Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Impact ~ Ecuador

This week as a team of bloggers and OCC volunteers are distributing shoeboxes in Equador I will be featuring Equador. I have posted about the live twitter event. And I will share links to blogs about the distribution. No more delay... an impact report from Ecuador

Thirty percent of Ecuador’s 15 million people are 14-years-old or younger. In the 2011-2012 season, 151,200 shoe box gifts will be delivered to children in Ecuador, which first received the gifts in 1997. Since then, 612,792 children in Ecuador have received a shoe box gift.

In 2010, Operation Christmas Child began offering a new, follow-up discipleship program to our ministry partners in conjunction with the shoe box gifts. This year in Ecuador, these Bible lessons will be offered to 30,800 children who receive a shoe box gift.

The Greatest Journey begins when children are freely offered Gospel storybooks along with their shoe boxes. The Greatest Gift of All booklets—printed in over 70 languages—contain colorful illustrations that explain the Good News of Jesus Christ in a simple, engaging style.

After receiving a shoe box gift, boys and girls are invited to participate in the voluntary Bible study course produced by Samaritan’s Purse. The 12-lesson set guides children through a study of who Jesus Christ is, what it means to follow Him, and how to share this exciting message with others.

To help these boys and girls continue to grow in their faith, we also want to provide them with their own copies of the Greatest Gift of All New Testament. This special edition also includes select Old Testament stories, a dictionary, and a section that encourages the children to memorize Scripture.

Spiritual Impact Stories
Receiving God's Love
During a shoe box distribution at Centro Cristiano Nuevo Horizontes, 100 children accepted Christ. The pastor said: “There was one special girl called Gaby. She is mentally slow, and her mother is an older lady that sells in the streets. The girl had never had a gift and she would dream about a stuffed animal. During the program, both of them accepted Christ and received God’s love and the stuffed animal she always wanted.”

An Eternal Harvest
Pastor Guido from Divino Redentor church said: “I offered the church as the site for the Operation Christmas Child training and kickoff events of The Greatest Journey. I thought about blessing others, but I got blessed and the church too. We had around 40 children in our Sunday school class, and after the distribution, the number went up to100. We started a ministry with the families that live in Villa Flora and are very poor. The children received Christ, and the mothers, who were very thankful, asked us to come back every week. Now we have a church in Quebrada with this people. What a blessing!”

Pastor Juan Carlos at Buen Pastor de Palugo Church said: “In a very poor neighborhood we distributed shoe boxes last year and gave out the Greatest Gift Of All booklets. This is where we started a ministry called “Buenas Nuevas” (Good News). In March this year, some people from Operation Christmas Child in the United States visited us and gave us shoe boxes and The Greatest Journey, a new discipleship program. We started with 35 children, and now we have 110 children each Friday; and on Mother’s Day, 25 mothers and fathers started coming to church. Glory to God!”

Pastor Juan at Christian Center Tumbco and AARON school said: “During the program where Operation Christmas Child distributed shoe boxes, a boy from second grade opened a shoe box and started jumping and shouting for joy. He asked the brothers and sisters from the U.S. to go to another school he knew where the children were poorer. That’s how we went to Itulcachi School, where more than 50 children received Jesus as their Savior.”

I'm Not Alone
From a local volunteer: “Adrian, 12 years old, was abandoned by his parents when he was a child because they left the country. He lives with his grandparents. He thought nobody loved him and had many problems at school because he didn’t have a home. After the shoe box distribution he said: ‘My uncle and aunt invited me to go to an evangelistic program in the church. There, I met Christ. God loves me, and He loves me a lot. I know I’m not alone. I hope my parents come back from Spain so I can hug them and tell them I love them a lot. Thank you for the shoe box and the biggest gift of all, Jesus.’”

The province of Guano has only four churches and less than 1,000 Christians. Pray for the church to grow and for many to come to know the Lord.

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