Due to local reports more and more people in the Amazon area in Ecuador are being infected with COVID-19, and it does not look like things are getting better. People are sick and dying, and the outreach team in from the church in Puyo is doing what they can to help.
Last month they were giving out care packages to families in the remote villages, and last week they started up a soup kitchen as an outreach in the church with funds from the USA. Healthy meals are being prepared to give out to the community. It is just a small operation, but it has a big effect when the volunteers drive out and serve the meals to go. Not only are they bringing food to people, they are bringing hope!
Franklin, a tourist guide from the area, and his wife Angela Sanches are spear heading the operation. The meals from the soup kitchen are being loaded into private cars, and now the meals on wheels are being brought out to people in the street. You see people with masks everywhere. Children, families and elderly people. You see the fear in their eyes and the smile that comes, when somebody cares for them and give them a bowl of soup.
There are so many needs out there because of the pandemic. We all know it, but imagine what it is like in places with limited medical ressources. The virus is real, and so is the lock down and the lack of financial support in third world countries. Reaching out in times of social distancing is essential. Nobody knows how long this will continue, so we will take one day at a time and continue to meet the needs of the people.
We believe that God will provide the needs as we continue to support the local community and feed the people in Puyo. Our team in Puyo is very accountable documenting every meal, every person and every penny spend on groceries. Pray for them as they go out there to love on people, they need our support!
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.
Only a few days after we launched the food bank in Ecuador, the work is spreading to more places. Pastor Carlos Marchan and his team in Puyo has been giving out essentials to the people in the city, but now they are planning a trip inside Jungle to one of the small communities.
The people living in the jungle are under the same lock down as the people in the city and they have nothing to eat. Usually they will travel to the city to buy food or trade for food, but because of the curfew they can’t make it that far. They live so remote, without lights and running water, and they don’t have any cars.
Over the past years we have been visiting the village several times. Usually we would travel out there in the morning, preach the gospel and share a meal with them. Some of you might remember the pictures, my sons tribal adventure when they painted us in the face and gave us chicha to drink as a part of their welcome tradition!
The White Shirt
Right now the team in Puyo is making care packages for the villages with rice, eggs and cooking oil and other things. The government gives out rations of five eggs and a little rice, but our team has been able to buy a lot of eggs so they are giving out packages of 30 eggs which is a huge blessing.
For the past two days our team have been giving out care packages in Puyo, and as they went out to the suburbs, they saw white shirts hanging outside the houses. This has become a common thing in Ecuador, people hanging out their shirts as a sign of surrender to show that they have no more food.
We Need Your Help
In Puyo pastor Carlos Marchan and his team sre loading the cars with care packages to drive out in the communities In just a few days, his church has become a food bank, a distribution center of essentials.
This has been possible through generous donations from our local church and from business people that we know. As the team in Ecuador has been sending pictures of families and elderly people receiving help, we know that we are reaching the lost.
If you want to be a part of this, we will be very thankful. Think about the white shirt on the pole. Look at the pictures, the faces of the children, the elderly, the places they live and the fear and poverty they are facing due to COVID-19.
If you want to support, you can buy a care package for 15 dollars. One package will feed a family for two weeks.
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.
Last month I went on a mission trip to Ecuador to speak at a conference in Puyo in the Amazon Jungle and to visit the city of Esmeraldas which is a major seaport in the Northwestern part of the country.
Over the past year we have been ministering to a group of fishermen in Esmeraldas. It started with a random fishing trip and a bbq on the beach, and as we were eating together and sharing lives, people gave their lives to Christ. At this occasion, God gave us a vision to start building the community and supporting the families there.
I already shared how some of the businessmen in our church https://www.powerhouseflorida.com/ invested in a boat to to help a family with seven children and this time, we were able to raise funds to buy 1000 yards of nets.
Faith in Action
Coming back to Esmeraldas this time I found out that the fishermen had appointed a new leader of their fishing commune and that he was born again. He was happy to meet us and asked us to come and teach the community, and the following day he asked us to come and help them start a church.
We went out fishing and after the catch we arranged another fish bbq on the beach. People came from near and far, and this time it was much more easy to share the Word. I understood that the boat and the nets had been preaching for me.
