Thursday, February 04, 2010

Ecuador Update

Greetings Friends and Family, 

As I have prepared for leaving for Ecuador, I thought it would be only proper to give you a little idea of what I will be doing in Ecuador.

Hunh? Isn't the Equator the imaginary line equidistant from the North and South poles? Where is that god-forsaken place anyways? Why would you care to go to that place? Isn't Mexico closer? Whatever are you going to be doing there? Is it safe? How are you going to protect yourself from the half-naked savages that might try to spear you? Probably some of these represent the thoughts that ran through your head when you first heard I was going to Ecuador.

Now, you may not be brash enough to ask me all those questions, but just to assuage your fears and calm your curiosity, I will try to answer them all anyways.

To give you a little geography lesson, Ecuador is located on the West Coast of South America, below Columbia and above Peru, right on the Equator. Although it is on the west coast of South America, longitudinally it is directly below Florida, on US's East Coast. It's area, approximately 99,000 square miles is equivalent to Oregon, 9th largest in the US.

Ecuador's Geography is divided up into three distinct areas. From West to East, they are as follows:

La Costa, the coastal lowlands;
La Sierra
, the mountainous highlands (Cuenca, where I will be living is in this region);
La Amazonia
 or El Oriente, a slice of the Amazon rainforest, accounting for about half of Ecuador's land mass, although only containing about 5% of Ecuador's population.

Ecuador's fauna is some of the most diverse in the world. Its 16,000 species of plants, 1,600 species of birds (15% of the world's known bird species), and 6,000 species of butterflies, and nearly 300 endemic species of birds, reptiles, and amphibians combined, make it a biologist's treasure-chest!

However, Ecuador is not just a place, it is also a home to 4 major ethnic groups, including many indigenous tribes. Its population of 13 million is equivalent to Illinois, 5th greatest in the US. Its density of 139/sq. mi, would place it 22nd in a list of US States (between South Carolina and Kentucky).

Also, Ecuador is not "god-forsaken." In fact, 95% of the population would consider themselves Catholic. However, this Catholicism is closer to pago-Catholicism syncretized with the traditional pagan tribal rituals. However, there is a small Protestant movement in Ecuador as well, about 4%, and it is with one of these churches that I will be primarily working.

Is Ecuador safe? Although your perceptions of the country may be diluted by thoughts of savage jungle head-hunters, those tribes never made up more than a small percentage of Ecuador's population, and today, many of those tribes have been touched by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Seeing it is still a poor country, theft and other petty crime is high. However, as I feel God's guiding hand in bringing me to Ecuador, it is within his power to protect me or subject me to danger and trials as He sees fit. As Corrie Ten Boom has said, "The safest place to be is within the center of God's will!"

To be perfectly honest my main purpose for traveling to Ecuador is three-fold: 1. To learn Spanish, 2. To experience the country, culture, and people where my family lived for 8 years as missionaries, 3. To assist the church and my brother in their ministries. I think the first two reasons are pretty self- explanatory, so I will expound further on the last reason.

My brother, Justo, for the last year-and-a-half, has been working with the Paz de Dios Church in Cuenca, Ecuador, discipling the youth in the church, and helping a few families as they pioneer homeschooling in Ecuador. I will be assisting him in this mission, helping teach/tutor some of the homeschoolers, primarily in History and English. Also attempting to encourage them and give them the vision for learning that my parents instilled in me from a young age. I will also be taking some Spanish tutoring and connecting with the youth in the church.

In closing I would like to share with you a message that a godly leader once gave to another young man serving as a missionary. This godly leader, Paul, gave this young man, Timothy, this charge in I Tim. 4:12-16.

"Let no one despise your youth but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith , in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in your, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to the, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you."

I have taken this section of scripture as my challenge, as my calling, and as a description of my mission in Ecuador.

For those of you who are willing to remember me in prayer, here are a few specific prayer requests.

  • Travel: That connections can go smoothly, paperwork can be without a hitch, and that customs may be no problem.

  • Language: That I may pick up the language, Spanish, speedily, and that my falterings may not be a hindrance to the Gospel.

  • Culture: That I may be able to embrace the culture, and enjoy the differences!

  • Ministry: That the Lord can give me wisdom in knowing what to teach, and how to best teach the students I am working with.

  • Testimony: That my life can be a good testimony, not only to those within the church, but also to those who are "outside"

  • That I may be teachable: That the Lord may let me see His will and purpose in each situation He places me in, and that I may be willing to learn the lessons He has for me.

I have taken the liberty to add a few of you without your express permission. For those of you who wish to be taken off my newsletters, or if you know of someone else who would like to receive my updates, contact me by email:

If you have any questions, or just would like to send a word of encouragement, feel free to jot off a line or two to me!

If you wish to keep up on my life in pictures check out my blog and my brother's blog

In Christ,


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