EDITOR’S NOTE: This year’s Week of Prayer for International Missions, Nov. 30-Dec. 7, focuses on missionaries who serve in South America as well as churches partnering with them, exemplifying the global outreach supported by Southern Baptists’ gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This year’s theme is “GO TELL the story of Jesus”; the national offering goal is $170 million.
PANIQUINDRA, Ecuador (BP)–For years the building stood neglected. Then it was used as a barn filled with dirt, manure and a flock of chickens.
In September 2006, missionaries Darrell and Rogene Musick -– along with a team of local believers -– cleaned out the muck and feathers to restore the building to its former use as a church in the Ecuadorean village of Paniquindra.
“This isn’t a traditional house church, but more of a conventional church that has risen from the dead,” Darrell says.
Elderly villagers Manuel and Rosa Maria were two of the few Christians who lived in Paniquindra for decades before the church’s rebirth. Rural farmers like most Quichua in northern Ecuador, the couple prayed that their Christian son, Juan Tuapanta, would be faithful to the Lord’s work.
Their prayers were answered through an unlikely source – the radio. Motivated by a Quichua radio message, Juan contacted Darrell to resurrect the work in his community.
Today, more than 50 believers meet each week at the church where Juan serves as pastor.
Gabriel Mugmal, one of the first national believers Darrell trained in church planting and discipling, provided the initial leadership and training for Juan and his core church members. After selecting 10 leaders, Gabriel provided Bibles and guidance on how to share God’s love with the community.
The new church soaked in the training and began taking the Good News outside Paniquindra. Within the first eight months, the body of believers started three new churches.
As the reinvigorated church continues to grow and multiply, the Musicks want the Quichua to grasp the difference between the Spanish words templo (temple building) and iglesia (church).
“Many of the groups have made that distinction,” Rogene says. “They’re not depending upon Anglos here. We’re not here to build up a building. We’re here to build up a church.”
Dea Davidson is a writer for the International Mission Board. To learn more about how volunteers can help South America’s Quichua reach fellow Quichua for Christ, visit samregion.org. See going.imb.org for general volunteer opportunities. Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering can be made at www.imb.org/offering to support the International Mission Board’s more than 5,300 missionaries worldwide, including Darrell and Rogene Musick in Ecuador.