Ecuador: To God Be The Glory
In many ways, returning to a place you have been many times is familiar and repetitive. In other ways, every trip I take to Ecuador yields new adventures and fresh experiences. In the years I have been traveling to Ecuador, I have witnessed God’s blessings, seen horrible situations that made me question why God allows it to happen, and been challenged to live a life more committed to Christ.
This year was no different. We saw many of the same children (always a treat), and experienced many of the same locations from years past. Despite the challenge of language barriers and cultural differences, I watched as our team poured their hearts and lives into the children’s lives [we were there to affect] the believers we worked alongside, and each other on the team. Forever segmented into my memory no matter what the year are the moments I see team members selflessly working together. As I said earlier, this trip brings with it familiar experiences, but one thing is always new and never gets old, the way our team members serve each other and the people we are there to assist. I can only attribute this to God’s work in their lives and their relationship with Him. The days can get long, and the tasks are not always easy or desirable.
Our time in Ecuador was shorter [only two weeks], and the team smaller but the challenges were neither. We arrived in Quito and spent the week using the same vacation bible school type setting and teaching the children, games, stories, and crafts all centered around the reality of Christ in the gospel. You can see from some of the photos the kids had a lot of fun, and the team was creative in their portrayal of God’s love and other truths.
Our second week this year was camp week. What a week it was! I have to say a huge thank you to so many friends and family that made camp possible for the kids who came this year. Poverty or circumstance should never keep a child from the opportunity to hear the gospel preached and taught so clearly. Thanks to many of you, it was not. I, along with others on my team, witnessed God’s grace in the lives of our kids and fellow team members.
One added joy to this trip was the return of MeChelle Zientek as a team member but more importantly my fiancé!
From chasing balloons with the kids to chasing kids across the beach, I saw the best and most memorable moments in a country I have come to call my own. Though my Spanish is still rusty, what has not rusted or tarnished is my love and undying gratitude for the children and people who have become family to me through my years of visiting Ecuador.
Every year is different, and every trip is challenging in new ways. This team made mistakes like any other, but they rose to the challenges and what was asked of them in a way that showed their love for God and willingness to serve! In every opportunity that life brings along, I am grateful for God’s provision, leading, and forgiveness. I would go back on a trip with any member of this group. Many of them traveled over 2,000 miles to be used by God in a country, though foreign in its culture, familiar in its warmth and need for Christ.
Thank you again to everyone who prayed and donated to change the lives of little children who you have never met. Only eternity will tell the story of your efforts. To God be the glory, great things He has and continues to do.