Worldwide Wednesday: E – Ecuador
Pray for Ecuador
Republic of Ecuador
Area: 269,178 sq km
Amazon jungle in the east, high Andean Sierra in the centre, fertile coastal plain on Pacific Coast. Also the Galapagos Islands, 1,000 km to the west.
Population: 13,774,909 Annual Growth: 1.07%
Official language: Spanish Languages: 25 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Challenges for Prayer
Missions. The largest groups are HCJB, MAF, AoG, CB/CMML, AV, OMS, IT. Many opportunities remain for missionary recruits in supportive ministries, church planting and pioneer work in the groups mentioned below. Pray for good church-mission relationships. The ever-present danger of administrative and financial paternalism threatens to impose Western patterns and stifle Ecuadorian initiatives.
- a) The slum-dwellers of Quito and Guayaquil. Over 60% of the latter’s population are extremely poor, and many live in slums built on a polluted marsh. Few Christian workers have a vision for these deprived people.
- b) The upper and middle classes are relatively unresponsive (CMA, OMS and others).
- c) University and school students. Over eight agencies are involved in campus ministries among the 250,000 students (on more than 300 campuses), including CCCI, CECE (IFES), YFC, LAM and four denominational groups. There is still much room for growth.
- d) The Afro-Ecuadorian people are only 0.03% evangelical. Although there are many Catholics among them, Spiritism is the true spiritual power at work in their midst. Pray for a breakthrough among this unique group.
- e) The 28,000 people living on the distant and barren Galapagos Islands now have a growing ministry in their midst through MVI. The islands host many eco-tourists who, through Darwin’s legacy, are often hostile to biblical Christianity.
- f) Loja province is isolated from mainstream Ecuadorian life and is only 0.1% evangelical. Operation Esperanza is a multi-agency effort to see fruit in this region through prayer, radio, evangelism and holistic ministry (SIM, OMS, WV). Good Shepherd Radio broadcasts the gospel to many isolated villages otherwise difficult to access.
April 2016: Franklin Graham is asking for prayer as Ecuador sorts through the rubble from a deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck its Pacific coast on Saturday. The South American country, nestled on the equator between Colombia and Peru, is getting help from Samaritan’s Purse and other relief organizations.
“Samaritan’s Purse is responding to the people of Ecuador who are suffering as a result of the devastating earthquake that shook their country this weekend, killing hundreds and injuring more than 2,500,” BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham posted on Facebook. “We have Samaritan’s Purse staff on the ground in the affected area with more on the way, including medical personnel.
“Please remember the people of Ecuador in your prayers as well as our teams working to bring help.”
Franklin Graham has preached to more than 8 million people since conducting his first evangelistic event with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1989. In 2006, he held the Festival of Hope in Ecuador’s state capital of Quito where a record crowd joined him and more than 14,000 indicated decisions for Christ.
Galo Vasquez, a native of Ecuador, was the associate director at that Festival, and vividly remembers watching God work. After extensive planning for a three-day event, the Festival had to be condensed to two days due to a scheduling conflict with the venue.
Quito, Galo said, is located in a valley, so people didn’t usually venture out in the evenings because of the weather. But for the two nights of the Festival, a record crowd attended.
Among those in attendance was a delegation of pastors and leaders, who wanted to invite Franklin Graham to their city of Guayaquil. Plans were made, and in 2007, the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope was held in the port city. Another record crowd turned out and thousands more made decisions for Christ.
“The most influential cities of the country were really impacted with the Festivals and a large number of people heard the Gospel, and there were many that responded,” said Galo, who now serves as BGEA’s Director of Latin American Festivals.
Galo was born in Ambato, Ecuador, but moved to Quito with his family when he was 9 years old. The majority of his family, including his 92-year-old mother, still lives there today.
“I was having a hard time connecting with them because the lines were oversaturated, but I was able to talk to them yesterday morning,” Galo said. “They’re in shock. The whole country is in shock with the circumstances because they’re just beginning to see the actual damage. They felt the earthquake that lasted over 30 seconds, but by the grace of God they’re doing fine.”
This isn’t the first major earthquake for Ecuador, which also experienced a devastating one almost 30 years ago. Galo’s hope is God’s people will see the opportunity within the natural disaster.
“This is not the first time we’ve seen this,” Galo said of the earthquake. “The last big one was in 1987 so it does bring people into a process of reflection about the supernatural and consequently, an exercise of thinking more about God. As they seek for God, they become more sensitive to the spiritual things and messaging so now I wouldn’t be surprised if the people would be open to going to church.
“I would say we do need to pray that God’s people would be wise. This is a good opportunity to go and demonstrate the love of God.”
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for all mankind. You are sharing with us your heart for people all around the world. Thank you for your grace and mercy. We ask for you to reach into the depths of destruction, despair and discouragement and send forth your healing and hope. Send your complete and total restoration of the land, repair the broken streets, build up the ruined walls. Mend families, broken lives and broken hearts through the power of the love of Jesus. Thank you for recovery and renewal. May your kingdom come and your will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.