Sadness and Joy in Manta

I just first want to thank the Lord for the amazing opportunity to be able to go to Manta. Really, it was an amazing and unique experience. I have done similar things before, but never like this where we saw the needs of the people as much in the physical as in the spiritual. On Friday, we arrived in Manta at about 9 pm. Where we arrived was where we set up everything for the event. Pastor Luis gave a message. We also had a time where we went around to the different families, gave them hugs and prayed for them. We took food kits with us and toiletries for the people there. The physical needs was just as great as the spiritual, not just because of what I saw, but I also had the opportunity to speak with some of the people that had lost homes, and with others whose homes were about to fall down. The terror that the people had that their homes would fall apart was enough that they slept on the streets.

For me, I am most attracted to working with children and being able to talk about God’s love with them. I also like to explain to children the little bracelets that tell the story of the gospel and what each color means. It’s something that fills me with so much happiness to know that they can accept God, even when they are little. And when they give you hugs and tell you not to leave, those are the things that really touch my heart.

On Saturday, the path of the team for the day started with a devotional, ate breakfast and then prayed again for our visits and for the event we had later that day. We visited each of the contacts and talked a little about life, then shared the gospel through the bracelets and what each color means. We found that the people were so kind. One of the visits that I really enjoyed was with a señora Maria. She even offered us her home to stay in while in Manta. She was so hospitable and happy for the kits that we brought her. One of the other things that really impacted me from the visits was a visit with a woman named Carmen. I saw in her eyes such a huge sadness. She lives only by what people give her because she doesn’t have work.

The rest of my teammates had visits that also impacted their lives. Michell Soriana has a contact, Janet. She lost her house and lives with her sister. So, Mishell went to Janet’s sister’s house. Janet’s whole family was there (uncles, nephews, cousins, sisters). They were all there with open hearts and listened to Mishell. While they cried together about many different things like the state of the economy and for the loss of their home, the most important thing was that they received Jesus in their hearts.

The visits were really a very interesting time. The North Americans were able to express themselves very well in Spanish when they were able to share the gospel and a lot of people accepted Christ into their hearts. My North American ministry partner, Maria, loved the time that she got to spend in the home of some older people. They were so happy that somebody wanted to visit them and even share one the kits with them. One of the other things that we were able to take was medicine. We took a doctor from Ibarra, Ecuador with us to tend to some people too.

For the event in the evening we had people helping from Guayaquil, Ibarra and also those of us from Extreme. We had the event in a shelter where we painted children’s faces, and there was a program with music and games for the children, but that the adults could dance along with also. A news team came for the channel Teleamazones and they recorded the event.

There was an gospel-telling drama that the people from the Guayaquil church did and Pastor Luis also gave another message. It touched the hearts of the people there and many received Christ into their lives. To end the event, we gave the kids little surprise gifts.

I also have to mention that the new church of Manta already has some members. It is a family that went to each of the events that we did. That Saturday we ended with praise and worship to God, and that family joined us and gave their testimony! Some of the people in the team also shared their stories of what happened to them while in Manta.

During this time in Manta I could see that God know why he does things. Everything that happens has a great purpose. Manta is a city that is going to praise and worship God. It is a city where the people need God. Their needs are physical and spiritual.

For me, it was a time where my heart became sad and happy to see so many people with needs. They had lost what they had. They are without jobs. But, at the same time I am happy to know that these people want Jesus. They accepted him to enter their lives. That is a huge reason for joy!

Meet The Author

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Noemí Galarza is a 40/40 Missionary for the church plant in Manta, Ecuador. She is from the hot city Guayaquil, Ecuador, along the coast of the country. At 13 the Lord spoke to her and told her He had a purpose for her to use her strengths and personality in His Kingdom.