Ecuador: Where the World Divides in Two

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I was humbled and honored recently to be invited by the Ecuador Liebenzell field director to speak at
their annual missionary conference. Good friend and Mexican pastor Fernando Amezcua from
Guadalajara, Mexico went with me. The topic that I was given was church planting, and although I have
rarely been invited to give a conference, the topic is one I’m familiar with. So, with no amount of
trepidation I accepted, and soon the end of August rolled around, and Fernando and I were on a plane
to Ecuador.

Liebenzell Ecuador’s retreat center, the site of the mission fellowship conference, where Fernando and I spoke

Ecuador is a beautiful country, both in terms of its natural features and of the lovely people who live
there. Although a relatively small country, it is home to a wide range of environments and ecosystems.
Because much of Ecuador rests at between 5000 and 8000 ft, the weather is mild, and not the hot
furnace you might expect living at 0 degrees latitude. Coming from Mexico City, I’m used to a similar
climate.

Liebenzell Ecuador group…Ecuadorians, Germans, Americans, Venezuelans and even an Argentinian!

Our time was filled with surprises as field director Rainer Kroger took us to an all-Black neighborhood
called Chamanal, for the inauguration of a new church building. As we weaved in an out of Ecuador’s
northern Andes Mountain range, stretching through the western part of the country, Fernando and I
were able to appreciate high mountain villages as well as rushing rivers in the valleys. We were
encouraged to pray, also, as we entrusted our lives to the Lord and to Rainer! As we were leaving
Ecuador, I thanked him for being a gracious host, along with his wife Katy, and sent him a verse about
Jehu, who “drove his chariot furiously.”

Rainer Kroger, the field leader in Ecuador, from the roof of the Puente de Amor church

I have never participated in such a completely multicultural missionary community before. The majority
Liebenzell German missionary presence welcomed several couples from Liebenzell USA (the Bruce and
Farnworth families, YAY), and representatives from Argentina and Venezuela. I was nearly overcome
with emotion when I saw the sacrifice of young, German families with beautiful little kids, following the
Lord’s call to a country far away. Liebenzell Ecuador was composed of some wonderful Ecuadorian
families, and Fernando and I were able to speak in several of their churches while during our time there.
Enrique and Mayra, pastor and wife of the largest church of the fellowship, were a huge personal
encouragement to me. I preached twice the last Sunday we were there, to well over 500 people in the
two services. That same afternoon, Fernando and I enjoyed several different presentations and special
music times at the annual Mission Fest activity, that also took place at the Puente de Amor (Bridge of
Love) Church.

Our last Sunday there was a missions weekend, with a Mission Fest activity in the afternoon. Both morning services were very well attended.

Our time was active. I was involved in speaking ten times in nine full days while in Ecuador. Rainer kept
up moving! As I look back on my time there, I feel genuinely blessed. Perhaps my most memorable
moment…visiting Rio Verde with Kevin Bruce, and hearing him humbly relate how he learned a tribal
language, how he aided in the translation of the New Testament, how he picked, cleaned, dried and
roasted coffee, how he smoked his own meat and, oh, yeah, the church that he and his wife Kathy
planted and the building they physically constructed. I thought missionaries like that only existed in the
past. Turns out, they are still very much alive!

(this article will be featured also in Liebenzell USA’s newsletter, coming out soon)

1 thought on “Ecuador: Where the World Divides in Two”

  1. Thank you for keeping us updated on how God is using you in Mexico, and now in Ecuador! You clearly have many things to share about church planting. I am sure it was thrilling to be a part of such a multicultural, Christian event. The worship must have been wonderful! Thank you for your faithfulness to the church and the gospel of Jesus! I am blessed to have you and Myra as friends.

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