If you’ve ever wondered what a typical week of ministry looks like for our missionaries, here’s a quick glimpse from OMS Ecuador missionary, Jennifer Riggs.
many times a week do you visit people?
A: Each week, I spend two to four days visiting people.
Q: How do you know
who to talk to?
A: During the short-term medical team trip we had in May, we asked patients if they would like a visit from us. We are also following-up with friends the Loja Challengers made the year.
Q: What’s a sample conversation sound like?
A: Me: Hi, anyone home?
Person: Yes, come on in. Have a seat (pointing to planks of wood propped up to form a bench.)
I ask about their health.
Me: I am sorry to hear that your knees are still bothering you. It comes from all of the hard work you have done.
Person: Yes, right now we are harvesting peanuts.
We talk about the harvest for a bit.
Me: The other reason why I wanted to visit you is to see if you are interested in learning more about what the Bible says about God.
Person: Yeah, that's fine.
Me: Wonderful. I would like to share a Bible story with you.
I share a story from the Bible like the prodigal son. We talk about the meaning and application.
Me: Prayer is talking to God about things. Is there something I can pray for you?
Person: Yes, my family, finances, and health. It isn't going to take very long is it?
Me: No. It doesn't have to take long.
I pray for them.
Me: Can I visit you again sometime, and I can share another story from the Bible?
Person: If I am home.
Person hands me a bag of oranges recently picked from their tree.
Q: What happens next?
A: We go back and visit those who invited us back. We share with them different lessons focused on salvation. Each time planting seeds of the Gospel. We ask them if they would like to accept Christ. If they do, we start discipleship.
Q: Are you partnering with a church?
A: Yes. We have been taking members from the church in Catamayo with us so that they can be a part of reaching out to their people. We also are partnering with an association of evangelical churches who have started a program called "Saturate Ecuador."
Q: What is Saturate Ecuador?
A: It is a church multiplication plan to saturate all of Ecuador with the Gospel. The idea is present the Gospel to as many as will hear. After each Bible story we challenge the people to find someone else with whom to share. Then as their friends and neighbors get curious, they show up to meet with us and then they go out and share with others. And a brand new house church is formed.
Q: Where do you go?
A: We travel anywhere between one and two hours away. To get to the town of Amarillos, we drive on a very curvy paved road for a little over an hour. Then, we go up a dirt single lane road for another 20 minutes. Then, some places we hike either up or down the mountain, sometimes up to 10 minutes. I really enjoy seeing God's creation as we travel to these remote places.
Q: Do you go by yourself?
A: No, we have a team of people we work with, including Tom and Susan Stiles and the Williamson family. We take turns. We usually go two-by-two. We also sometimes take some of the members from the church here in Catamayo.
Q: What progress have you seen?
A: We have been able to see God transform two women who were recently baptized. I have seen people who know God start growing more in their walk with him. We have seen several people accept Christ. And many who are excited to learn, who we pray for and are expecting to see them come into God's family.
Q: What do you do on the other days that you aren't out visiting?
A: Besides taking a day off, we have team planning and prayer meetings usually once a week. We also meet once a week with all of the OMS missionaries in the Loja area for a prayer meeting. On Saturdays, we go out and lead kids club, called Bread and Fish.
Q:What do you do on your day off?
A: I might paint, draw, work on puzzles, bake, or care for my potted plants. I have also gone into Loja to catch up and enjoy being with my friends that I miss. Since Catamayo is hot year-round, we sometimes go to the swimming pool and go down the water slides.
Q: What is your favorite part of ministry?
A: I enjoy seeing the church realize that they have something to share with the people. I love sharing Bible stories with people who have never heard them before. I also enjoy spending time with our team.