Sunday, September 20
My favorite North Carolina church
FBC-Lewisville is my new favorite church in North Carolina! This past week a medical team of eight came down to help us plant a new church in Vernaza (Salitre County) as part of the Guayas Cantones for Christ project.
It was our joy to have Les Puryear and his wife Debbie stay in our home. Les is pastor of the church, well-known blogger, and advocate for "small church." During the week Dr. Mark Bardou and his team of nurses Veda, Amy, and Cindy saw and treated 232 patients. Mark's wife, Jane, fitted reading glasses for another 100+. Tara helped coordinate those arriving to be seen by el doctor. Les, along with a team of national youth, shared the Gospel with each person seen by the medical team. In all there were 77 professions of faith. With these new believers, a new church has been planted in Vernaza.
Some might question whether or not a church can truly be planted in only two days time. But many factors were already set into motion long before the Lewisville medical team arrived on the scene this past week.
--For many years prayer has been showered upon Guayas Province (which includes Salitre) by great numbers of local believers on a daily basis. For this trip there were over 1000 people specifically praying.
--Missions minded people. Instead of people being content to hang out in ongoing local church programs, or saying "I can't do this" or "I don't have time for this", people have the spirit of "can I come help and be part of this too?" It is amazing the number of believers, both Stateside and locally, wanting to serve if given a chance. We must be proactive and invite them to join with us in what God is doing to reach the nations.
--Visionary Acts 1:8 leaders such as Carlos Goya, pastor of the Salitre Baptist Church, who even though they are only a new church plant themselves started two years ago, have already grown to over 200 and are intent upon reaching the remaining 160 communities in their Judea (Vernanza is one of those 160 communities in Salitre county.)
--Having clearly defined "persons of peace" such as Luis Ramirez and his family open up their home (actually an hacienda) as a meeting place for the new community church. Luis is a respected local figure. Out of his own resources Luis is providing the space for the new church plant and will likely provide most (if not all) the needed materials for discipleship, Bibles, chairs, etc.
--Intentional church planting. Having the intent of not just 'preaching the Gospel' but planting a church with those hearing the Gospel message. So much of our evangelistic efforts are wasted by not having the clear intention of planting a church with those being exposed to the Gospel.
--Partnering with like-minded brethren. In this case "the team" consisted of a large assortment of local youth from several different churches, the Lewisville eight, three different national churches (Israel BC in Guayaquil, Israel BC in Samborondon, Israel BC in Salitre), several members of our Guayas Mestizo Team, and even a young lady (Gaby) from an Assemblies of God church who translated for Les!
God has given us all the resources we need to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. It is up to us to identify the resources He has entrusted, fit the pieces together, proclaim the Gospel by word (preaching) and deed (eg. medical teams) and add to that a hefty portion of faith and perseverance. The result? A church plant.
Thanks Les, Debbie, Mark, Jane, Amy, Cindy, Veda, Barbara, Linda, Anna Victoria, Julieta, Gaby, Marcos, Rene, Kimberly, Carlos, Luis, Annie, Carolina, Delia, Connie, Ana Mari, Connie, Bryan, the ladies who cooked for us, and those who opened their homes for the Lewisville team. ALL OF YOU DID A GREAT JOB!
While we do not yet have photos up of the trip, if interested, please click on one of the following YouTube videos for images of past work in the area where we were this last week.
Christ has no body now but yours (Ecuador flood relief)
UPDATE: 8pm - Just returned from the first meeting of the new church plant in Vernaza. There were 31 present and one new lady visiting accepted the Lord.