GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador (BP)–When young people consider joining the International Mission Board’s South American Xtreme team to take the Gospel to difficult-to-access areas, they might be drawn by the “extreme” aspects of the training — learning to build rafts, cooking over a campfire and surviving in the mountains.
But for Ecuadorian missionary Jose Chillambo, the team’s unconventional skill set is nothing new — he grew up in a tropical rain forest. He wants to train alongside the team to learn the skills he needs to touch the hearts of those living on the extreme edges of lostness.
“The idea of going out to the ends of the earth appeals to him,” said missionary Guy Muse.
Chillambo has grown up spiritually in a house church network in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where Texas natives Guy and his wife, Linda, serve as church planting trainers and mentors.
His first day as a new believer, Chillambo traveled with a pastor to remote mountain villages to find people who had never heard about Christ. That day, he was called to missions.
“What struck me was in the city there are many, many Christians crawling all over each other,” Chillambo said. “No one wanted to go out to the extreme edges, the countryside. I was really touched because no one was willing to go. My passion is not to travel to another country but to go where people have never heard the Gospel.”
While Chillambo was starting house churches in the coastal city and serving as a national partner with Southern Baptist missionaries, Muse suggested Xtreme Team training to prepare him for his calling. The Afro-Ecuadorian accepted the challenge, but with help. More than 100 house churches in Guayaquil are supporting him by raising $200 — a collection of $1 and $2 individual tithes — each month to pay for Chillambo’s training, food and supplies.
“We’ve accepted that challenge to come up with that money,” Muse said of the house churches. “We’ve been to Judea, Samaria and now we’re in the uttermost parts of the earth.”
Dea Davidson writes for the International Mission Board. Interested in Xtreme missions? Check out going.imb.org/go2years/information/xtremeteam.asp.