When Jesus was preaching to the multitude, he did not only serve them the Word, he also looked to their physical needs and served them food. He demonstrated the power of God through five loaves and two fishes supplied by a little boy. Jesus was very practical and we should learn from him!
Building Church Community
As we were sitting around the fire, we realized that we were not only building the community, we were building church. These were tough fishermen, not saints. Some of them were alcoholics, but as we preached the gospel, they wanted to change.
It was almost midnight when we led the fishermen in the prayer of salvation. They received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and repented from their sins, right there on the beach. Then they started talking about getting baptized, and eight of them were ready to do it right away!
The water was there, so there was no reason to wait. Those that wanted to be baptized went out in the waves of the Pacific Ocean. It was cold and dark, but they didn’t care. This was the power of the gospel unto salvation, and these fishermen are now Fishers of Men.
I can’t wait to go back to the beach of Esmeraldas and see what God will do next time. I have no doubt. God is gonna build his church right there, as we continue to reach the lost!
Tuparnak Berthelsen is the name of the woman standing to the right. She is a very unique Inuit woman with an extraordinary mission. First time we met her was in Denmark. She was a student at our Powerschool, and this year she also attended our Powerschool in Orlando Florida.
Tuparnak has lived in Denmark for many years, but after she got saved and healed in 2001, God has called this woman as a missionary to Greenland. She has such a heart for her people, and she is willing to travel to the most remote places, even by helicopter and boat to bring the good news of the gospel, that God so loved the world that send Jesus to save, heal and deliver us from sin, sickness and the spirit of darkness.
During our last meetings in Denmark in June 2019 a group of people committed to support Tuparnak so that she can bring the gospel to the Inuit people. She was send out, and this summer she is traveling to Sisimiut, Kullorsuaq, Quaanaaq and other places.
20 days in Kullorsuaq
Tuparnak attended a conference in Sisimiut and spend 20 days in Kullorsuaq in North West Greenland. This was the place where great revival broke out in 2003, followed by strong persecution. The Christians in the village are still standing strong, and recently she has send us this report from her visit.
“I was received very well and they would serve me “matek” which is a traditional Inuit whale dish. I had to meetings in the village and two meetings in the church. Only 12 people came because of persecution. In one of the meetings God showed me, that somebody was suffering from a stroke. I started praying and found out that one of the leaders had a severe head ache and felt paralyzed in one side of his body. I commanded the sickness to leave in Jesus name. He has been seeing the nurse, but the man is completely healed”, she says.
After the visit in Kullorsuaq, Tuparnak is traveling 19 days to Quaanaaq which is the worlds northern most civilian settlement.
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!
From Mount Elgon in Kenya to Powerschool in Orlando. Read the incredible story of pastor Brian Kibet Mosong who received the Bible in his native tongue Sabaot translated by danish Wycliffe bible translaters from my hometown in Vejle, Denmark.
Pastor Brian Kibet Mosong from Western Kenya was one of the 48 graduates at this years Powerschool in Orlando. This was his third year in Powerschool and for us who has followed him for the past three years, it has been an incredible testimony.
First time I met pastor Brian was in Nairobi Kenya 3 years ago. I had invited him to come and meet me, at FEM Family Church, Kenya. My bishop is Rev. Teresia Wairimu, and this was the opening of her new church building.
I did not know him, but we had a mutual friend in Switzerland whom I had met in 1985 in a kibbutz in Israel. My friend had been traveling in Kenya and had supported pastor Brian over a couple of years, and eventually he had called me so that pastor Brian could connect with me. That is how we met.
Connecting The Dots
I invited pastor Brian for Powerschool in Orlando, and I must admit, I was not sure that he would come. The visa, the airfare, the tuition fee would be like a mountain of obstacles, but pastor Brian had faith. He applied for Powerschool, and without money on his account he got a 10 year visa to the USA!
In June 2017 he came for the first time and attended one week of Powerschool and after spending a week with him, I got to know him even more. He wanted me to be his spiritual father, and he wanted to start Powerhouse Churches in Western Kenya. Back then he had around 70 churches in the bush and was doing a great work, from feeding widows and orphans to discipling and raising up pastors in unreached places amongst the Sabaot people in Mount Elgon.
