Extreme Nazarene’s Ibarra church plant celebrated its one year anniversary today. It was an amazing church service to attend. Justin and I along with others from Quito went to Ibarra to spend the weekend with our brothers and sisters there to celebrate in what God has done through them and the church.
Saturday morning started with a children’s event hosted at a local daycare. The event was full of singing, playing and of course snacks. About thirty children along with some parents showed up for the shenanigans. The children were eager to sing and dance with the energetic 40/40 staff. One of the things that really struck me were some of the older boys from the church (probably between the ages of 11-14) who helped to lead skits and games were overall taking a huge part in the church at very young ages.
This event and the next were also used to help train the upcoming 40/40 team set to depart for Cordoba, Argentina in May. The youth group afterwards set out for a nursing home. I watched as these young people who one year ago were living much different lives without Christ poured out His love on the people there. For me, communication was difficult, but I watched as the high schooler and college age students offered prayer, nail painting, hand massages, lotion, card games or just a listening ear or hand to hold.
Sunday morning, church was literally packed full. Myself and other staff members stood outside the door for much of the service, where we could have a full view of this church worshiping together as one. When one year ago, this building would of been an empty. Today it was filled with children, adults and young people all worshiping in one spirit. The church also celebrated its new leaders and those who had committed to beginning or continuing their leadership classes. In the end, there were four graduated leaders to celebrate (with around 25 others still in classes) and I watched as one cried as the certificate was handed to her, because it was the first “diploma” she had ever received.
The church in Ibarra along with its houses of prayers continue to grow. It is a pleasure to be a part of this organization and to support these people as they impact their community in Ibarra. This summer I am looking forward to many more opportunities to taking part in this community with the short term teams that are set to come there.