The church held a one-night women's conference at the end of October. It was very well attended by both adults and teens. Joy was one of the speakers. There was great food, music, games, and good fellowship.
Six people were baptized as followers of Jesus Christ at Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Manta on October 29. It is always cause for rejoicing to see children, adults, and seniors whose lives are eternally changed by the power of the Gospel.
We returned to Ecuador on August 30, and arrived in Manta on
September 1. We have encountered a number of challenges during the past several
weeks. We are very aware of your prayers for us as a family, for the church in
Manta, and for our minsitry in general.
We have been disappointed to learn that the ministry
leadership team in Manta was very dysfunctional during our long absence. There was
unresolved conflict, a lack of pastoral care and leadership, and evidence of
dishonesty with church funds. Several members of the team left the church.
Within a week of our return, the pastor resigned. Soon the remaining leaders
asked us to guide the church through this difficult time, and the entire church
membership gave its approval. We accepted the challenge and are once again
preaching, teaching, leading, and counseling at Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Manta. We have no idea how long we will
be serving in these roles, but we believe this is God’s will for us now and
until he makes it clear that we should step aside for others to lead.
We are faithfully directing the congregation to focus on the
core truths: the saving message of the Gospel, the supremacy of Christ, the
power of the Holy Spirit, and the sovereign plan of God. We ask you to pray
that this difficult time would be a starting point for revival and spiritual
growth; and a catalyst for the multiplication of disciples, servant-leaders,
and local churches. Pray with us for repentance, restoration, and renewal. Pray
for new believers and young disciples to be confirmed in their faith, and for
more mature disciples to renew their commitment to fellowship and service. We are seeing some positive
signs: seven people are ready to be baptized this month. We are grateful that
God has allowed us to be here at this time, and that you stand with all of us
Our home in the city is for sale, and we are actively seeking
property in a rural area about a half-hour from Manta. We looked at a beautiful
two-acre site just outside of a nature reserve. The owner has offered it to us
for $27,000. It would be perfect for building our home, as well as a guest
house, recreation area, and a pavillion for small group gatherings. This sort
of property is a key part of our vision for serving Ecuadorian ministry
families. We wish to provide hospitality to those who serve Jesus. Please pray
with us for the sale of our house in Manta, and for God’s direction and provision
to the place he has in mind. Please pray about giving especially for this
project by designating an offering through BBFI (designate: Anzalone Ecuador Multiply).
furlough has been a great experience for our family. In some ways we’ve had
ample opportunity for rest, recharging, and even recreation; but in other ways
it has been stressful and challenging. We have reserved tickets to Quito for
August 31, so … ready or not, here we come!
·Fellowship – Since we
arrived in the USA at the end of October 2016, we have spent 12 to 16 weeks
around 3 different churches that invited us to stay in homes provided to
missonaries. Their generosity created much-needed stability for our family, and
reduced our furlough expenses. It also created a unique bond of fellowship and
sense of belonging between our children and the church. We are very grateful!
·Safety – We have
been driving a couple of 2007 vehicles with high numbers on the odometers, but
we have had no breakdowns and no accidents. One of our trips with the five of
us plus our grandson Crosby Taylor covered 13 states, and over 4,000 miles in
15 days! We’re thankful for God’s mercy over weary travelers.
·Family – Joy and I
are at this stage of life when we value time with our parents, children, and
grandchildren over almost anything else. God has been generous with us in
allowing us to spend quality time with many of our family members, to enjoy
holidays together, and to make memories that we’ll treasure.
·Goodbye and Hello – We have
mixed emotions about returning to Ecuador. It is going to be hard to say
goodbye to family and friends. Our parents have some serious health concerns
and our adult children have challenges to face. On the other hand, we’ll be
returning to our Ecuadorian brothers and sisters who love us and to the Manta
church that has moved forward during our absence. Pray for us to have grace for
·Extra expenses – Our budget
is always stretched beyond the limit! Airfare from Knoxville to Manta will have
a total cost around $3,000 for our family. Recently an opportunity developed to
have Carla and Matthew professionally tested in regard to their special
educational needs. They will be completing the testing before we leave. The
testing, plus our usual education costs at this time each year, come to over
$2,000. If you’d like to help with either of these needs, you may add an
additional amount to what you send through BBFI (mark it Anzalone Ecuador Special).
·Family – We are
starting our new “Multiply!” ministry. Pray for us as we create networks with
pastors and churches. Pray for new visions and strategies for discipleship,
servant-leadership development, and local church planting. Pray for the sale of
our home and the purchase and development of a new home for hospitiality
ministry. Pray for God to provide our goal of $50,000 for development of the
property. Please pray about giving for this purpose.
Several days ago a young woman from All Nations Baptist Church in Woodhaven, NY e-mailed to say that they would be holding an international festival to emphasize missions. She and some friends had offered to represent Ecuador, and she was asking me if it would be okay to use information from our prayer letters and websites. "What a great idea! Absolutely! You may use anything you find. Check our newest website, anzalonesinecuador.com " As you can see in the photo they did a great job of presenting Ecuador, and representing the Anzalone family. They had attractive decorations, photos, maps, information, and even food from Ecuador.
This reminds me of the many ways our partner churches assist us. Obviously, one important way is by sending monthly offerings to support our family and ministry. These monthly offerings are sent by individual churches to Baptist Bible Fellowship International (PO Box 191, Springfield, MO 65801). All funds sent to us through BBFI are credited to our account each month. None is held for office costs or other purposes without our consent. These same churches often add additional amounts for special projects or unusual needs. (Contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about giving for our ministry in Ecuador. There is an online donation option. Donate through BBFI)
The churches that support us, have become partners in ministry with us, so their involvement goes beyond sending money. Their prayers for us and for our ministry is very important. Some churches have prayer groups assigned to pray for us regularly. Others have designated individuals who correspond with us about our prayer needs. Some of our partner churches follow our blog, Facebook account (facebook.com/AnzPrayer), Twitter (twitter.com/AnzPrayer), or anzalonesinecuador.com to stay up-to-date on our daily activities and needs.
Some churches make a regular practice of writing to us, informing us of their activities, and inviting closer communication with them. This is often a blessing, giving us an opportunity to know each other better.
When we're on furlough, as we have been for the last several months, we get to visit some of our ministry partners, but not all of them. In many cases, the time of our visit is short, and our entire family can't always be present, but that doesn't mean that we can't be faithful partners to one another, and enjoy a fruitful ministry relationship.
Furlough provides some special family times. We enjoy spending time with our extended family when we are in the USA. We are also able to do some special things with our kids and grandkids. It is hard to get to see everyone and to spend as much time as you would like with each of them.
Our dear friend, missionary Jeff Davoll, was invited to speak at Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Manta, on Easter Sunday. He shared this picture with us, and said there was a full house! We're happy to hear a good report and to see some of our dear brothers and sisters in the photo. It is reassuring to know that the church belongs to Jesus Christ and he is building it whether we are there or in the USA.
My wife Joy and I have been missionaries to Ecuador with BBFI since 1988. We have 3 grown daughters and 3 younger children. We have 12 grandchildren. We minister in the coastal city of Manta where we started a new church in 2005.