News Articles

God’s lightning-quick answer jump-starts new Ecuador church

QUININDE, Ecuador (BP)–Only a few moments after Southern Baptist missionary Jim Hogg wearily cried out for God to guide his failing church-planting efforts, God answered his prayer at a street-corner food stand.
In September 1998, members of the Nueva Esperanza Church and Hogg began trying to start a church in Quinind, a city south of Esmeraldas, using Bible studies and door-to-door visitation. About the same time, the believers developed a habit of grabbing a bite to eat at Jenaro’s hamburger and chicken stand on a busy corner. Jenaro always was friendly, asking who they were and what they were doing.
One December night, following three months of dead-ends and failed Bible studies, Hogg walked off alone, weeping and praying for God to show the believers where he already was at work in the city.
“Five minutes later, I was talking to Jenaro, and God’s answer hit me like a lightning bolt,” Hogg says. Jenaro offered to host a Bible study in his home and suggested inviting his neighbors to attend.
“I thought, ‘Wow, God, that was fast! Thank You!'”
The new Bible study met at Jenaro’s home for two months until one day Jenaro said: “We are going to start meeting in my mother’s house. She is Catholic and has never allowed an evangelical into her home to teach the Word of God.”
Since March 13 — the day Jenaro invited Jesus Christ into his life as his Savior — the Bible study has met in his mother’s home. A meeting that began with eight people has grown to 40, including several children. And three people besides Jenaro have accepted Christ as Savior through the study.
“This is something only God can do,” says Hogg, a Texas native who was appointed with his wife, Karen, by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board in 1996. “We have been growing steadily with very little work on the Nueva Esperanza Church’s part…. I stand amazed.”
Hogg began teaching basic studies on the life of Christ and the people whose lives were transformed when they encountered him. Next the missionary will teach on baptism and then hold a baptismal service. At that point, the group will form a church. Hogg hopes to train Jenaro as the leader, then leave the work next May with the church firmly established.
“This is a great call to prayer,” Hogg says. “And, as always, this church is to start other churches. That is a truth I must plant into their hearts early and often.”

    About the Author

  • Julie McGowan