We are clearly in the rebuilding phase as we continue to move past the COVID world that limited so many for so long. Here are a few areas where we are making progress:
Our Interview Team has spent a lot of time looking at the profiles of 10 candidates and interviewing them. Four candidates are still in active status with the Elders. Keep praying for the Interview Team and Elders as they continue to look at and speak to these candidates.
We gave our Christmas Eve offering to help a church plant in El Oro, Ecuador. They are making steady construction progress. Currently, 150 adults and 100 children are attending the church! The church team reports that they feel the grace of God surrounding them and are so grateful for our partnership. They have completed the bathrooms, two classrooms, and the kitchen. The construction of the multipurpose room and two more classrooms are still in process and will be completed in 2 months.
The church holds times of fasting and prayer, and Bible studies. The church has baptized 250 people, and more than 300 people have made a profession of faith. The church sees God’s power at work in their community. Men who were drug addicts, gang members, and criminals are converting to Christ and serving the church.
It’s been over 30 years since we have addressed the lower part of our auditorium, and it’s long overdue for some repairs and upgrades. We are just finishing up the architectural drawings for some updates, then we’ll be in the process of getting permits. Possibly in July, we’ll start a 3-month project that will: 1) remove the dangerous slope and install lighted stairs, 2) replace the pews that are breaking with theater-style chairs, 3) install new carpet and a few other needed fixes. As we get closer to actual construction, we’ll give you more details. During construction, we’ll be turning the café court into our worship area that will continue to facilitate an excellent worship experience.
Thank you for your continued partnership with Pantano and all God is doing in 2021!
Our Christmas Eve offering of $73,149 was used to start a church and build a building in Ecuador to house a Compassion International project. Thank you, Pantano, for making that possible! We are expanding the reach of the gospel and bringing the hope of Jesus to children and families living in extreme poverty. Your amazing generosity allows us to partner with Compassion and a church in Ecuador to plant Christian Church Arco in El Oro Province, Ecuador.
This church plant is part of our vision to be a catalyst to help a local church create a permanent presence for their ministry. Having a safe new building to meet in gives the church room to grow and the capacity to offer Compassion’s holistic child development program.
The local Compassion International staff members work closely with our church partner in Ecuador to help the church’s leadership grow strong through wise counsel and mentoring. Our three-way partnership values and encourages local resource mobilization and local ownership from the beginning. We aim for this not only in the initial construction of the church plant infrastructure you have helped fund but also in the child development center’s ongoing program implementation.
Pantano, because of you, the church in Ecuador is now mobilized to expand and help more children be known, loved, protected, and discipled for a hopeful future. Thank you again for investing in this opportunity for a new church to positively impact a community in Jesus’ name.
I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the new church. Later this year, we’ll start sponsoring the children in the program, and when international travel allows, we’ll start making visits. Stay tuned for more!
Christmas Eve Services
We’ll have five in-person Christmas Eve services on December 23 @ 5 & 7 PM and December 24 @ 3, 5 & 7 PM. We are asking everyone to RSVP for the service you would like to attend, that way, you’ll be assured that the service you selected will have lots of space for physical distancing for you and your family. Don’t forget to invite your friends and family to join you. RSVP here. We’ll have Kids Ministry from birth to 5 years that you can RSVP for also.
Christmas Eve Offering
Our Christmas Eve offering this year will help build a church that will launch and then host a new Compassion center for children and families that are struggling. Compassion International in Ecuador thoroughly investigated and identified a target area in need of a Christ-centered church that preaches God’s Word.
This is the second church that we’ve helped build in Ecuador in partnership with Compassion (the first church is in Playas). We love the Compassion model: Compassion focuses exclusively on children and works only through the local church. Compassion keeps Jesus at the center of all they do as they provide kids with spiritual, physical, educational, and social development and care.
The Arco de Santa Rosa is a new church plant ministering to children and their families in Santa Rosa. The church is working in an under-resourced neighborhood that lacks safe water and sanitation. The new church has only one classroom to serve almost 300 children and has to improvise by using tents and a rotating schedule to accommodate all the children.
Pastor Miguel Alfonso (pictured below) is leading the church. He came to Christ through his daughter, who was a part of a Compassion program. He’s passionate about discipling the parents of the kids enrolled in the Compassion experience.
This new congregation, with Pantano’s help, will build two reinforced concrete classrooms, one large bathroom with eight toilets, eight sinks, and four urinals, and one cistern with an elevated tank and a water pump.
The cost of the facilities to launch a Compassion center will be $75,000. You can give online (choose the Christmas Eve offering option), or you’ll be able to give at our Christmas Eve services. Everything collected on Christmas Eve will go to help build a church to host a Compassion program. What a great way to celebrate Christmas and make a difference for hundreds of kids and families!