This Thanksgiving we were blessed to get to know a group of short term missionaries from Colorado, North Dakota and New York. We spent the morning in prayer and preparation. This was a wonderful experience to receive a message in English and to be able to worship without having to translate in our heads.
In the afternoon, we split into two groups. Justin and I went to a local public hospital where we handed out drinks, popcorn, prayer, hugs and more. It was a huge step for myself to go out and approach total strangers while speaking Spanish. For both of us, everything was changed just by seeing those people eager and wanting to be prayed for. It was also amazing to be with both short term missionaries, 40/40 missionaries and local leaders from the church who were new believers themselves, all who were more than willing to step outside their comfort zones, strike up conversations with total strangers and ask questions such as “can I pray for you.” We ran out of cups and bags of popcorn pretty quickly, but there seemed to be an endless supply of people who were eager to receive God’s message of love.
That night, we had a wonderful turkey dinner. It had everything that we have had in the states and was prepared by the local cluster coordinator in Ambato as well as some locals. On Saturday, we were able to be a part of another ministry in which we went to a local park and university and spread the message that God could break through our sins, problems and addictions. For our illustration we had boards that people could break (karate style) with their fists. Before they stepped up to break the boards, we would have conversations about things in their life they wanted God to help them get rid of and how only God could help us do this. If they wanted to continue with this they could take a board and write on it what they wanted out of their lives. Being able to share God and my testimony in Spanish was a huge step and realization for both of us how far we have come in learning the language. Though our prayers were short, it meant so much to be able to pray for others in their own language. Examples of things written on the signs included: money, drugs, alcohol, fear, lack of faith, relational problems and more. I have no idea the amount of people we prayed for that afternoon, (I do know about forty boards were broken) but it was amazing to see and be a part of.
This was really the first time we have been able to take part in an activity with Extreme and it was the biggest blessing. God also worked miracles through in us and the people of Ambato this week. Because of our language study there were many times that we were the translators and prayed and explained about God to many people on the streets. Our spanish is not perfect, but God was working with us and knew that the correct message was getting across to the people we were talking with. The short term team was there for two weeks and we are glad that we were able to experience their last weekend with them. We were able to see the church moving in Ambato and the leadership that has taken place there. We heard multiple testimonies from new believers whose lives have been forever changed and really were able to see first hand what the Lord has been doing through Extreme Nazarene. Our walk with God also has taken huge steps with this trip. We saw and experienced God like never before in our lives and it reaffirmed that we are exactly where God wants us to be.
Some Stats from this short term team:
New decisions for Christ: 65
New contacts for the church: 86
Hours of prayer: 331
Hours of impact: 760
These statistics do not even begin to explain the way that God is moving in Ambato. Please if you read all the way to the bottom of our huge long blog post, please remember this church and city in your prayers. Please keep in your prayers for the new leaders who are emerging and adjusting to their roles in the church and for the new contacts that the short term missionaries were able to reach as well as those 65 new believers.