Our mission work in Ecuador is moving forward amid the pandemic.
Last year we were able to buy a fishing boat and nets for a group of fishermen in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, to help them support their families. It has been great to follow their faith, many have been baptized, and now they have asked us if we will come back and start a church on the beach.
As we have been distributing COVID-19 emergency help to churches in Ecuador during the pandemic, we have had no contact with the fishermen on the beach, but last week we finally reconnected through another church that was giving out emergency packages in the area.
We found out that the area had been very affected by the virus, some of the fishermen including our friend Luis had been deadly sick by corona, but through it all they have been strengthened in the faith, helping and supporting one another.
“We don’t need food, we just need a Word from our pastor”, they said and shared testimonies of how God has helped them through the hardship of COVID-19.
New Species Showing Up
One of the things they have experienced through the pandemic is how new species of fish showing up in their nets. They have started to catch fish that they have never seen before, and as they have experienced supernatural blessings, they have had more than enough to share with other families in the community.
“This is God blessing us”, they said, and in this blogpost you can see photos of the fishermen with the new species that has found their way to the nets. It is a crazy catch and a testimony about Gods goodness, that they have food on the table in times of famine.
The fishermen is asking us to come back and build the church within the community. They have already reserved a piece of land for the project, and more people wants to get baptized. They are asking for us to come back, and we are praying for guidance.
Right now we cant travel because of restrictions, but the Word of God is not restricted. You can shot down a country, but you cannot shot down the work of God. The Holy Spirit is still moving, people are coming to Christ and God is working on our behalf.
During this month we have been busy collecting money for our friends in Puyo Ecuador who are suffering because of the COVID-19 lock down. So far we have send close to 8000 dollars to local church which has become a center of distribution of food to people who are suffering in the area. Almost every day they have been giving out bags of food (13 dollar value bags which can feed a family for two weeks) and so far they have reached close to 500 families, some of them in the most remote places where people don’t have any transportation or access to food.
Blessed To Be A Blessing
As people received help, they wanted to pay it forward, and we have seen how people have started to care for one another in a very practical way.
Franklin Sanchez who is one of the key persons in the distribution of food, working for pastor Carlos Marchan in Puyo, has send forward pictures of how his neighbors have joined forces to build a house for a deaf and dumb lady in the street. She was living alone in a shag with the rain pouring through the roof, together with four children, when the neigbors decided to “pay it forward”.
Over the past two weeks they have been building on “Biancas House”, and this week we received the pictures of the new house that Bianca and her four children can call home.
Last week I was on the phone with my pastor friend in Puyo, in the Amazon Jungle. I was happy because our corona lockdown in Florida finally is over, but in Ecuador the reality is very much different. Due to the pandemic, people are not able to leave their houses during regular hours, and they are only allowed to drive their car once a week. Because of this, it is very difficult just to get essential supplies for a house hold. People have to walk, and if they are not back in their house before 2 pm, they will be fined or even arrested.
Many of the people we know have family members and friends that have died due to COVID-19, including one of the ladies that took care of our team in Esmeraldas last year. In Guayaquil which is the second largest city in the nation, they are burning dead bodies in the street or even dumping them in the ocean, because they can’t bury them fast enough.
Church is Essential
My good friend pastor Carlos Marchan who has an established ministry in the area, cannot pastor his church since everything has been shut down. I challenged him to become essential, to buy food and start distributing food to people in the community like we have done it at our church in Orlando, Florida.
I asked him to buy food at wholesale prizes and we would send him the money. Starting with one ton of rice for 1000 dollars, he could make the church into a food distribution center, which would be the beginning of the temporary “food bank” in Puyo.
A few phone calls later, business people started to donate, and the next day we were able to buy one ton of rice, eggs, cooking oil and other essentials for the people in Puyo as an emergency response to the pandemic.
Right now the pastor in Puyo is working together with my other friend who is a tour guide. He has a military background and will be able to use his vehicle to pick up the food without any restrictions.
