We praise God for good flights and a safe return to Loja City. We are now reintegrating into the Christian-Community of Chontacruz’s ministries. We were very glad that the Church safely made it through the 3 months that we were on the mini-furlough under Anthony’s leadership and had even grown. Shortly after we returned we had the privilege of giving God the glory for the 3rd Anniversary of the Christian–Community of Chontacruz. We echo the words of the prophet Samuel who set up a memorial rock and named it “Ebenezer” meaning Rock of Help and said, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” 1Samuel 7:12. We pray that as God started C-CCh that He will continue to guide and provide.
C-CCh team successfully ran 5 Holiday Bible Clubs and reached 350 children with the Gospel. We missed the blessing of being involved in those this summer; however, we are now involved in the re-launch of the weekly Children’s Bible Clubs. We have also re-launched the youth group and are dividing it by ages with Nube teaching the 11-14 year olds and Anthony teaching the 15+ years group. Mark has been dropping off teams for the Bible Clubs each Friday in four locations and on Saturdays picking up teenagers for the central youth group and also for the all age Bible competitions (Sunday School) followed by the Sunday Celebration service.
Last Sunday, during pickup, Mark got delayed as a family was not ready and so was quite late for the next person. The woman was concerned about going to the service and called to make sure he was coming. Mark arrived to give her family a lift but found her husband drunk and still drinking, as a friend had visited with alcohol. However, she was undeterred and was determined to go to Church for the first time with one of her sons and her baby twins. After the service she said that she wants to give her life to God.
So how does this transport need fit within the greater Church-planting vision?
For some time we have seen the need for more transport. Public transport only runs until 7:30pm which makes it difficult to have any evening meetings. Also, it takes over an hour to get to us from neighbouring areas due to the bus routes and at least one change of bus line; surprisingly it takes 10-15 minutes by private car! So often we transport up to 20 in our pickup, but the back of a pickup is not the safest transport! In the event of an accident our insurance would not cover the extra passengers!
With a Minibus, we can quickly and safely transport: the Children’s Ministry Team; trainee leaders to training sessions; youth to youth meetings and people to Sunday celebrations. In the short term we see the necessity to transport people to these meetings and continue to disciple and train believers to begin Bible Studies in this neighbouring area. When there are sufficient leaders and home Bible Study groups in the medium-long term, our aim is to organise them into a new local Church. The mini-bus will continue to be useful in the future as the process continues and both Churches reach out to other neighbouring areas and bring new leaders to central training sessions.
Minibus Project Progress
Praise God, so far in the few months that the minibus project need has been made known He has provided ₤6,500. Pray with us for occasional gifts, or regular share support for this project as more funds will enable us to buy a newer and robust minibus. We have been checking the Ecuadorian minibus scene and as with most vehicles it is very expensive to buy new and second-hand. The model which was in our target range, ₤20,000, has gone out of production. Purchasing second-hand vehicles is difficult because:
-Vehicles maintain their value over 20 years and so devalue slowly.
-Some people have unknowingly bought stolen vehicles and had to return them
-It is quite risky as many find the vehicle was not regularly maintained and they need to do hidden repairs including an expensive engine overhaul, costing ₤2000.
Certain cheaper models do not stand up well to the road conditions or they hold few passengers. So having seen the options and prices, and with a good discount from a local Christian car dealer, the best value is a new 25 seater Hyundai County and so the target is now ₤40 000!
Pray for us that God will reveal His plan and provision for the transport and training needs. We are very grateful for any gifts, large or small which will bring this project closer to completion. If God is leading you to give an occasional gift or a monthly amount, please send it to the OMS Manchester Office for the `Vogan Vehicle Project’. Also, if you know of any Trusts or Funds that may be able to help please do let us know through OMS or email firstname.lastname@example.org