Evangelism Summit in Quito, Ecuador

By   •   September 2, 2022

The mountainous city of Quito, Ecuador, which rises 2,850 meters above sea level, hosted the evangelism summit for South America, “Cumbre de Evangelismo,” organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) with the support of local churches from several countries.
Through a video, Franklin Graham welcomed those present and explained that the objective of the summit is to encourage local churches to refocus on the Great Commission.
BGEA’s Spanish-speaking evangelist, David Ruíz, led the event with his characteristic charisma and humility.
Many countries in South America have a high percentage of indigenous people, and the Gospel has made significant progress among their communities. Several pastors attended the event proudly wearing their traditional clothing.
The event was planned for 500 attendees, but the thirst for God’s Word is such that many more arrived at the venue on the day of the event, even without a registration form. Organizers scrambled to find a way to welcome them. Eventually, 600 chairs were set up in the hall, which was filled to capacity.
Viktor Hamm, BGEA’s vice president of Crusades, proclaimed that many of us have forgotten that the Gospel carries a very high cost that requires sacrifice and humility, but that those of us who have heard the call respond in the strength God gives us, for Christ’s Name’s sake.
Dr. Jose Luis Navajo of Spain urged the audience to preserve their integrity and holiness above all else. Using an illustration, he showed how the only thing that can devalue a Christian is the loss of his or her integrity. “We must take care that the altar does not become a stage. On the stage the stars shine, but on the altar, the fire of God burns,” he said. With great wisdom, he encouraged pastors by reminding them, “Your value does not depend on how you feel, or the position you are in,” he said. “They can humiliate you or they can exalt you, but your value remains the same because your value is given to you by the mark of Christ’s blood in your life.”
Worship leader Job Gonzalez, originally from Texas, led the audience in sweet times of worship.
Originally from Argentina, Dr. Lucas Leys, argued that most churches follow a model that developed over a hundred years ago, which considers adult ministry as the top priority, relegating children’s and youth ministries to second place. “The church needs to radically change this model and involve all its different ministries with one goal in mind: to disciple the next generations,” he said.
“Are you looking to be popular? Being a Christian will never be popular, because the values of the kingdom of God are not the values of the kingdom of darkness,” Wendy Bello, a Cuban-born writer and speaker, reminded the audience. “Trial and persecution should not seem strange to us; we should expect it if we truly follow Christ.” She also spoke of the many hardships the persecuted church has suffered in her home country, and how, when communism triumphed, it assured that Christianity would soon disappear. However, more than 60 years later, the evangelical church on the island is still strong and growing, despite the persecution.
After each session, David Ruíz urged the attendees to gather in small groups to discuss what they had learned in the session, and to pray for each other so they could apply it in their ministry.
Dr. Harold Segura, of Colombian origin, reminded those present that Billy Graham always advocated for unity within the church, despite denominational differences. “Many times we want everyone to be the same; to think and speak like us,” he said. “But we could point to countless Biblical passages where we can see that love is the real key to Christian unity.”
“What is the most compelling evidence that we have passed from death to life? It is love!” said Dr. Segura. His statement was evidenced by the affection with which the attendees treated each other, despite not knowing each other and coming from such different countries, cultures and denominations.
Pastor Elias Annacondia, originally from Argentina, argued that we must be ready to defend the Gospel, and that we must be very careful to preach only the Biblical Gospel and not doctrines created by men.
Dr. Samuel Pagán, Puerto Rican theologian who played a key role in creating several versions of the Bible in Spanish, vividly described the Holy Land to participants, seeking to remind them of the humanity of Jesus, highlight details of his ministry and announce that we preach no other message but that same Jesus Christ, crucified for our sins.
Towards the end of the event, Chris Swanson, BGEA’s Latin America Outreach Director, addressed the audience saying, “Some of you came in saying, ‘I'm ready to throw in the towel.’ But now you're coming out saying, ‘I’ve been renewed, I’m going to continue the race.’ Glory be to God for what He has done in this place.”
We thank all the organizers and volunteers who made this event possible for the advancement of the kingdom of heaven. Will you join us in praying for all the attendees, that they may carry this message to their communities and that they may proclaim the Gospel with boldness?