Ecuador Trip Report
November 7 – December 27, 2007
Dear Brothers and Sisters and Friends,
Greetings in the Wonderful Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We’ve been granted the opportunity of having a short-term, ten day mission trip to Ecuador. Missionary Tim Anderson from the Assemblies of God assisted by Pastor Luis Montana, hosted and arranged this mission. The team was composed of six men: Constantin Lupancu, William Ripple, George Ieremciuc, Viorel Gromic, Edgar Garza and Adrian Greab. We arrived in the city of Quito, Ecuador on Tuesday, November 27. The team distributed 240 complete Spanish Bibles in the prisons and also at the Teen Challenge Center.
Wednesday morning the team went to Quito Number 1 prison (with maximum security) where they preached the Gospel on one of the wings in a courtyard. The prisoners have an active church of their own and when we arrived inside the inmates were already singing. Because many men exercise in the courtyard, the Gospel was heard by those who were not even a part of the church service. There were about 15 people who repented and prayed to give their lives to Jesus Christ. The guards are very strict with the foreigners and other visitors alike. We weren’t allowed to have belts, hats, and cameras. That afternoon we drove 5 hours from Quito to Puyo, which is the last city before you drive down towards the Amazon jungle. Also on the way we saw a couple of small eruptions from one of the active volcanoes in Ecuador. This road is lined with volcanoes.
Thursday morning we drove to the city of Shell where there is a small airport from which all the planes leave from the Amazon jungle. This famous road has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. In the city of Shell just across from the airport is the house that Nathanael Saint built (Through Gates of Splendor). He was one of missionaries killed in 1956 by the Auca Indians in the Amazon. The Aucas had killed strangers for centuries. Other Indians fear them but the missionaries were determined to reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The only way to find them was by flying over their territory with a small plane. Five missionaries that came to reach them in 1956, were speared to death by the Aucas.
For us, it took 25 minutes to fly from Shell to the Shuar Indian village of Kuakash (an Indian tribe that were also once headhunters) where we ministered. It would’ve taken about a month to walk there. We preached the gospel to the villagers and one teenager prayed to receive Jesus Christ. When I asked them of their main needs, their response was “medicine”. We were not equipped with medicine, but we know the source of healing and well-being; which is Jesus Christ. After I presented the gospel of Jesus Christ for the purpose of salvation and well-being, I exhorted them to turn their eyes to the Cross; where Jesus suffered the punishment for our sins. “..He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement needful to obtain peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes that wounded Him we are healed and made whole.” (Isaiah, 53:5). This exact verse had such great impact on them, that they paid very close attention. They prayed to receive healing for their sick bodies.
One purpose of the trip was to see the possibility of sending future missions team to build schoolrooms and other projects. The people in the Amazon Jungle are very poor and many of the children need medicine as well. The church floor was full of biting ants when we got there and we had to pour gasoline to kill them (although some survived). Also we prayed for all the sick people who lined up in front of the church. Please keep all the people living in Kuakash in your prayers.
Friday morning they went to Teen Challenge, also run by Tim Anderson, in Quito. We testified and preached to the many residents there. Friday night we went to a prayer meeting at Tim’s church “Jesus Never Fails” where there was a great move of God’s Spirit during the 5-hour service. Our translator Edgar Garza testified that when he entered the Chapel the presence of the Holly Spirit touched his heart, in such a way that he never experienced in his life before. He broke into tears and couldn’t explain what was happing, but what he felt that night he will never forget. The touch of Jesus Christ on his heart made him realize the mighty power of the Holy Spirit of God. A miracle happens when you open the door of your heart and let him lead you. Edgar is thankful for going on this trip and for every person he met and the transformation of his life forever. Many members were touched by God’s spirit and they broke down with tears of repentance. The gospel presented to them from [2 Chronicles 7:14] “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” This verse impacted and motivated them to a deep thirst to search for God.
Saturday afternoon we went together with the Teen Challenge Evangelism team to the Santo Domingo Plaza in downtown Quito. We passed out 750 Gospel Tracks and four people came forward to proclaim Christ as Savior. There are many drug addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes that frequent this plaza. We reached them with the gospel of Jesus Christ for the purpose of restoring their lives because Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
Sunday morning we went again to the jail to another wing where we conducted a church service in a very small room. It was so packed with people that some of the inmates had to stand up. The gospel we presented was about the disobedience and rebellion of Jonah. The illustration was presented in such a way that they felt the same way Jonah felt in the belly of the fish. Along with the fact that they were also in a very tight room was an irony. The application recommended from this message to them was to turn to God in repentance and make him Lord of their life. From amongst our team, four members are Romanian and we were surprised to find two Romanian inmates in this jail; far away from Romanian soil. One of the Romanian inmates broke up into tears and ran to the altar, where he repented and re-dedicated his life to Jesus. Many other inmates ran to the altar to receive restoration and spiritual freedom in the Name of Jesus Christ. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” [John 8:36] Even though they were still imprisoned, they received deliverance from the bondage of sin. “To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.” [Jonah 2:6-7]. Everyone on the team had a chance to share the word of God for three and a half hours. We prayed for them and all the inmates present so that God will work in their lives. Sunday night we went to Tim’s house for prayer and fellowship.
Monday and Tuesday morning I presented the Chaplains for Christ International Training Seminar at the Teen Challenge Center to twenty-seven pastors, leaders and students. God worked in such a great way and ignited a great spiritual fire that several students were baptized with the Holy Spirit and some of them dedicated themselves to evangelism and prison ministry. This was a wonderful time spent together in God’s presence. God moved in such a special way in those days; yet within the city outside the Teen Challenge Center everyone else was drinking and celebrating a holiday similar to America’s July 4th, yet much wilder. But God brought true joy and direction to the very same souls that had a heart towards the worldly holiday outside. With the Holy Spirit’s power, they were connected the real source of joy and happiness. God met their expectation and more and above what we thought or asked for. ”Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” [Ephesians 3:20-21]. Monday afternoon we went to Rucu Pichincha Mountain on a trolley 13,000 feet above sea level where we had a splendid view of Quito. We also said a prayer to thank God that He will bless all the work that was done on this mission trip.
Wednesday we went again to the maximum-security jail to yet a different wing where we had fellowship with the inmates in song and prayer and gospel. We preached the gospel to all the people present there including some families and visitors to the inmates. At the end of the service about forty people came for the final prayer invitation to change their lives through Jesus Christ.
Thursday was our free day and together with Tim and his family we went to the centerline of the earth, the Equator. It was a very wonderful experience for all of us. Thursday night Tim’s family, Joe’s family and our team went to a restaurant for one last night of fellowship. We appreciate very much what Tim and Joe did for us and we pray to God they will be blessed. And also let’s keep in prayer the whole country of Ecuador that the light of Jesus Christ will penetrate and God would work miracles in this spiritual dark country. We thank God for everything He has done on this trip through weak and unimportant vessels that went onto this mission in obedience of God.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.