A shipment of Scriptures to the Bible Leagues office in Quito, Ecuador was halted on late last month as an estimated 50,000 anti-government protesters filled the streets near the Government Palace.
I spoke with Milton Bustos, our national director, [the morning of Apr. 20] and I could hear the marchers out on the streets, said John Wagenveld, Bible Leagues director for Latin America. He [said] there [were] tires burning on the street just half a block from our office. I was there the week before and saw some demonstrations, but the situation [had] worsened.
It was the sixth day of demonstrations protesting what many in Ecuador perceive as alleged attempts by President Lucio Gutierrez to control the three branches of national government. Triggered by the presidents dissolution of the nations Supreme Court on Apr. 15, the protests had been gaining in numbers and violence. In an attempt to end the escalating violence, Ecuadors lawmakers removed Gutierrezelected president in November 2002from office on Apr. 20 during a special legislative session.
Last week, the ousted Ecuadorean President left the Brazilian ambassador's residence, headed to an airport to be flown to asylum in Brazil, four days after seeking refuge there.
Please let people know to be praying for Ecuador, Wagenveld said. Pray that there will be no violence and that our team and materials will be safe.
The Bible Leagues evangelism and discipleship ministry in this nation of 13 million began in 2001. During the last three years, more than 27,000 Ecuadoreansled by Bible League-trained workerscompleted Bible studies; nearly 4,300 small group Bible studies were formed, and 36 new churches were established throughout the country.