On December 1-5, Will Mukes and I visited Northside’s new missionaries in Salinas, Ecuador. We were joined by Josh Marcum, a 17-year American missionary who directs Operation Ecuador and teaches at the school in Quito.
The families live in tiny, two-bedroom apartments, one above the other, and share a cramped, open-air courtyard. During our visit, they invited us into their homes and treated us to a delicious lunch of fish soup.
Our impression after spending five days with these young evangelists is that they are on fire and are working hard to share the gospel with both young and old in this community.
The missionaries have started a soccer school for students. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, about 25 kids meet for two hours to practice. Kevin Canelón is an excellent soccer player and serves as their coach. After each session, Alex Rivas talks with the kids about spiritual things and prays with them. Yurubi Canelón helps with the drills and has become a second mom to many of the students.
The kids have grown close to our missionaries, and a number of the children have invited them into their homes to meet their parents and grandparents. As a result, they now have several ongoing Bible studies with these families and some are attending Sunday worship services. About half of the students also attend Friday night Bible classes at the rented room where the church meets.
On Saturday and Sunday the missionaries held a two-day youth campaign on the beach for 33 young people and 8 adults. Over a total of 12 hours the kids played games and heard spiritual lessons based on those games. The missionaries even cooked the food we ate both days! Because of all the cooking, most of them barely got any sleep that first night.
These two families are in the process of starting small businesses to provide half of their financial support. Alex is an artist and graphic designer and hopes to find online clients. His wife, Daynella, plans to provide tutoring for elementary students. Kevin wants to offer vacant lot cleaning services to landowners. And Yurubi is a photographer and would like to find customers in Salinas. Please pray for success with these ventures.
Please also pray for Daynella as she is expecting their second child in May. This is a high-risk pregnancy and her doctor has encouraged her to get lots of rest.
On Sunday, January 8, at 9 am, Will and I plan to give a presentation about this visit to a combined adult and teen class in the auditorium. We hope you’ll join us!