Manta's First Encounter - As Told By Kellie

Our first encounter!We held our very first encounter at the end of September. Beforehand, I honestly didn’t know what an Encounter could really look like when it was our team producing it. Keep reading and you’ll find out what it did look like!

What is an encounter? Great question! I didn’t completely know myself – until I observed the weekend. It is a time to learn about Christianity as a whole. I had never experienced or seen all that there is to know about our life with Christ in one sitting of classes: From learning about creation, our three enemies (the world, our flesh and Satan) all the way to the freedom that God gives us! But, that is what our contacts experienced over the Encounter weekend.

God used the teachings to captivate their attention and change their lives. The whole point of an Encounter is to change people’s lives. The goal is that at the end of it, the person who goes be a completely changed person when they return. You never know how many people will end up going until the day it starts, because that is the nature of South America. I’ve been told that at the beginning of a church plant (like ours), you’re lucky if you get one or two people that show up. My team was blessed to have eight incredible people attend.

Our part During the encounter, it was our job (my teammates and I) to guide and serve; lend a hand if the people needed anything. Most of them are new to going to church, so we guided them in how to find verses in the Bible.

Also we simply led by example! If there was a worship song, we would worship. It wasn’t hard to do that. Throughout the weekend, I was able to see their worshiping grow and look different. They really looked like they were giving praise to God.

More than that, we each had our own topic to preach on. This part was stretching for me (as well as all the other North Americans) – I’ve never preached in English and here I was, presented with the opportunity to preach in Spanish! All I had to do was remember what my partner told me: “The people want to hear what you have to say!” She was right because the people were very receptive. More so than that, it was the Lord through me.

Remarkable Testimonies Out of the eight people that attended, three of them made a decision to follow Christ with their whole life and got baptized! There was also one couple who have two kids and have been together for 11 years; but they are not married. After they attended the Encounter, they made a decision that they want to obey the Word of the Lord and be married in God’s eyes. On October 5th, 2016 they were married! They have completely turned their lives around to glorify Christ.

Through all of this, I didn’t expect God to work in my life because the encounter was for these eight other people. However, God did speak into my life and really grew my faith. Not only are these eight lives changed…but mine is too.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Kellie Mendenhall is a 40/40 Church Planter for the project in Manta, Ecuador. Kellie and her team arrived only a few short months ago to the city of Manta, and are already making a huge impact in their ministry. Continue to read more about Manta.