Location: Western South America
Population: 13,927,650 (July 2008 est.)
Language: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quichua)
Religion: Roman Catholic 95%, Other 5%
With the Galapagos Islands, Pacific beaches, the Amazon Jungle, and the Sierra Andes, Ecuador is one of the most beautiful and environmentally diverse nations of South America. It is also one of the poorest nations in the Americas, wherein 65% of the population is living in poverty and the average income per capita is $3100 per year.
Since 2001 YWAM Minneapolis been sending DTS outreach teams to Ecuador. We have been encouraged by the hospitality of the people, their openness to the Gospel, and the deep humility of the Ecuadorian Christians. Our primary contact has been Pastor Franklin Ruiz, who is the superintendent of La Senda Antigua (Ancient Way) denomination. While our teams have worked in churches throughout the country, the focus of our ministry has been in and around the city of Ambato (pop 170,000).
Situated high in the Andes, Ambato is the ideal access point to Quichua villages in the surrounding mountains. The Quichua are a broken people, who have long been victims of discrimination and social injustice. Despite great initial persecution, the church has seen tremendous growth in their midst over the past 50 years. We have found that the greatest needs of the Christians are training and encouragement.