Church of the Nazarene Ecuador celebrates 50 years
Wed, 10/19/2022 – 19:41
Nearly 600 people gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Church of the Nazarene in Ecuador.
The event included the participation of General Superintendent in Jurisdiction Fili Chambo, South America Regional Director Christian Sarmiento, Field Strategy Coordinator Geraldo Nunes, and district superintendents and ministry leaders from across the country.
“I want to congratulate you on behalf of the Board of General Superintendents,” Chambo said. “We thank the Lord for missionaries and national leaders who have served the Lord faithfully; we look forward to the next 50 years or 100 years with great joy.”
The celebration included a ministry fair where all ministry coordinators and their teams displayed their work and invited attendees to get involved by using their gifts and talents to serve in the local church.
Brian Loor, the Nazarene Youth International president at Luz y Vida Church of the Nazarene, highlighted the work of each district superintendent and layperson who have been a part of the church’s life in these 50 years.
“I was excited and challenged to see many faithfully serving the Lord,” Loor said. “If they have served with much love and passion, why not me?”
Superintendent of the Sierra Centro District Mario Paredes took a moment to share part of the history of the Nazarene church in Ecuador, beginning with the Swain family, who received official permission from World Mission to establish the Church of the Nazarene in Ecuador in 1971. That year, they arrived in Guayaquil to carry out a scouting trip in which they identified various points to start the church. In December of that year, they received their visas and official permission from the government to work in the country. On February 28th, 1972, the family of five arrived in Ecuador to begin the work of establishing the Church of the Nazarene.
The first convert was a painter who hired to paint the missionary’s house. He immediately opened the doors of his house and invited his neighbors. On 1 June 1972, the first church was organized in Prosperita with approximately 50 people. The need to raise national leaders was prevalent as church membership grew. John and Sheila Hall were appointed to develop a pastoral formation track. Later, the Evangelical Institute was established, offering Old Testament as the first course.
During the next decade, Ecuador received many Work & Witness teams that helped further the building and evangelism initiatives. From 1984-1995, Ecuador experienced a season of expansion under the leadership of Louis Bustle.
The program “Each one win one” was widely received nationwide. Under this strategy, the national church grew in leaps and bounds; as a result, five new districts were added, resulting in a total of six across the nation.
In 2018, Dwight and Caroline Rich retired after serving 25 years on the North Andean Field in various capacities. That year, Ecuador had a membership of 16,581 and 211 organized churches.
The Church of the Nazarene in Ecuador continues its plan to expand. Currently, there are efforts to plant a new district in the country’s eastern part of the Amazon area.
“This is an opportunity for other districts to join in to help the expansion of the kingdom of God in this area,” said Esdras Jimenez, holistic ministry coordinator for Ecuador.
Fifty years ago, missionary Alfred Swain uttered, “a great future awaits in Ecuador.” The Church of the Nazarene in Ecuador hopes to continue making Christlike disciples.
-Church of the Nazarene South America