Ibarra May Project...More than Numbers

Chris Stringer, Short Term Missions Manager, looks back over the May College Team's time in Ibarra, Ecuador last month.

It is hard to believe that it has been a week since I said goodbye to a fantastic group of students and sponsors who came to serve for two weeks in the city of Ibarra, Ecuador.  The Lord did such a wonderful work in them and through them, as well as in those of the city of Ibarra and the missionaries and pastors who are serving there.

The group consisted of the following:

Two sponsors and sixteen students from Olivet Nazarene University

Two Sponsors and eight students from Trevecca Nazarene University

One student from Marshall University

On Extreme projects, we plan to leave space for the Lord to work in all areas.  Last year, one of our short-term missionaries said that a project with Extreme is like a mission trip, church camp, and revival all wrapped together into one. I like that. It means that an appropriate amounts of work, worship, prayer, recreation and fellowship are present.

The team left knowing what a blessing they had been to each other and to the missionaries in Ibarra.  The 40/40 Church Planting Missionaries, Cluster Coordinator Family, and Pastoral Family were all encouraged and blessed by the energy, attitude, and efforts of the team.

Here are some numbers that help tell the story of the impact the May College Team had on the city:

583 - Hours spent in prayer for events, the city of Ibarra, the missionaries and pastors, and themselves

1361 - Hours of service and ministry in the city of Ibarra.  This included visiting orphans, the elderly, and those in the hospital.  It also included three outreach events for children, a time of clothing and toy distribution, helping to clean the church and missionary home, and working to do some improvements of a preschool in a lower-income part of the neighborhood.

452 - Contacts gained for the church.  This means that the missionaries and leaders will have new people to contact and visit, giving them an opportunity to invite them into a relationship with Christ and into the community of believers at the Puerta Abierta Church.  The church was fully organized just after the team left.  Read more about the Ibarra Church Plant becoming a Church of the Nazarene here.

These numbers do not include the many ways the team participated in the life of the church by attending worship services on Sundays, as well as the Thursday evening fasting and prayer services and the youth service.  We made space in the project for the team to experience the life of the church outside of the special events planned for the project.

When done well, five things occur simultaneously during a project:

  • The short-term team is a blessing to the people in the city where they serve
  • The team is a blessing to the missionaries in the service city
  • The team is a blessing to the physical buildings of the church and missionary/pastoral housing
  • The team is a blessing to the pastoral family and church in the service city
  • The team experiences formation and transformation before, during, and after their time on an Extreme project.
Based on these five areas, I would say the project was a huge success.  We also had the opportunity for Krista Kellerer, our Extreme Medical Coordinator, to be on the project.  She was a fantastic addition to the logistics team.
. Another goal we have with short-term is to allow everyone participating to use their God-given gifts and talents for the expansion of his Kingdom.  Krista was able do that in a two-fold manner, both by caring for the many ill short-term missionaries (and one long-term missionary) we had, as well as helping lead a ministry event at the preschool in which we gave medical checkups to the students and did a presentation about health and hygiene.
Thanks to everyone who made this fantastic project happen. This was my eleventh project to be a part of with Extreme. With each one, I learn more and more and have an increasing passion for serving our church plants and creating an environment for an Extreme expansion of God’s Kingdom.