Welcome to Ecuador, a small nation boasting the magnificent peaks of the Andean range which separates the muggy coastal plains of the west from the steamy Amazonian jungles on the east. Ecuador is 95% Catholic, though in practice this is often mingled with indigenous beliefs.
The country is a patchwork of indigenous communities, including people of colonial Spanish origins and the descendants of African slaves. Its capital, Quito, once a part of the Inca empire, has some of the best-preserved early colonial architecture on the continent.
Population: 13.7 million Major languages: Spanish, indigenous languages Major religion: Christianity
SIM serves the Ecuadorian people in four cities through a variety of ministries which meet human needs and strengthen the church. These ministries include community service, AIDS outreach, leadership development, discipleship, Mission mobilisation and radio and evangelism outreach.
SIM has been working in Ecuador since 1989, concentrating on church planting and ministry to human needs. The country attracted the attention of the Christian world in 1956 with the martyrdom of five missionaries by the Auca (Waorani) tribe.
Since then, most ethnic groups of Ecuador have been evangelised to some extent. Five groups are still considered unreached. The country officially has religious freedom, although it is strongly Roman Catholic, and active opposition to evangelical witness exists.
In Guayaquil, where more than 60% of the people are extremely poor and many live in slums built on a polluted marsh, we partner with an Ecuadorian Christian organisation ministering to people living with HIV and AIDS.
The city and province of Loja are recognised as particularly unreached with the gospel, with less than 0.1% evangelicals. In Loja, SIM has initiated a cooperative community ministry and is participating with other missions and local churches in radio, evangelism, and holistic church planting.
The united effort, called Operación Esperanza (Operation Hope), is already increasing our effectiveness in reaching the area for Christ. Other ministries include Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), medical caravans, health and wellness education, student café, and discipleship.
We are also focused on assisting the Latin American mission movement, partnering with COMEC, a grassroots mission mobilisation organisation. We are working in Quito to mobilise churches for mission and to enable Ecuadorians to participate in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
There are five people groups for whom less than 20% of its population has any affiliation with a Christian church. Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, and Jehovah Witnesses are increasingly encountered. A huge need for more evangelical work in the Catholic areas also exists.
If you would like to be a part of what God is doing in Ecuador, chat to our representative in your state or check out the opportunities for service in Ecuador online.
CIA World Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ec.html
Lonely Planet http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ecuador
Travel health http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/ecuador.htm
Foreign Affairs advice http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Ecuador