I just recently returned from my second trip to Ecuador with Nexus International. I have been working with Nexus for the last 4-5 years and have recently began the onboarding process with them. I have known that God was calling me to this ministry about 2 years ago, and I’ve just not obeyed His calling. God has shown me that His timing is so much better than ours. You might be wondering what Nexus does, I’ll tell you below.
Nexus has a vision to reach local, catalytic leaders around the world and to empower, equip and encourage them in the work of making disciples of young people in every culture. We recently just spent 10 days with upwards of 50 of these leaders in Latin America. One of Nexus’ staff members, Juan Carlos, has been discipling me for the last 4 years (that’s another blog post in itself). He is from Ecuador originally and has lived in the states for 10-12 years with his wife and 3 kids. The one thing that I can tell you about Juanca is that He loves people very well. He embodies the love that John 15 speaks of when it tells us to “lay our lives down for a friend”. It is because of this love I have experienced Jesus in ways deeper than I could have imagined. He has this same love for these leaders in Ecuador.
When we think of making disciples, we must look at how Jesus did it. Jesus was super relational in his discipling of the 12. They spent most all of their time together. Whether it was teaching, serving the multitudes, walking from town to town or retreating to the wilderness for solitude, Jesus was with his disciples. This is the foundation for leading people into a deeper walk with Jesus. We must be with them. As we ourselves are in closest relationship to Jesus (John 1:18) , we must let the hope and love from Him, pour out into those we are seeking to lead. We have to value others more than ourselves (Philip. 2). When we do this, Jesus is glorified and made known to those around us. Juanca has been giving his life away to some of these leaders for close to 10 years. He has been close to them, cried with them, laughed with them, celebrated with them and so much more. He has done this for me as well, and that is why I am in the place where I can respond to God with a resounding YES, I will follow you wherever you ask me to go.
We spent a lot of time in conversation with these leaders last week. Just talking of how God is working in our lives and what He may be asking us to go and do. The first part of the trip was spent at a camp teaching at a conference called “Pescando Hoy” or “Fishing Today”. We got to speak to leaders from all over Ecuador on how to be intentional in reaching young people and equipping them with the tools necessary to care and disciple youth in their communities. The latter part of our trip was spent in the wilderness with a few other youth leaders from different parts of Ecuador. We camped and climbed mountains for couple of days all while speaking of how Christ was working and transforming our hearts to help us reach those He has given to us. Christ modeled retreat a lot with His disciples. He utilized the wilderness as a way to teach people about kingdom truth’s and the Father’s character. We too like to use this for the same reasons.
The last day of our camping trip we climbed a large mountain, some of which was almost vertical and required some climbing skills and a lot of bravery (at least for those of us with fears of falling). As we topped the summit and all gathered around, we sat in silence for a few moments, listening to the gentle wind blow. We were reminded of when Elijah encountered God on the mountain, God wasn’t in the earthquake, the furious wind or the fire, but He was in a still, soft voice almost like a gentle breeze. We couldn’t help but to respond in awe and worship at how good our God is. It is through experiences like this, however strenuous and fatiguing they may be to get to the top sometimes, it’s there that we encounter God and man how that’s worth it!
As I looked at the leaders around me and realized their relationship with Juanca, God showed me something. He showed me His long term plan for making disciples. Our society as made us far too impatient in most every way. We often want to see immediate results and if we don’t, then we move on or think we have failed. The people on top of the mountain with us that day were a 10 year investment, and this was only the beginning! I was reminded of how we are given an opportunity to steward all that God gives to us. People are no different. Before Jesus went to the cross and he was praying the High Priestly Prayer in John 17, Jesus pray’s for those that the Father had given to Him out of this world and then Jesus prays for future believers! He could have prayed for anything…But he prayed for his friends and then he prayed for you and I. He prayed that we would “not be taken out of this world, but protected from the evil one” (v15). The same way that the Father sent the son into the world, so was the son sending us into the world (v18). His prayer is that we would be protected in THIS world. He was sending us out like lambs among wolves. Have you ever seen how sheep protect their young from predators? The mature ones circle around the young ones and fend them off. This is God’s design for His church as well. Those of us that are mature, should put other’s above ourselves, protect them from the evil one and teach them how to do the same.
This was amazing!!! I am so thankful that God would reveal to me this plan in His word and in those around me. I am so hopeful and excited to approach my relationships with a new vigor and excitement for leading them towards Jesus in a more intentional way for the rest of my life. This trip was affirming in my calling in so many ways! Now the process begins of raising my support so that I can do this on a full time basis. I will be creating a video of my time in Ecuador that you can check out on my Vlog! If you want to hear more about our ministry and the leaders we work with, you can contact us on this page. If you are local we would love to have you over to our home for coffee to talk more about our ministry and how you could potentially be involved. If you are far away, thank goodness for internet, we would love to Skype with you and possibly drink coffee at the same time, so it’s almost like we’re having coffee together! If you would like to stay connected to our ministry you can register for our monthly newsletter here.
Thanks and God Bless,