New Oakland takes Gospel to Ecuador
CUENCA, Ecuador – Lyn Heying would be quick to tell anyone that the Lord continues to draw people to Himself, and His provision never fails. Many might ask how will He provide? New Oakland Baptist Church, Monroe City, where Heying pastors, got an unforgettable answer as they prepared for the spiritual journey of a lifetime.
New Oakland Baptist is a modest congregation in number with an annual budget of less than $40,000, so when Lyn heard the Lord speak to his heart telling him to prepare the church for a mission trip with a cost of $12,000, it almost seemed to be an unreachable goal. Considering it would be the first mission trip that they had even thought about in 15 years, and with the amount of money needed being more than a quarter of their annual budget, faith was essential. Amazingly the Lord supplied beyond their expectations, as they reached more than the needed amount by $1,500. The amount left over has been saved by the church for future mission trips.
With the church being in a rural setting near camp sites, God provided in many ways from people outside church, said Heying, who is also an engineering consultant. For example, nearby campers – who asked to remain anonymous – donated money. Some didn’t even know why, they just said that they felt it was something they needed to do. The last group of campers came in and donated $350, the rest of the needed money, during the July 4 weekend.
“We simply went into it with the idea that God would supply if we were to go,” Heying said.
There were also donations made by other smaller churches to help them reach their goal. One church in particular donated more than $2,000.
Heying said the church “simply” trusted Jesus’ words when He said, “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26), and when He said, “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him (Mk. 11:22-23)”.
“He owns the cattle on 1,000 hills, and He provided,” Heying said.
There were seven people on the mission team: Lyn and Bonnie Heying; Mary Beck; Scott and Marsha Murray; Nathan Grove; and Tracy Elliot. Once they arrived, they began working with International Mission Board missionaries Linda Freeman, Mark and Sara Cody, and Al and Anna Rodriguez in Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador.
“God took us to the uttermost parts of the earth as we landed in the port city of Guiaquil and then traveled over 12,000 feet in elevation through the mountains to a small community called Tamrindo.”
They were in Tamrindo for only six hours because the missionaries were afraid the area wasn’t secure. Nevertheless, in the short time they were there, the Lord gave them the opportunity to share Bible stories with children and teach the adults how to tell their children these stories, Heying said.
They were amazed that the only restriction in the public schools was that they couldn’t teach Baptist doctrine – only Bible stories in a nation that is predominantly Roman Catholic.
“The sad thing is that we had to go outside the U.S. to teach kids about the Bible in public schools,” Heying said. When it spread through the community that adults had a chance to learn how to teach their kids the Gospel, a small class of about half a dozen adults grew to more than 40 parents within the span of an hour.
The reason Ecuador is Roman Catholic goes back hundreds of years when the Spaniards arrived in South America and conquered the indigenous people in the name of bringing the “true faith to the heathens.” Centuries later you find it as being a way of life now for 90 percent of native peoples. This tends to cause a blending of Roman Catholicism with their traditional, ritualistic beliefs.
Before they left, the team faced a traumatic incident. Casar and Martha were a couple to whom they had been ministering. Both were believers, though Casar was new to the faith.
While the New Oakland team was in Tamarindo, Casar was shot during a robbery which resulted in his having his foot amputated. Heying and the team went to the hospital to minister to the couple.
“God’s glory filled his room,” Heying said. “There were many prayers and many more tears for the courage of this young Christian.”
They continued their ministry throughout Ecuador to the town of Santa Barbra where there was a divided 40-year-old church. The division was caused by jealousy between members. The mission team set two goals: To teach members how to overcome division and to hold a Vacation Bible School (VBS) clinic. Three weeks later, after the team from New Oakland had left, they heard that the church held its first VBS in its 40-year history and had about 70 in attendance.
After leaving Santa Barbra the team went to the community of Sisic. While there they had three goals: Evangelism, outreach, and teaching. It was here where mission team members Scott Murray and Nathan Grove went into the community with Gospel tracts. They were able to pray with an 80-year-old man who received Jesus Christ as his Savior. The man immediately came to the church to receive training on how he can share the Gospel with his community.
In all, the team visited three communities in seven days. Every day they’d get up at 6 a.m. and wouldn’t go to bed until 10 or 11 p.m..
“Praise God for His mighty work,” Heying said. “By faith New Oakland Baptist trusted God would provide, and by grace we were given more than we hoped or asked for.”