A number of years ago, Steve Saint had a vision for an indigenous run and funded training center where local Christ-followers could receive training on the ITEC tools.
Over the last 20 years, ITEC has become synonymous with empowering Christ-followers around the world to meet the needs of the local people as a door opener for the Gospel, while not creating dependency. Just last year, the ITEC team visited 25 countries and participated in 29 trainings of pastors and church leaders in remote areas. Developing the tools and training systems to equip indigenous Christ-followers is at the core of ITEC’s vision. But, in discipleship focused ministries like ITEC, what might the next step look like?
Moving Forward in Ecuador
A few years ago, ITEC decided to take the next step in the process: creating a training center that is nationally run and funded outside of the USA. Because of our long-standing relationships in Ecuador, we thought it would be the perfect place to start a training center. Of course, having the vision is not enough. We had to have the right person to head up this project. Galo Ortiz was the ideal candidate. He had been working off-and-on with ITEC, and had been working with Steve and Jesse Saint to build airplanes in Ecuador as a business-as-missions enterprise. His grandparents had worked with Nate and Marj Saint, so the relationship with his family was three generations old.
After securing the last available lot with access to the runway in Shell, the same runway that Nate had used back in the 1950’s, we had to determine how to fund the ministry. Churches in Ecuador were not interested in helping, having been conditioned that mission dollars come from the USA. We knew that if the money came from the USA, it was the USA who would dictate the focus for the training center.
About this time, Jesse began getting inquiries about building more RV-10 airplanes in Ecuador for pilots in the US. This was a huge step, but it was not enough. We knew that the only real way to have a ministry in the jungles was by having an airplane. The shell of a Cessna 182 had been donated to ITEC. We knew it could be a perfect airplane for Ecuador, where it could be used for commercial operations to help fund the training center and ministry flights. Within a few months of arriving in Ecuador, it was repaired and in an airworthy condition. Receiving the necessary government approvals to operate it in Ecuador took another year to complete.
Talented People Join the Team
While all of this was going on, the Lord began bringing a talented group of people around Galo to build RV-10’s, to assist him in the operation of an airplane in the harsh environment of the jungles, and to begin training people in the jungles with ITEC tools. Today, Marlo leads a team in building RV-10’s, a four-seat airplane capable of flying at 200 miles per hour with a range of over 1,200 miles without refueling. Pastor Henry not only leads devotions with the ITEC Ecuador team but also takes regular trips to the jungles to disciple Christ followers, in addition to being an I-FILM trainer. Rhonda, a nurse, travels monthly with Mencaye, a community health promoter and daughter of Dyuwi, to Waodani territory to provide help and training in Waodani communities. Andres, Galo’s brother, helps to keep the finances in order. Willy, an engineer, helps to coordinate many of the projects going on at ITEC Ecuador. The team in Ecuador consists of more than 10 people, fully funded by business as missions projects, and is having an ever increasing impact for the sake of the Gospel in Ecuador.
Please pray for Galo and the team as they continue to follow the Lord’s leading to make more inroads into various jungle tribes in Ecuador for the sake of the Gospel.