Ambato Construction Back On Schedule
When we talk about some of the challenges that are included in planting a church in South America we mostly mention the relational aspect. It’s hard to find people that will completely dedicate their lives to God. And then discipling those who are firm in Christ to make disciples like them is another large hurdle. But, probably one that we don’t mention very often is actually finding land where the church can be built. That’s probably because it’s more logistical than anything else, but it’s become a recognized challenge within Extreme in our church planting process. It was a huge praise when the Ambato Church of the Nazarene was able to find land where they could build. About a month after the land was purchased a short-term mission team arrived to offer their manual labor to start the building process. The team was able to lay the foundation, put in rebar and dig out holes for the building’s supporting pillars. It was pretty good progress! Extreme continued to work on the building after the short-term team left, but three days later a wrench became lodged in the gears. The municipality shut down the construction.
If you take a walk around a city in South America, really in almost any country, you’ll be struck by several features that make up their common architecture. Rebar stands exposed on their roofs, and the buildings are built very close together, sometimes almost touching. The construction of the church building was found out by the municipality and they shut it down because of a coding infraction. The church was being built too close to the building next to it. It was a surprise as the architect that had been contracted to plan the placement of the building was from a different city and hadn’t been familiarized with Ambato’s codes. But even then, in a tight radius around the church’s property, there were several construction projects doing the same thing we were, but were not being shut down. We were confused and frustrated.
Immediately, we made an appeal, which was supposed to only take a month to process. It took nearly ten months. By having a church building there would be no more need to pay rent and it would allow the Pastor and his family to live off what came through the local church. But, with this long delay Pastor Lenilde took to using his personal car to taxi at night in order to provide for both the church and his family. Besides the immediate effects this had on the pastoral family, it was possible the sizable amount of money that was already invested in the construction would be lost and the project would have to start over.
We have been praying incessantly for God to move in this situation and He has moved incredibly through a recent change in the local municipality. All of the members of the department that flagged our construction had cycled out, even the lead of the department. The lead of the department also happened to be good friends with the lawyer, a member of the Ambato Church, who represented our case. Pastor Lenilde filed some more paper work right before Christmas break, and just this past weekend we received news, the hold on construction has been lifted and we can start construction again!
And even more good news, the weekend before this past, the Ambato Church Plant was organized and is now officially a part of the Church of the Nazarene. God obviously has a lot in store for this community as they continue to grow and make an impact on their surroundings.
We are ecstatic that we serve a God that will move mountains for His children. We recognize that is exactly what God has done for us through this season. Since the moment the construction was shut down, our prayers were lifted and He heard our cry. Our Heavenly Father hears us, and He responds to His children.
Please, praise the Lord with us as we celebrate how He breathed life into what was once a dead situation.