February 27, 2019

Michigan Group Changes Lives in Ecuador

Michigan—Thirty-seven individuals journeyed to Ecuador for a life-changing mission trip, organized by the Michigan Conference Evangelism Department, in partnership with Quiet Hour Ministries. This two-week trip in December 2018 was a unique opportunity for the Michigan constituent family to experience front-line mission and generate an excitement for outreach in their own home churches and communities.

 

Ground zero was Huaquillas, Ecuador, a mid-sized city near the border of Peru. It is not known for its tourism attractions, and mission trips there are rare. There are 11 Seventh-day Adventists churches in Huaquillas. Although these churches share only one pastor, they are actively involved in evangelism; four of these churches were newly planted in just the past few years.

 

The Michigan Conference is passionate about Grow Michigan, which embraces the full evangelism cycle through Christ’s method alone (Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, p. 143) in every church. More than a program or an initiative, this is an ongoing culture that leads to regular, systematic soul-winning and Total Member Involvement. There are five key components to the cycle: (1) Preparing, (2) Planting, (3) Cultivating, (4) Harvesting, and (5) Preserving.

 

Many months before we arrived, mission workers labored alongside eager members to prepare the soil and plant the seed. They launched community events, conducted Bible studies, and distributed literature.

 

Each morning, our team, led by ground workers Wes Peppers, Cory Herthel and Darryl Bentley, worshipped together and discussed the day’s plans. Team members received training in areas such as: the cycle of evangelism, Biblical church structure, how to develop a Great Commission culture in their church, the role of the pastor and members, and how to witness one-on-one.

 

Three construction teams worked each day on various projects organized by the local churches, completing church bathrooms, a baptistry, and an outside concrete floor. It was inspiring to work alongside the locals who were creative when common tools (to us) were unavailable. The newly constructed baptistry was even used for baptisms that same weekend!

 

Another important element was the medical clinics. Although the conditions were uncomfortable, hundreds of people came. The clinic serviced by medical professionals offered glucose testing, vitals, eye testing and free glasses, along with medications and medical supplies. New clothing and school supplies also were distributed. As patients waited, they gladly accepted offers for prayers and counseling.

 

In just five days, more than 700 people were served and approximately $150,000 in medical services provided. More than 300 patients requested Bible studies and local church members are following up.

 

The climax of the trip was the evangelistic meeting. Each evening, team members gave health talks and inspiring Biblical messages, while others led vacation Bible schools. At the conclusion, we witnessed 30 baptisms, with an additional 25 currently in preparation, and many others continuing Bible studies. 

 

For a few on our team, this was a new experience. Some had never been out of the U.S. while others had never preached or led out in VBS before. Discomfort was a daily occurrence, but no one complained. Every obstacle became a call to prayer. No matter how tired we were, the Spirit of God gave strength for a greater purpose than ourselves.

 

We invite you to experience your own mission trip transformation. Our next trip takes us to Cuba, March 11–22, 2020. For more information, call the Michigan Evangelism Department (517-914-4358) or see us at Michigan Camp Meeting.

 

Wes Peppers, associate Ministerial director, Michigan Conference, with Marian Peppers