The Guayas Mestizo Team in Guayaquil is made up of ten Ecuadorian church planters and two IMB missionaries. Last week we were privileged to have Diego Trujillo, Dave Johnson and Curtis Sergeant from E3 Partners come down for three days of intense CPM training.
On Monday afternoon of this week our team met to debrief and share with one another what we had learned and experienced in the training.
What seemed to summarize everyone's thoughts was something Curtis shared the first day about immediate, radical, and costly obedience. His story of a Chinese woman who had attended a missions training, and ended up leaving the training that very night to go to Myanmar, greatly impacted our guys.
As each person shared what they learned, I began taking notes. What follows is a brief summary of what was shared by various team members...
MONICA learned she didn't have to always be the one leading. It was OK to delegate to one of the newer believers she was discipling. After the end of the conference she went home to Balerio Estacio and began sharing with a neighboring family she has been discipling all that she had learned at the training. She taught them that rabbits reproduce a lot quicker than elephants, and shared with them how they could start rabbit churches!
PEDRO latched on to the idea that it is "easier to give birth, than raise the dead." He too connected with the idea of the importance of passing on to someone else what he himself was learning. It is not learned until it is shared with someone else. Pedro confessed the Lord "broke him" during one of the sessions. This past weekend he returned to an abandoned work he had started last year about an hour outside of Guayaquil in Cruce Bueno. He met with the believers he had led to the Lord last year. He asked their forgiveness for having left them alone in the care of another pastor. This other pastor had criticized Pedro for being "unqualified" and "unauthorized" to start a church. Pedro had become discouraged and stopped discipling the new believers. After the training, Pedro went back to Cruce Bueno to take up where he had left off. He also shared that his wife had listened to Curtis during a live TV interview. After hearing what he had to say, she decided maybe her husband was doing the right thing after all, and now wants to work alongside him in the works he has started in Sergio Toral, Monte Sinai, and in Bastion Popular where they live.
FELIPE shared he'd had a lot of conflict with his wife because he had decided to leave the established church they had always attended. During the conference, she "saw the light." This past weekend, Felipe convinced his brother, Vicente, to accompany him to a remote village in the neighboring province of Manabi. They got up at 5am on Saturday morning with only $10 in his pocket and took off to La Soledad (five hours away.) They took with them several bags of used clothing and began looking for a "person of peace". Right before dark, they met a woman who was open and receptive to the Gospel who invited them to use her home to start teaching God's Word. They plan on going every weekend until the church is planted.
JUAN (far left in photo) was convicted by the Holy Spirit during the three days of training to say "yes" to the Lord as well. He had never had a problem with starting small groups in the city. But working out in the province was something he had long been resisting. During the training, the Spirit made it clear to Juan he was to go to Naranjal. Right after the sessions ended on Wednesday afternoon, he left for Naranjal. In his first visit, he made found his "person of peace" and had his first meeting in the home of a woman whose son Juan had visited in the hospital a while back.
BLADIMIR is a traditional church pastor transitioning into a network of simple house churches in a densely populated sector of the city. After the conference, he too, did not delay, but gathered his church together and began teaching the entire congregation everything he had understood and learned during the training sessions. He expects everyone in his church to now go out and plant at least one other new church!
GEOVANNY was sick, and unable to come to our Monday afternoon meeting. However, on Thursday and Friday night after the training had ended, he told me he had already begun to train three young women in his own house church in just what they needed to do. I don't know if they went out this past weekend; but assume if they didn't, they will certainly do so in the coming days.
To keep this post from becoming too long, there isn't time to share the stories from the others in our network who attended. Suffice it to say, the world would have long ago come to Christ if all had the same level of obedience as those on our team. The key is not knowledge of what needs to be done; but obedience to use what we already have.
I love the fact that while Geovanny and myself are trying to figure out the best way to package and implement what we received; our guys aren't waiting around for the plan, they're just doing it!