Introduction

This is a summary of gospel evangelistic work being done by Christians in Ecuador - in the cities of Machala and Quito, in particular - and an appeal for prayers, evangelistic trips, and financial support for brethren there. This summary generally represents the personal observations of Olen Britnell and Bert Wilson of Athens, AL, both of whom have made several trips since 2004 to visit individual Churches of Christ in Ecuador. Olen was originally encouraged to visit Ecuador by Reid Braswell, a gospel preacher who lived in Bogota, Colombia, and worked with churches in Colombia and Ecuador. Reid worked in Latin American countries for more than twenty years before his untimely death in 2010. Other U.S. brethren who have worked with Ecuadorian churches include Anthony Genton, Ron Chafin, Bob Watson, Danny McKibben, Frank Richey, Joshuah Ellis, Jim Thayer, Keith Burnett, Mitch Davis, and Dick Adams (now deceased).

Situation

Ecuador is a country of 14.8 million people. Religiously, about 95% of the population is Roman Catholic, although that is probably counted by family and traditional affiliation, rather than active participation. Economically, like many South American countries, Ecuador has a small upper class, a small middle class, and a large lower class. Many Christians have lower incomes. Their houses and other meeting places are modest, but serve the purpose and are improved incrementally as funds permit. In Machala, for example, the congregation of 50 or so meet under a canopy in the courtyard of the preacher's house, with a couple of children's classes conducted inside the house.

New Testament Pattern

As is the case throughout the world, the church of Christ ("La Iglesia de Cristo") is a religious minority in Ecuador. And, as elsewhere, while some of the congregations are striving to follow the New Testament pattern regarding the organization and work of the church, other congregations have compromised the autonomy of local churches. There are a number of Ecuadorian preachers who realize these important doctrinal differences and are holding fast to the pattern of autonomous congregations, with each congregation having its own eldership (when qualified men exist) and enabling its own evangelism, edification and benevolence for fellow-Christians. Perhaps 35-40 congregations hold this primitive approach to church doctrine.

In Ecuadorian congregations, the Christians are actively involved and they genuinely enjoy being with each other. Visits from U.S. brethren are welcomed and such visits are usually an occasion for additional assemblies, Bible studies and discussions of the work in Ecuador and elsewhere.

Needs

As in other places, there is a great need for the preachers, elders and Christians in general to be further grounded in the principles of New Testament Christianity. This is especially true with respect to the organization and work of the church.

The men who are endeavoring to preach generally need additional funds for their own salaries and for travel and other expenses related to evangelism (printing, etc.). Often, they work with multiple small churches in nearby places.

The Christians need additional Bibles, hymn books, tracts and literature in Spanish and other church supplies.

The young people need to be encouraged and taught.

How to Help

Churches that wish to help take the gospel to Ecuador may contact me for instructions on making deposits or sending funds by Western Union.

Individuals may wish to make a contribution as a tax-deductible charitable gift. A fund is already in place to expedite this; contact me for details.  

All of your gift amounts will go totally to the work in Ecuador; any overhead or expenses will be covered by other sources. You may direct your gift to particular needs discussed on this site, and your gift will go to that need unless that need has already been covered. Again, contact me for coordination.

Olen Britnell
25676 Craft Road
Athens, AL 35613
256-233-4284
ecuador1830@gmail.com