Our friends in Ecuador will be receiving the donations through our ministry and document with photos and video as they buy the food and give it out to the people in the community, especially families and elderly people in the neighborhood who cannot make the walk to the supermarket.
The economy in Ecuador is hit hard. People have lost their jobs because of COVID-19, and when the oil prices dropped, the nation was brought to it’s knees. Oil is a main source of income in Ecuador with an export rate of 60 pct.
Imagine to be a fisherman and raise your family on a beach in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, when you only have a small boat, and the fish that you catch is not enough to feed your seven children.
This was the reality for Mr. Luis whom we met on our missiontrip to Ecuador in November 2018. Luis was living on the beach, alone with his seven children, and we had the joy of leading him and other fishermen to the Lord.
Since then it has been on my heart to start a Christian fishing community to help Luis and his friends who had received Christ. I wanted them to know the full gospel, the life in abundance, that restores not only your soul, but also your life. I wanted to help these poor people so bad, and as I shared the vision, I have been able to find investors that were willing to finance the vision of buying a bigger boat so they can catch bigger fish, feed their families and grow their business for the Kingdom of God.
Working together with a lawyer in Ecuador who was saved during the crusade, the vision has come through. We have bought a boat, and in May 2019 as we went back to Ecuador, we were able to legally assign it to Luis and his friends and start the Christian fishing consortium. The deal was sealed and we all gathered to pray for this new vessel.
Imagine what it would be like to walk on the beach in Esmeraldas that day when we found Luis and told him about the blessing. He had no clue, since we had not been in contact with him since November last year. We just assumed that we would find him again, same place, still working hard in his little boat to provide food for his family.
This is a leap of faith, but we strongly believe that we are doing the right thing. We found out that our fisherman Luis with the seven kids was a key person in the local community. People knew him and he was a man of good reputation.
What joy when we met again and told him the good news. That night we had a party, celebrating the goodness of God and the blessing that came as a boat!
Next step will be to provide school for the seven kids and to start a church in Esmeraldas. We are working together with other missionaries and the lawyer who is willing to help with the ministry on the beaches and already has an apartment in the area. We are looking for people who will move to Esmeraldas and do the work of the Lord. So far we have young lady who is willing to be send out to live there for three months.
Thank you for your prayers as we prepare for this, teaching Luis and the other fishermen to follow Jesus and making them fishers of men!
Are you dreaming of going places where you have never been, seeing things that you have never seen? Watch this 5 minutes video documentary from our latest trip to the Amazon Jungle in Ecuador visiting remote places.
On my recent mission trip in December 2018, we crossed the Andes to go to Esmeraldas which is a coastal city in the northwestern part of Ecuador. We had a day off, so we went to a breakfast restaurant at the beach, and as I saw the water, I thought to myself, “today we should go fishing”. As I look up, a guy walks in, and I ask him if he knows somebody who would take us out on the ocean, and 30 minutes later we were already ready to go fishing in the Pacific Ocean.
I live what you can call a “predestined lifestyle”, I believe that my steps are ordained by God, that “we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good deeds that we should walk in” (Ephesians 2.10).
We went through the waves across the reef and cast out the lines in more calm water, waiting for the fishes to bite. It was an awesome experience. We spend the whole day fishing, and when we came back in the evening, I asked the fishermen if they could prepare a fire so we could BBQ the fishes on the beach. I paid for the party and the fishermen brought their families, and right there, as we were eating, we had the opportunity to share the gospel and lead the fishermen to Christ.
Revival Among the Fishermen
We had revival, right there on the beach. What we experienced there was more authentic than a regular church meeting, it was so beautiful to see these men receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and the same night we prayed with them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”, so that was what we did, right there with the fishermen on the beach.
I will never forget these fishermen and their stories. As we were sitting around the fire, we were connected in a special way. Even after we left, I kept praying for these people. One of the men had seven kids, his wife had left him, and he was the sole provider of his family. They were very poor, they were trying hard to make a living, but they did not have the resources. They needed a bigger boat in order to get a bigger catch out on the deep ocean, they paddled in a canoe so they could not cross the reef and take them to the deep waters where we had been fishing during the day.
