The following story was written for Baptist Press 12-18-08 by Dea Davidson, an overseas correspondent with the International Mission Board. José Chillambo, is one of the young men the Lord called out of the Guayaquil house churches as an international missionary. José currently serves with the Xtreme team in the jungles of Perú.
GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador (BP)--When young people consider joining the International Mission Board’s South American Xtreme team to take the Gospel to difficult-to-access areas, they might be drawn by the “extreme” aspects of the training – learning to build rafts, cooking over a campfire and surviving in the mountains.
But for Ecuadorian missionary Jose Chillambo, the team’s unconventional skill set is nothing new – he grew up in a tropical rain forest. He wants to train alongside the team to learn the skills he needs to touch the hearts of those living on the extreme edges of lostness.
“The idea of going out to the ends of the earth appeals to him,” says missionary Guy Muse.
Chillambo has grown up spiritually in a house church network in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where Texas natives Guy and his wife, Linda, serve as church-planting trainers and mentors.
His first day as a new believer, Chillambo traveled with a pastor to remote mountain villages to find people who had never heard about Christ. That day, he was called to missions.
“What struck me was in the city there are many, many Christians crawling all over each other,” Chillambo says. “No one wanted to go out to the extreme edges, the countryside. I was really touched because no one was willing to go. My passion is not to travel to another country but to go where people have never heard the Gospel.”
While Chillambo was starting house churches in the coastal city and serving as a national partner to Southern Baptist missionaries, Muse suggested Xtreme Team training to prepare him for his calling. The Afro-Ecuadorian accepted the challenge, but with help. More than 100 house churches in Guayaquil are supporting him by raising $200 – a collection of $1 and $2 individual tithes – each month to pay for Chillambo’s training, food and supplies.
“We’ve accepted that challenge to come up with that money,” Muse says of the house churches. “We’ve been to Judea, Samaria and now we’re in the uttermost parts of the earth.”