Tanya Vasquez humbly entered the doors of the 700 Club in Guayaquil, Ecuador, as an unsuspecting teen from a high-risk neighborhood. She found herself taken aback as she was immersed in a loving and peace-filled atmosphere. This was alarming to her since she daily witnessed family violence and neglect at home. Suddenly, a woman worshipping nearby asked if she knew Jesus. Tanya had heard the Gospel before and believed it to be true, but she told the woman she was never moved to actually follow it intently. The women prayed together, and Tanya fully dedicated her life to Jesus. That decision was made almost 30 years ago to this day.
Soon after that day, Tanya started to actively serve God. She studied at the Bible Seminary of the Assemblies of God and later at the Bible Damascus Institute in her area. By the grace of God she was asked to serve as a youth pastor for six years in her local church youth center. Later she was called to preach God’s Word to hundreds of people during the church’s Sunday School Evangelism ministry. Tanya joyfully accepted the privilege of being surrounded by great servants of God who prayed, fasted and zealously shared the Word.
Tanya married Pastor Jimmy Salazar; they had two boys and a girl, who are now 17, 16, and 15 years old, respectively. All three children remain in the ministry helping Tanya and Jimmy. The Ecuadorian authorities for work, service and witness recognized Tanya as a Christian evangelist worker for the Assemblies of God, and she was promoted to be a minister in her church after she completed seminary and was ordained.
In addition to Tanya’s theological training, she saw that God opened doors for her to finish her degrees in academia. By the winter of 2010, she was awarded her Master’s in Educational Management with a concentration in pharmaceutical chemistry. As always, she placed all she received at the feet of Jesus for the growth of His work.
The Centro Evangelistico de Playas Church was born through prayer and from a deep desire to evangelize and serve in the Canton Beaches of the Province of Guayas, Ecuador, a poor community who defiantly resisted the Gospel. Despite a high report of Catholicism and other sects in the area, tangible problems such as child malnutrition, family violence and illiteracy ran rampant.
Three and a half years ago, Tanya and Jimmy’s congregation strategically bought land in this neighborhood to target born-again Christians. After many trials, spiritual struggles and physical roadblocks, the Lord brought 70 adults, 80 children and 30 young people who recognized Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. These new members lived as disciples of the Word of God, but also provided social assistance: medicine, schooling, and rescue from drugs and alcohol.
Mark 16:15-18 is often quoted by this congregation as they know it is not really us who do God’s work, but the Holy Spirit who does the work when we obey Him in holiness and love.
Tanya says her church is exhilarated by what God is doing in the Canton Beaches. Faithfully, they believe that the Father is answering each of their prayers for His glory.