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Ignite Church members share about Ecuador mission trip

Many times, a trip to share the gospel in other nations or to serve in practical ways impacts those who go as significantly as it benefits those who receive. That was the report from seven members of Ignite Church in Reeds Spring, Missouri, who traveled to Ecuador April 12-30. There, they set up water filters for families, meeting a practical need while also providing a natural transition to the way God offers for cleansing the human soul through Jesus.

 



As part of the Ignite Church vision to connect and build relationships beyond their immediate church and local community, church members Steve and Donna Caulfield, Todd Padilla, Bob and Kathy Owen, and Pastors Rob and Rebecca Barringer joined Clint and Maggie Coyan of Emmaus Global Mission for the trip, flying from Houston to Quito. Ecuador National Coordinators Javi and Evelyn and ministry intern Juan Carlos served as hosts/guides, setting up opportunities for the group to divide into teams and visit many homes in the towns of Pelileo, Patate, and Campo Alegre, a Shuar ethnic village near Phyo at the edge of the Amazon. The group also visited a nursing home and an orphanage. A typical day’s schedule was to leave their hotel after breakfast, travel for ministry, and find a ministry partner restaurant for lunch.

 

The Amazon Basin location is near a Mission Aviation Fellowship station and near the home of pilot Nate Saint, who worked with missionary Jim Elliott. Elliott’s group was killed as they attempted to make contact with a remote Amazon tribe, but their effort was not in vain as future missionaries, including Elisabeth Elliott, were later able to lead members of that tribe to Christ and begin establishing a gospel presence.

 

In each home or facility, the Ignite group installed a Filter of Hope water filter, ensuring clean, drinkable water at no cost to the recipient. This created an open door to present a Bible and share scriptures about Jesus Christ. The goal is to plant local churches where believers can be resourced to grow in their faith and share with others in their community.

 

One story shared by the group is that of Patricio and his mother, Doña Rosa. Patricio fell from a tree while working at his job of harvesting avocados, and has been paralyzed for several years. The money saved by having free access to healthy drinking water helps their financial situation, and a local Christian restaurant owner is following up with discipleship. He requests prayer that Patricio will regain mobility through therapy.

 

Donna Caulfield, a family nurse practitioner, said the water filters are much-needed for health reasons. Some of the communities are basically third-world, with dirt floors and few or no sanitation facilities. Even in some better-developed areas, the hydroelectric grid is unavailable for some periods of the day. Families have become accustomed to the bad water and are amazed by the health improvement they experience, along with saving time and money.

 

The filter is not difficult to install in a simple bucket container. Team members conduct a quick but effective demonstration, stirring cloudy, dirty water in the bucket and then drawing clean water out of the spout. Rob Barringer said that in some homes, kids immediately grabbed cups and started filling them. Other families were actually experiencing their second team visit, having shared a filter they previously received or installed it in a larger container to serve extended family and friends.

 

Team members said the transition to the gospel message was well-received, as locals actually tend to value input from visiting “gringoes” and the culture is traditionally hospitable. In addition, men seemed to enjoy conversation with the visiting men. Some families were already familiar with the ministry of Emmaus Global Missions, as the group also conducts children’s activities such as games, athletics and the Jesus film for children.

 

“I received so much more than I gave,” said Steve Caulfield, who admitted he was initially hesitant about the trip but didn’t want his wife to go alone. Caulfield, who serves on staff at Teen Challenge of the Ozarks, is no stranger to opportunities presented by difficult situations, but said this experience pushed him to new levels.

 

“In conversation with the kids, we were able to share personally and confirm that Jesus is truly God’s Son,” said another team member. “It was exciting to see children remembering songs they had learned previously, and growing in faith.”

 

Emmaus Global Missions, based in Springfield, Missouri, serves primarily in Ecuador. They partner with Filter of Hope and also have partners for Bible distribution, including audio versions to serve the significant needs involving limited vision or low literacy. Learn more, or arrange a ministry trip for your church group, at https://www.emmausglobalmissions.com.

 

Ignite Church is located at 19585 Hwy. 413 in Reeds Spring. In addition to ministries in Stone County, such as a food pantry, prayer gatherings, and special events, the church hopes to continue taking teams on similar mission trips; learn more at www.ignitetheozarks.com.

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