There are few moments when Pastor Manuel is still. The sun is low in remote Ecuador as he rises to scatter feed for the chickens and rake the straw around the legs of his hogs. Then there are people for him to visit, his feet tramping along dusty trails to far-off mountain villages. But before he leaves his farm, Manuel Chacaguassay Naula takes a seat with his bowl of breakfast and listens to Dr. Stanley’s program on the radio.
He concentrates on the teaching, following along in his Bible and meditating as the Lord encourages him. This stillness prepares him for the long hours he gives to pastoring 20 churches in Ecuador. They depend on his teaching and the sound doctrine he brings. He’s like the apostle Paul—continually in motion, ever in prayer.
The children are first to see him. His white hat bobs up the path, and then his familiar red poncho comes into view—a signal for the little ones to scamper over the rocky gray patches of earth to meet him. They are the Quechua people, forced to the edges of society, with little opportunity and much adversity.
Pastor Manuel remembers his own childhood—the hardships and the void he felt in his life. It’s why he has a passion to preach the gospel here, among his own people, to the young and old alike. And God uses the children, too. Seeing love offered to their little ones in Jesus’ name, mothers and fathers become open to the message that is brought to their village. “When you hear the kids from far away say, ‘Brother, pastor, come on in.’ I feel very happy. Only God can do that.”
“It’s not enough to talk about the Bible,” he says, mindful of the families that need food and drink and clothing. He lives out Christ’s challenge from Matthew 25:40: “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
But 20 churches aren’t enough. There are another hundred or more villages Pastor Manuel hopes to reach. So he labors with his family by his side—his wife Paula and their adult children Marco and Blanca—serving, singing, trekking, and watching the Lord change their people’s lives. “Within the ministry, there are needs, problems, failures,” he says. “Not everything goes well, but I have God, who will never leave me nor forsake me.”