Monday, August 12, 2013

First Visit to Ibarra, Ecuador and Great News about God's Plan for us...

We made our first trip to Ibarra this last weekend and it was so wonderful!  For those of you who know us well, you know we like countryside and calm more than the closeness of city life... well, God has called us into city  life and more closeness than we ever imagined we would face as a family!  In just three days most of our team will be arriving in Quito and moving in with us!  We have lived on regular-neighborhood-side-by-side-houses streets for about a year and a half now, but in this stuff, God has blessed us and continues to bless us with sweet family time in spite of the 24 hour working day, patches of warm grass, climbing trees, flowers, and here in Ecuador the most incredible collection of hummingbirds that hang outside our dining room window all day long. Which brings me back to our visit to Ibarra this last weekend... it is the calmest little busy city!  It has a neat and quaint busy little city center with homemade ice cream, plazas, Sunday afternoons in the park, a big open market for fruits and vegetables, and silent nights.  We could imagine our team and evangelism in the streets... kids running to hear about Jesus in the park...  It  is also filled with massive saint shrines that just make me uneasy and so eager to share with them something of real power in the great I AM.  I don't quite know how to describe the strangeness of these shrines.  They are large wooden dolls, painted, adorned, lit up, prayed to, worshiped and expected to bring blessing. I recently learned that in Catholic teachings they completely leave out the following verses in their version of the 10 Commandments:
"You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." Ex 20:4-6. 
We are seriously so excited to plant a church there...and not just any that is truly committed to God, discipleship, loving others, prayer, service, tithing, and kingdom work!  I can't stop thinking about the warnings to the 7 churches in Revelation... what kind of churches are out there right now?  Is it possible that some of us are missing the whole point of Jesus' words to us?  I know I want to hear from my Lord, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  I want to really KNOW my God, to hear his call in my heart, his approval, his life, love and forgiveness.  I want to feed his sheep

Already the mission in Ibarra has begun...  we have another trip planned to Ibarra to scout locations for the new church plant and possible houses for the team and an apartment for the pastor.  Since our arrival in Quito, Cole and I have been praying with Yoan and Astrid, our pastor and his wife, over the 4040's, the people in Ibarra, funding for the whole project in all categories, and for the right locations in Ibarra.  The goal is for us to have a complete team of 10 4040's and right now we are short.  I have asked you to pray for us in this matter previously and I ask you again to pray with fervency on our behalf.  We need 2 North American men to join our team, 1 South American male, and 1 South American female in addition to complete funding for one of our NA females, Rebecca Fahrni, who has struggled to find those willing to obey God's call in supporting her.  If you know of any young men that are excellent leaders and called to international missions, we would love for them to consider if God is calling them to Ibarra. Please know that your prayers are so, so important. We know God will provide every need, just as he has up to this point and this situation we are in nowncall out in us another leap of faith, a trusting that though we see obstacles ahead, to God they are moments for glory and power that only come through Him.

***Just as I am writing this, Cole returned home from a leadership conference here in Quito with amazing news...  The whole day was filled with incredible sermons, lessons and stories.  The very last speaker, Doug Carter shared on generosity in our living...more than just our finances, but true generosity in our spirits. He was being translated by Christian Sarmiento, the Regional Director for South America.  He translated the last bits of Doug Carter's message then continued talking.  He talked about Extreme and the need for more missionaries to serve in Ibarra and Manta.  He waited and began singing until about 6 young men came forward to the altar to answer the call! God is so good all the time!! Oh my goodness we are humbled.***

Help us get 4040's to the field!  If you have influence in your district's NYI, youth group, college, college group, spread the word.  Your invitation for someone to check out Extreme and join us in Ibarra could be the very thing God is planning to use to get us our last 2 North American males!

I know you all are invested in this project along with us and I ask that you not neglect praying for the ministry and that God would send more workers to the field for harvest.  Let us be churches and people that SEND and GO when God calls!

Seriously, it is a tremendous blessing to get to know our leaders like Christian Sarmiento and Dr. David Graves and both of their sweet wives (not pictured here), The Rich's and Howard's and many others.  We as a church are in very good hands...first God's and in those that lead us from within the body.  They are truly humble servants and amazing examples of disciples.

Some pictures of Ibarra...our soon to be home : )






IMBABURA volcano and Ibarra, the White City below it!

WWW.EXTREMENAZARENE.ORG for more information about becoming a 4040 for Ibarra!!!

If you have made it this far... THANKS!  Check out this song that I can't get out of my head right now... 

Blessings to you my friends, brothers and sisters in Christ!

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