July 1, 2009
By Stephanie Beers, serving in Ecuador
The following is an adaptation of an article by Stephanie Beers, who has served as a missionary to Ecuador for 17 years.
Celebrating a missions presence of 112 years, Alliance missionaries in Ecuador gathered with national church leaders, pastors, and members of the 300 C&MA churches in Ecuador to officially “pass the torch” to the national church.
The June 19 service took place in the Templo Alianza, which was founded by Alliance missionaries 81 years ago, in the heart of Guayaquil. The U.S. C&MA was represented by Dr. Bob Fetherlin, vice president for International Ministries, and Rev. Bill Mangham, regional director for Latin America. Rev. David Muthre, president of the Alliance national church in Ecuador, delivered a message entitled “The Legacy of our Missionaries.” Dr. Miguel Lecaro, pastor of Templo Alianza for 61 years, gave a brief historical overview of the mission’s work.
A New Frontier
The first Alliance missionaries landed on the shores of Ecuador in 1897, two years after religious freedom was proclaimed in that country. Previously, the nation was under the direct authority of the Pope and was closed to any influence except Roman Catholic teachings.
By 1908, eight believers had been baptized, and in 1912 the first Alliance church in Ecuador was inaugurated. Ten years later, C&MA missionaries dedicated the first Protestant church in the city of Quito.
Today, the Alliance national church in Ecuador has grown to more than 31,000 inclusive members who are passionate about reaching their nation-and the world-for Jesus Christ. On July 1, 2009, the local mission officially closed with the retirement of field leadership couple Mike and Carol Welty, leaving behind a mature national church that has a legacy of enthusiastic evangelism, intensive discipleship, sound doctrine, and vibrant trans-cultural ministry.
The U.S. C&MA will continue to have a presence in Ecuador for several more years, as the country will be the base of operations for the C&MA Latin America Regional Office. The regional ministry team comprised of Bill and Ann Mangham (regional directors), Guy and Denise Maurin, (administrative assistant and financial coordinator), Jon and Jessie Ritchey (missions/Latin American Graduate School of Theology and World Missions), and Rich and Lisa Brown (Youth Leadership Development) will continue living in Quito and ministering throughout the region.
Other missionaries who will transition out of Ecuador in the next several years include Paul and Nelda Johnson (Short-Term Ministry coordinators), Randy and Joy Newburn (regional Awana), Bill and Ellen Evans (Alliance Academy International), and Bruce and Stephanie Beers (Samborondón Alliance Church).
Pastor Muthre stated that as the Alliance mission team members finish their task in Ecuador, they can join with the apostle Paul in saying: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Check out our Alliance work in Ecuador.
What You Can Do
Praise God for His work through Alliance missionaries in Ecuador and for the strong national church that is carrying on their legacy. Pray that Christ will continue to use national believers to build His Church in Latin America and beyond.
Donate now to Alliance Great Commission Ministries to support God’s work around the world.