When I heard this, I could not believe my own ears. I remembered how my parents friends had traveled out to Mount Elgon as missionaries many years ago to translate the bible into the Sabaot language. They were send out when I was a kid from my home church in Vejle in Denmark, and now God had connected the dots so I could meet a man that had been saved by the Word translated by these Danish people!
We Are his Workmanship
Ephesians 2.10 talks about us as his “workmanship” created in Christ Jesus for good deeds which God prepared beforehand for us so we can walk in them! Meeting pastor Brian was one of these “good deeds”, and I realized this was not a coincidence. Right there I made a video for my parents missionary friends who spend 25 years translating the bible to pastor Brians tribe, before they moved on to the other side of the mountain to work with another tribe. Think about it, what an incredible job!
I was so excited so I made a vlog to the Danish missionaries with pastor Brian thanking them for translating the bible to his people. People and churches are being impacted everyday by the Word of God and by this translation. People are getting saved, and every year pastor Brian comes to Orlando to bring a good report. Now there is more than 90 Powerhouse Churches in Kenya, and there is a big demand for mission in the area.
The harvest is ripe, and Jesus is calling workers for the harvest. The question is, “whom should I send, who will go? (Isaiah 6.8). Pray for workers. And if you want to go, please let me know.
Right now we are traveling in Denmark preaching the gospel visiting family and friends. The other day as we were heading for our next destination Karen told me to stop and turn the car around. “Did you see the sign at the roadside”, she asked, “It says “Nødhjælp fra Hjem til Hjem”… (Danish meaning “Disaster Relief from Home to Home”).
Could that really be? The sign looked very official, but it looked familiar to me. It was the name of a non profit organisation that Karen and I founded back in the 1990’s as we started collecting food and clothing for poor families in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldavia. God gave the vision, and God gave the provision – for when God guides, He also provides!
We went down the dirt road. On the right side was a barn. The door was open. I could see piles of plastic bags with clothes at the right side of the wall and stacks of wheel chairs, bikes and hospital equipment on the left side. In the doorway there was an old man in work clothes.
“Helmer?”. The man in the barn looked at me. It has been more than 15 years since last time we met, but obviously he was still here, still going strong 86 years old collecting donations and packing stuff for the next transport. Since we started the work it has been 228 trailer loads with 9 trailers last year. Hundred thousands of people have received helped over the years because of one mans vision.
This was my first big assignment before entering into full time ministry. I was visiting the former Sovjetunion when God told me to make a food drive and collect clothes for the people there. I was just a young man and I had no clue what I was doing, but the collection laid the foundation of what we are doing today.
From Home to Home
It was so cool to meet Helmer and hear about the work how it continues to bless people in great need. What started in our home has now spread to many homes. Amazing to see how this work of the Lord keep going and growing, spreading to different nations.
After this experience we went north to the coast to visit the thrift store that has been the financial engine behind the transports. Karen and I started the thrift store in 1998, as a teamwork between the church and the city, and there it was, still in the same location as a monument of the faithfulness and the goodness of the Lord.
As I entered in I found three ladies working in the store. Only one of them looked familiar. I did not introduce myself. “Do you remember me?” I asked, and when I said my name, she smiled. “This gentlemen was here from the beginning, he was here before anybody else” she explained and now we were all talking.
Old pictures came out of the drawers together with old articles from the local newspaper, and we talked about the first trip, when I brought a group of ladies to Ukraine. When they saw the poverty they were changed for life, they cried for a week, some of them gave their lives to Christ, and after this they gave themselves 100 pct to the work.
The Story Continues
It was amazing to see how the work of the Lord has not been in vain. How the vision that He gave came through, and how the seed that was planted back then is still growing for the benefit of many, even though we are not there anymore.
God has called us all to make a difference where we are at, to be history makers, trail blazers, vision bearers, life changers. Question is, what do we leave behind when we are not here anymore. What are the fruits, have we been faithful to do what He called us to do?
I live every day for him. That’s my passion, my only desire. I want to be obedient to all that He calls me to do. Not to say “no” but to go wherever he tells me to go. To Denmark, to Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, to Ecuador, Greenland, Kenya, leaving a trail of testimonies behind.