Two New Boats Can Change the Lives of Many
I want to start a project in Esmeraldas, right there on the beach. I believe this connection was God-given, and I already have talked to one of my attorney friends in Ecuador to set up a fishing consortium so we can invest in this community and buy bigger boats.
Where I go, I will bring the gospel. Luke 4.18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.
What is good news to the poor? Is it not that they shall not be poor anymore? Let us preach the gospel, not only in Words but also in action. Our little can help a lot. For 6,000 dollars we can buy two boats and two engines for the fishermen in Esmeraldas. Several families can fish on each boat, with fish comes money and school for the kids and even more open hearts for Christ.
Your Kingdom Come!
I want to see the Kingdom of God manifested on that beach in Esmeralda, Equador. I remember many years ago when I first brought the gospel to the Eskimos in North West Greenland, immediately after having received Christ they started to catch more fish and animals and they were so successful in hunting together that more hunters started to ask if they could go out hunting with them. That village is still developing til this day. I believe the same thing can happen on the beaches of Esmeralda. If you want to partner with us in this project, click on this link. May God bless you for your prayers and support! https://evangelistministries.international/contact/donations/
In my last blog “Living With Christ is a Blast” I wrote about the adventures in the Amazon Jungle in Ecuador, how we flew into the tribes in small planes and how we drove over the Andes Mountains on motorcycles, swimming in waterfalls, white river rafting etc.
This time I want to share with you the biggest adventure of them all and the reason why we went there in the first place. I did not come for the jungle experience, I came for the “Jesus Experience”, to see Jesus touch peoples lives in the Puyo region.
First time I came to Puyo was in June 2018, and after two days of crusade, I felt there was more for me to do. That’s why I talked to the pastor in the region, and that is why we set up another crusade with four revival meetings at the beginning of December 2018.
The first night we preached in the host church in Puyo, the jungle capital of Ecuador. The pastors are Carlos and Alicia Marchan, they are wonderful people and very respected for their work in the region. When they came there was nothing. Today they have started many churches and led many people to Christ, and it is amazing to see how the church has developed and grown with the city.
It was a really good start, many people were baptized with the Holy Spirit, so we were all fired up and ready for the big meetings the following days in the downtown sports center. The next day it was raining all day which I had not expected. Only a few people were there at the beginning of the meeting, but after an hour they were there by the hundreds, including my tour guide and several of his friends, and when I called for salvation many people gave their lives to Christ.
Instant Miracles of Healing
My preaching did not take a long time at all, so we started ministering to the sick and oppressed. I will try to give you some of the highlights:
A teacher and her teenage daughter, she was completely blind on one eye and had severe pain in one side of her face. The daughter started crying when she realized that her mother’s eye had been restored and to my surprise, she started reading out loud the banner behind me on the stage, even the sentence in small print that I could not even see myself.
A woman with a severe infection in her stomach, it was so bad that she could not even urinate and had a lot of pain. We prayed for her and I told her to go the restroom and pee and when she came back her face was all lit up and she whispered in my ear that as she went to the restroom all the puss and infection had come right out of her and she was healed.
It just kept going and going on for so long. So many testimonies. Now I knew that the second crusade night in Puyo would be great. Again it was raining cats and dogs all day, even worse than the first day, we could not even go out of the hotel. The rain was so heavy that I thought people would not be able to come. But people kept coming. They said there were over 500 the second night, which was a personal miracle to me with all that rain.
After the sermon, I asked people with tumors to come to the front for prayers and one by one they testified how God healed them there on the spot from tumors and growths. When people saw and heard this, their faith exploded and soon many people poured out from the isles to give their lives to Christ and to receive healing and deliverance.
