Every week, we share stories about the amazing ways God is at work around the world. We hope that you’ll be encouraged by these stories and inspired to greater involvement in God’s Great Commission to go out to the world – near and far – and train, instruct, and baptize people in Jesus’ Name. This week, we start out by hearing from Dan Watson as he shares about the history and mission of E3 Partners:
Well, we’re 27-years-old. I’ve been with E3 for almost 21 of those years. We work in about 50 different countries; and our goal is to plant over 1 million multiplying churches over the next seven years. These are churches that we want to see not only multiply, but transform their communities and bring the light, joy, Gospel and transformation of Christ to their communities, piercing the dark places. So, it’s both the Word and the deed together.
As we plant these churches, we plant them in a way that they can transform their societies. It’s very exciting. We do that through tools like our “Evangicube”, which we have delivered thousands across the globe, as well as our “I Am Second” website. “I Am Second” is a great way to start a spiritual conversation. It’s available at IAmSecond.com.
And then, we do it through teams. We send out about 190 short-term mission teams each year in about 45 different countries. So, just about every week, we have two or three teams going out, made of people just like you and me: teenagers, housewives, blue collar and white collar. They go out and work in villages around the world, sharing life-giving tools like HIV/AIDS care, medical examinations, sports – a variety of different platforms to share the Gospel and they see people come to Christ and new churches form and grow in the villages.
We’ve grown so much over the years. When I started, we had 20 staff members. We now have about 550. And it’s so exciting in HOW we are growing. For example, we have several associate positions where people can have regular jobs, and then while taking just a few weeks off from their 9-5, they can lead short term teams that then may sprout 10-15 churches in a week.
Next we hear from Alice. She recently returned from Ethiopia on a trip that changed her life and worldview:
Ethiopia is such a beautiful country with beautiful people. And, I think as you grow in your Christian walk, you find yourself really wanting to be an ingredient in the story of Christ’s work in the world. And I think that going on a missions trip, especially to a country like Ethiopia, fits that bill. In places like this, you see the poorest of the poor – it’s virtually impossible to accurately describe just how deprived the people there are. There are millions of people barely surviving on what they raise on a plot of land that the government has allowed them to rent.
There is one particular story that sticks out in my mind every time that I think about Ethiopia. We had gone into a farming village in Northern Ethiopia to share with the people there. We went into a little dark hut and sat on the dirt floor. The woman living there had her four small children gathered around her. She was incredibly grateful for the gifts that we had brought her: things like salt, a sewing kit, hair oil. For us, it was a mere $20 worth of items, but for her it was like Christmas! She could never afford such luxuries, as she only made around $100 per year!
But, most importantly, we brought the Gospel message.
It was such a blessing to see her accept Jesus as her Savior right then and there. But, then she went on to tell us a story of how she used to have five children, but then her husband left her for a prettier woman in another village, leaving her with no means to feed her children. She did have five chickens, though, which laid eggs that she learned that she could sell, but it was hardly enough. When the desperate family was at their lowest point, her oldest daughter, who was about 14-years-old at the time, left with the local “conductor” for a life of sex slavery. She stayed in the sex industry because it earned her $5 each month that she could send back to her mother and young siblings to survive on.
But then, thank God, her mother got five chickens, which laid eggs that she was able to sell and earn enough money to bring her daughter home.
For us, a five-dollar decision is in regards to what we will order at Starbucks, but for this family, five-dollars saved their lives!