Tuesday, February 9
In over 530 blog posts to date, I have never blogged on "the team" we work with! Of course their stories have been shared and referred to many times over the years, but never have I actually blogged about the entire group of men and women that make up our church planting team.
In the above photo, taken yesterday, six of our team are missing. Marcos was outside working on his car when the picture was taken. Mercedes was at home recuperating from an eye surgery. I don't know where Juán was. Manuel and Esperanza are out doing evangelism in the southern part of the country trying to start a new church near the Peruvian border. Fabiola couldn't be there today (she is our prayer coordinator), and Linda (my wife) was at home teaching our daughter in home school.
Linda, Barbara, and myself are all from Texas. The rest of our team are Ecuadorians. Except for Julieta, all were either won to Christ through discipleship and church planting efforts, or were trained in one of our church planting training schools.
We have been meeting every Monday afternoon for many years now. Over time, some have moved on, and others have taken their place. Our meetings usually last three hours with most of the time listening to each other's exciting stories about what God is doing. We seldom get around to taking care of "business", so those matters are generally taken care of by Geovanny and myself on the way home in the car after the meeting.
Approximately 80 churches have been planted to date by the individuals pictured above. When taking into account all the people trained by those in the photo, the number of church plants swells into the hundreds.
Click on the linked names below for a related story about that person(s). All of these are great stories and worth clicking on to read (at least I think so!)
Our team leader is Geovanny. He is the tall young man standing to my right. I personally do not know of a more gifted church planter/trainer and sold-out believer to Jesus Christ than this dear brother and best friend.
Barbara is the other Texas missionary here in Guayaquil, third to the left, who has served for 23 years with the IMB. She has a ministry working with women engaged in prostitution.
On the far left is Julieta. She served ten years as a church planting missionary in Asia, but is currently working as our mobilizer to mobilize Ecuadorians into missions, and in charge of our Guayas Para Cristo project.
José met Zarai (standing to the left of Barbara) in Peru last year. In Nov/09 they got married, and are now preparing to go back to the jungles of Peru to work as a newlywed couple with the Ashenika, an unreached, indigenous People Group.
Marlene is one of the most gifted evangelists I know. She has been used to disciple many people to the Lord and start new churches. Two of her disciples are Medardo and his wife Mónica. I have written many stories in the past couple of years about these two. Currently, they are working with five different house churches started in their neighborhood, and on weekends travel to the neighboring province of Manabí for a new church plant they started near the town of Paján.
Felipe, Bladimir, Pedro, and Juán are all church planters and trainers. Three of the four have begun working out in the provinces on weekends starting simple churches in areas where there is little or no evangelical work.
Marcos, along with his wife Tania (she is the one holding the little girl) are very engaged in evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.
Mariana was part of the very first house church training school we did back in July 2000. She has been faithful all these years to travel every weekend out to a small village where she started a church. She continues to evangelize and disciple those in the village.
There are so many stories that could be told about each of these. All are my "heroes" and I have the greatest admiration and respect for each member of our team.
Which story linked to an individual did you like the best? I would love to share with our team some of your comments about their stories. It would thrill them more than you can imagine!
Would you take a moment to just pray over us all? Gracias!