The Power of God Hit the Place
A woman with throat cancer came forth. I had talked to her before the meeting and she said she had no faith. I told her that I did not agree since she had already demonstrated her faith by coming to the meeting. And when she finally came for prayer I told her how she had now demonstrated her faith in Jesus twice in a day. First by coming to the meeting and second by coming for prayer. I asked her friend to lay her hands on her and immediately she started to swallow, which she could not do. She asked for water and after drinking a whole bottle she asked for food and then another bottle of water, she could eat and swallow without any problems. A miracle happened right there before our eyes.
I remember another lady with a huge tumor under her breast, it was as big as a cup. As we prayed for her to be healed the thing disappeared right before our very eyes. We all started crying, everybody on the team experienced the power of Jesus Christ that night. It was like an explosion. This evening many more got saved. It was so powerful. I could not sleep when I came back to the hotel.
Sunday morning I preached again in the church and again we saw several people getting baptized, healed and set free from demons of witchcraft. This was my last meeting, supposedly the end of the trip, but I have the feeling that I am not finished. It seems like we are just getting started on a whole new chapter, an outpour of the Holy Spirit in Ecuador spreading to other countries in South America as well.
As a traveling preacher, I always take time to go around to see places and enjoy God’s creation. So far I have visited more than 70 nations. I know preachers who go from airport to hotel, to church and back without seeing anything of the country or the state they go to, but that is not my story. Taking time off, meeting new people inside and outside the church and keeping my program for adventure keeps me original and fresh, on fire but not burned out. I have been doing this since I started fulltime ministry in 1996.
This year I have been two times in the Amazon Jungle in Ecuador to preach the gospel. First time I went with a group of pastors, and as I checked into my hotel, I decided to go fishing. It turned out that the owner of the hotel had a brother who was an expert in jungle trips. We spent the afternoon fishing, and his wife cooked the fish for us in the evening. This was before the crusade, and I was overwhelmed with joy when I saw the tour guide at the meeting, standing in front of the platform, giving his life to Christ later at the crusade!
The second time, I went with my youngest son, a Danish pastor and a ministry friend from Texas. We came two days before the meetings so we could have time for adventure. The tour guide picked us up in the airport, and we spend the first day in the jungle with him, visiting remote villages, fishing, eating fresh fish, swimming in waterfalls and river rafting on the Postaza River. While we were doing this, another tour guide ended up giving his life to Christ! This was priceless, such a blessing, both for me and for the team.
The next day, a lawyer whom I had met on my first trip came to see us. He was flying in a little two-seater ultralight plane together with another new missionary friend of mine. They flew us into the deep jungle to visit and to preach to the villagers. I used to fly my own plane years ago, so they allowed me to fly on the way back and land the plane. How cool was that! I felt so rich, knowing that we could not have paid that day with money, this was the blessings of God!
The crusade in Puyo was powerful. We had heavy rain because of the season, but still, 3-500 people showed up during the evening meetings. I was interviewed by radio and television, we ran a Facebook campaign to advertise for the event, and many people got saved, healed, filled with the Holy Spirit and set free. For me this is the ultimate adventure, nothing thrills me more than witnessing God touching peoples lives.
After the meetings I went with my son and the lawyer across the Andes, which are the biggest chain of mountains in South America. We were riding motorcycles, and the lawyer followed in his pickup truck as a backup in case something should happen. At one point I could not see the car in front of me because we were driving so high in the mountains, actually, we were driving through the clouds, through heavy rain showers, for 10 hours till we finally made it to a hotel surrounded by natural hot volcanic baths. We were frozen to the bone so we stayed in those hot baths for a long time!
Next day we started the descend to Esmeraldas on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast, I found out that the lawyers family own an apartment there right next to the beach. It was dark when we arrived, we were so tired, but waking up early the next morning was worth the drive. The ocean with its big waves was speaking to us about Gods greatness. “Let’s go fishing”, I said, and right there at the table in the breakfast restaurant, we found a young guy who knew a fisherman who would take us out on the ocean. Within a few minutes, we were sitting in his boat, miles off the coast with lines and hooks and bait catching lots of fish. God must have been smiling to us because the fish kept biting and biting.
