Making Disciples of Christ in Ecuador

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The way God works is exciting and many times beyond what you would ever imagine. This is what we can say about what God has done in our lives. The very fact that God brought us together as a couple feels as if it were a miracle. And then the thought of where He is leading us feels like nothing less than His calling and plan being made known.

Josh: I’ve had a passion for evangelism and discipleship from very early on in my walk with Christ, which started in 2003. I remember praying nightly just desiring to draw close to God during those years in college. He began to make His calling known to me. I felt a draw to teach and preach. Through various campus ministries and my church at the time, God opened up doors to be able to minister to churches and youth.

 After graduating college, I came back to my home town. The first thing I did was get involved in my church and start a street ministry where I would go out to the bar districts and seek to share Christ with any and all who would give me the opportunity. This time of my life was very transformational. Through the different experiences and questions I was being asked in this ministry I was driven to study the Bible on a deeper level than before. I started to study biblical Greek to improve my understanding of the New Testament. After doing this for about a year, I simply thought to myself,“I like languages. There have been times I’ve ran into Spanish speakers on the street and it would have been great to have known Spanish. Why don’t I start learning Spanish? It would be a great tool.” Missions wasn’t on my mind at the time, but God was preparing me for something.

Karen: The journey God has been leading me trough has involved a lot of changes. I was born to parents who had already been serving as missionaries for almost 10 years in different cities of my home country, Colombia. I was the second of three children. As a missionary kid I saw my parents involved in discipleship, teaching, and pastoring. Growing in this environment was by the grace of God eventually used by Him to bring me to His feet in His perfect timing.

 As every kid does, I went through a stage of rebellion.  Maybe it wasn't outwardly expressed but my heart was far from God desiring the things of this world and coveting those things that the world esteems valuable. During my teen years, God led my parents to leave the organization where they served for over 30 years as missionaries in Colombia and in the Dominican Republic. This time was especially difficult for all of us as family and as individuals. It wasn’t only a challenging transition emotionally but spiritually too. The Lord did a lot of healing in our hearts during the following years and used that time to confront me with my personal sin and with the rebellious heart I had even when I called myself a Christian. Although this was possibly the hardest time that we have experienced as a family, it was one of the sweetest seasons of my life.   I was growing in intimacy with the Lord, getting to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and experiencing true repentance and total surrender of my heart to His perfect plans and will for my life. I began to desire to know Him and through the study of His Word, other books, and sermons He revealed Himself to me in a way that I had never experienced before.

A few years later, around 2005, I moved back to the DR with my family and a couple years after went to an art school. That was a tremendous season in my life too, God put to the test my relationship and devotion to Him.  I didn't just learn to improve my artistic skills but God refined my faith and tried my fidelity to Him by allowing me to spend day after day in one of the most godless environment I’ve ever been. Those college years represented a fiery spiritual war for my heart, and they were very time consuming leaving me with an even deeper hunger and thirst after God. I wanted to be with Him and serve Him, so my prayer started to be one of pleading Him to open the doors for me to serve Him in full time ministry. I had seen my parents devote a great portion of their youth in serving the Lord as full time missionaries so I began to wonder and pray about my personal calling. I found myself willing to go wherever He wanted me to go and in preparation for a life of total dependence of Him I started reading biographies and listening to sermons related to missions.

Josh: The more I studied Spanish, the more I fell in love with Hispanic culture and wanted to be with them. Through times with Latinos, a desire for ministry was growing. I started to attend a Spanish-speaking church as much as I could without neglecting my home church. This wasn’t too hard because this church also had services on Saturday night. God opened doors and began giving me relationships. A friend I had made invited me to come to Central America and visit the country he was from.  It was a wonderful confirmation of what I had been feeling in my heart.  While I was there, I was given two opportunities to share a message.  This were my first times to ever preach in Spanish.  Thankfully, my friend had given me some warning that this may happen so I had prepared a message.. well I memorized one to be honest.  I preached the same message at both churches.  It was a really great time of getting to know Latin culture first hand and make some friendships.

After I came back home, I was introduced to Karen via a common friend we had.  To make the story a little shorter, after a few months of conversations God had convinced me that this was the woman He had for me.  I didn't tell Karen that.  I just prayed and planned a trip to study Spanish in the Dominican Republic.  Yes, that was one of the reasons I went.. obviously the main reason was to get to know Karen, her family, and learn more about what I felt God was leading me into.

Karen: It wasn’t long after I asked God to lead me on the way He wanted me to go that I met Josh trough our mutual friend. His friendship became endearing to me, his love and devotion for God and His purposes challenged and inspired me. We had great chat conversations, we discussed theology, history and our personal testimonies of how we came to know the Lord. After a few months of writing back a forth I couldn’t help but notice our kindred spirits and began to pray for Josh in a special way.

When Josh came to visit I was hopeful, I didn’t know what to expect but I knew the Lord was doing something special in our lives. When he asked my dad permission to court me I was estatic to say the least! God had brought our friendship to fruition and confirmed our prayers and feelings for each other. The rest is history! and the Lord has been doing great things in our relationship since then.

Josh: So, as you can tell from this website my impressions of what God was doing was correct.  We started our relationship and went though engagement all long distance (I also made a couple trips to the DR).  After going through a long visa process we got married and began our lives together in the USA.  What's really interesting is that before I had went to meet Karen in person I had told a friend that I felt like Karen and I were going to get married, live in the USA for a little while, and then move to Latin America as missionaries.  I told him it was just thoughts and maybe just a day dream, but God has since showed me this is exactly what He wants for us.

Karen: After a year and three months of marriage the Lord has blessed us with a baby girl, Aletheia Grace. The Lord has been merciful and good, his graces abundant and we rejoice in His present and future plans with us as He leads us to serve Him and His people in the beautiful region of Loja, Ecuador.

Thanks for being part of this journey and calling by praying for us and supporting us in every way the Lord lead you!

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