Jungle Books: Critical Supplies for Spiritual Battle
Patricio went into a prison in Ecuador for aggravated assault and came out wanting to plant a church among the unreached in a remote northern jungle.
Evangelists with a native prison ministry led Patricio to Christ, breaking through the spikey shell shielding his tender core and seeing him change from hardened hot-head to determined missionary. He spent months in Bible study, and he knew sweet fellowship in an otherwise hostile environment.
But that was just his first transformation.
When he got out of prison and the native ministry sent him to plant a church along the Cayapa River among the Chachi people group, Patricio found he was not fully prepared to deal with the conflicts arising in his small congregation. Many villagers retained animistic beliefs, while others held to a works-based concept of salvation. Raised in a nominally Catholic home, Patricio himself was unconsciously clinging to subtle works-based instincts.
He did not have enough training to handle the inter-personal and theological problems. Jungle villages such as the one where he was working are usually far from home-base resources, the spiritual supply lines critical to any missionary doing spiritual battle in remote outposts. But Patricio had an advantage.
He did not have enough training to handle the inter-personal and theological problems, and such jungle villages are usually far from spiritual resources.
With help from Christian Aid Mission donors, the native prison ministry had been able to start a Christian Bible Institute in the midst of the jungle mountains. In a few months, students complete studies for a certificate in theology, en route to further studies and a diploma.
Patricio experienced a second transformation at the institution that equipped him for the next level in ministry.
“I thank the Lord for these studies of theology, because now I clearly understand that salvation is not by merit of man but by the pure grace and mercy of God,” Patricio said. “Through the course on the book of Romans, God clarified many doubts I had about salvation: ‘The just shall live by faith,’ ‘The gift of God is eternal life.’ Now I teach based on what the Bible says, and not on what the dogmas of men say.”
The institute gives native missionaries and church leaders in remote jungle areas training even as they continue ministering in their respective churches, the native ministry leader said.
“The integration of these brothers into the program is a great blessing, because it allows them to continue to be linked to the things of God and the local church, and at the same time they can dedicate themselves to work to support their families,” he said. “It is a ministerial victory, because theological seminaries only operate in the cities and not in distant rural places, much less in a community in the middle of the jungle.”
He gave thanks that men who became Christians in prison are now studying at the Christian Bible Institute.
“This has been achieved by the grace and mercy of God, who has called us to this ministerial service and has provided us with the necessary and economic means through Christian Aid Mission,” he said.
Native ministries such as this one are training and sending missionaries to proclaim Christ and disciple converts throughout Ecuador and other countries in Latin America. Please consider a gift today to help them fulfill their Spirit-anointed commission.