On the way back I asked the fisherman if he knew how to grill the fish. We made a fire on the beach, and I invited him and his whole family to come and join the party. He had seven children and no wife, was poor and sweet and hardworking and that night was again priceless around the fire with the wonderful man and his children and friends. As we were eating, my lawyer friend started telling his testimony of how Jesus had grabbed him when he was at his lowest. We were all touched, and late that night around the fire the fishermen and their children gave their lives to Christ. Some of them got baptized in the Holy Spirit right there on the beach and spoke in new tongues.
That night we walked back to the apartment on the beach with the big waves rolling in, thanking God for his goodness and kindness. Tired and satisfied we returned to the airport the next day, meeting up with the rest of the team who had been preaching in different churches. We boarded the plane at midnight, and landed at 5 o’clock in the morning, picking up a rental car that brought us back home, just in time for my son’s wedding the following day.
Some people think that Christians are boring and that all they do is pray and go to church. I must say that is such a wrong presumption. My life is never boring. Life with Christ is a blast.
I have found it hard to describe details from the latest mission trip to Ecuador. So many wonderful things happened but this video from the adventures in the jungle and the miracle crusade in Puyo says it all. You can sense the anointing in the songs, the hunger, the expectation, the miracles. And you can hear the testimony of the blind girl that got healed in the first night of the miracle crusade in Puyo, Ecuador.
Coming home from the last miracle crusade in Ecuador my wife would pick me up at the airport and ask me a ton of questions. I was gone for a week, and even though we have had our daily updates through Facebook, it seems like my wife always wants to know everything. Not so much about the trip, but more in details about the people, the miracles etc. Questions like, how many people got saved, what did you preach about, what was the biggest miracle and so on …
As usual, I let her talk because I don’t know how to answer! After preaching my brains out several times a day I am so tired, not to mention the travelling and the past two days of only a few hours of sleep. What was the biggest miracle? Was it the little blind girl that got her sight back, the deaf ears that opened, the man with the kidney problems that got healed, the woman that was crippled by arthritis who suddenly had no pain, the man that was delivered from unclean spirits or the owner of the kayak rental and his family that got saved.
Every person is unique, created in the image of God. You can’t compare miracles, so why even try? All I can say is that I am so thankful that I was invited to be in this crusade and see the mighty move of the Holy Spirit. It was awesome to see how peoples lives were touched and forever changed. The meetings were held in a big basketball stadium. First night 250 people came and the second night 600 people came. More than 150 prayed the prayer of salvation. If we had continued one night more, I believe the place would have been full.
Our son Hector was with me on this trip and I saw God’s gift over his life unfold. He was preaching for the first time and was ministering with words of knowledge and prophecy. After he preached he received a special invitation to go to the jungle to share the Word amongst the tribal people. He was picked up at 3 am in the morning to get to the village. They gathered around the fire before sunset for worship, bible study and prayer. They welcomed him like a king, brought him gifts and painted his face. He was the only white man visiting. Every family gave him a drink to show him honour and he was officially adopted into their tribe. When he came back to the hotel, he still had the paint on his face, and at the evening meeting, the indigenous people had prepared another ceremony for him. Here they put a crown on his head, and next thing, they did the same to me, as a token of honour and love.
Preaching the gospel is a privilege. As a young man, I gave my life to Christ so that He can live His life in me and through me. Now I live my life for others to see and experience the life of Christ. It is such an honour to serve him and I don’t take it lightly. Going to Ecuador, to the exact same area where American missionaries got killed by Huaorani tribesmen in the 1950’s for preaching the gospel, was a privilege. We were literally walking in the footsteps of the men that were killed and the wives, that went to the jungle to fulfil the mission of their passed husbands, preaching the gospel to the tribal people. We went to churches established by people who were saved through their testimonies. What we witnessed over this past week was the fruit of the sacrifice they gave, as we were passing on the baton for the coming generations to be saved.