Sunday began with our training session for evangelism with the nationals from the local church. This was a good time for the people to practice sharing the message of the gospel using the tool of the Evangecube, a cube developed by E3 Partners that presents the story of the gospel via pictures. Our goal with training is to equip and empower the church members so that they will take the lead in evangelism by the time the week is over.
After a short training session, we set out to share our faith with people in the community. Since we are planting a house church in an urban area, it was difficult for us to find homes to knock on the doors. The first person that answered their door was a Catholic man, who knew English. As I shared with him, he expressed thanks for me sharing my opinion, but he was closed to the message of the gospel. He chose to embrace a form of universalism with a cultural Catholic framework.
As we continued to share, we met a dear sister in Christ that God brought our way for us to encourage, a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a family who was open to the message of the gospel. As we went from person to person, it was so clear to me that God is the One who opens hearts and prepares the way. We must remember that we are not here to save anyone but that we are merely participants in the work that God is already doing in this community.
In the afternoon, we attended the first part of a funeral, which would become the primary ministry that God would have for us for the next two days. The sister that died was the choir director at the mother church. She had come down with an infection in the brain, had slipped into a coma, and had died.
We walked up to he sister’s house in the mountains. When we arrived, I was amazed at the amount of mourners. The entire church and the entire community had gathered together to support this family during their time of need. The pastor even cancelled the weekly Sunday service so that people cold be at the home with the family. This was such a contrast to our American approach to trying to avoid funerals and make excuses of why we cannot attend.
In this first funeral gathering, we had a time of prayer, worship, reflection, and reminders from the scriptures that God is with us in our suffering. Shane shared a reminder from Revelation 21:1-5 that there will come a day when there will be no more tears, pain, and death because Jesus will make all things new. I was once again reminds that the gospel is the only hope that people can cling to in times of suffering and grief,
After spending most of the afternoon with the family, we returned to our host church for the 7 PM evening service. This service was a great experience to worship with other believers who were passionate about their faith. I had the privilege of preaching on the Prodigal Son from Luke 15. We looked at how Jesus came to rescue us from our rebellion and our religion to restore us to a relationship with God the Father. It was a powerful worship service that I was honored to be a part of.
Riobamba has been a great place for ministry so far. I am praying that God works wonders for His fame this week!