role as a spiritual leader.
Faithful, humble discipler
“He is probably the most faithful, most humble discipler I’ve ever met in my life,” Darrell says. “When you give him instruction, or materials or Bibles, they don’t stay in his hands long.”
Gabriel and members of 27 church-planting teams he coordinates trek into Quichua communities each week to plow new ground for Bible studies that lead to reproducing house churches. On a bulletin board outside Cordero de Dios church, Gabriel posts names of villages the teams visit. Seeing their progress helps him coordinate a comprehensive church-planting strategy among these unreached people.
By hosting regular seminars he and fellow believers have trained more than 350 people scattered throughout the region. Gabriel’s prayer is to teach Bible studies and church-planting methods, to “quit crossing our arms and sitting,” as he says. “We’ve got work to do in Imbabura province.”
Darrell adds: “He wants every community to know the way of Christ. He doesn’t care where they are or who they are – just whoever will allow him to tell God’s plan for their lives.”
• Go as a volunteer to help the Quichua reach fellow Quichua for Christ. Learn more about opportunities in South America. Find general volunteer opportunities.
• Give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® to provide vital support to the IMB’s more than 5,300 missionaries worldwide, including the Musicks.
• Pray for the Musicks and the Imbabura Quichua people during the 2008 Week of Prayer Nov. 30-Dec. 7.
to see the video of this powerful story.