I arrived home late Saturday evening, July 17th, and immediately hit the ground running. My youngest daughter, Rachel, left on her own mission trip the following Saturday (and is currently serving in Mexico). I also had to prepare to teach our women’s Sunday School class this past Sunday. I feel like I am just now having a chance to catch my breath and process all that God did during my week in Quito.
It is hard to briefly summarize the trip, as any of you who have ever been on a mission trip can attest to, I’m sure. I will do my best, however. One thing that was an over-riding factor throughout the trip was seeing how God showed up and answered our prayers every time we called upon Him…and how quickly our team did call upon Him for our every need.
Johanna, our team member from Columbia flew through customs without even being asked to show her documentation…all while we were praying. (For more on that story, read the first day’s entry on our team blog—quitoteam2010.blogspot.com.) We arrived at the school to do VBS, on the first day, and were told we couldn’t do it. We prayed and within five minutes were setting up for VBS…also described in more detail on the blog. One of our team members got very sick and we thought might have to go to the hospital. We prayed and the next morning was up before any of us and ready to go work in the garden. Another team member couldn’t find her passport, the night before we were to return back to Texas. We prayed and within a few minutes the passport was found. These are just a few of the many times we turned to Him and saw Him answer, as only He can do.
I was so excited when we attended the Dios el Fiel church on Sunday because in preparing the music for VBS, I had learned enough Spanish to understand a lot of what the pastor was saying. He spoke about the fact that no problem is too big for God. He is grande (great), fuerte (strong), poderoso (powerful) and magnifico (magnificent). He is Lord of all and there is nothing He cannot do. We need to keep our focus on Him. This seemed to be a theme for me throughout the week.
Amor y Esparanza is in the most poverty stricken area of Quito. It is a private, Christian school for children whose parents could not otherwise afford a good education for their children. Some come from Christian families, but most are there simply to get a good education. These children were a true example of loving unconditionally. They sure knew how to love and also how to receive love. They are so needy and craving for love. They soaked in every ounce of love we had to offer them…both ours and the love of Jesus.
Wow! Did they know how to worship! I was not prepared for children who sang and worshipped like they did. I was in charge of the music and expected to teach them. Instead, they taught me. These precious children—girls and boys of all ages—would wrap their arms around each other, raise their hands, or bow their heads in prayer, without any cue or instruction from us, as they sang their hearts out to the Lord in praise and worship. It was one of the most touching moments, as I fought back the tears every single day.
I had the opportunity to work with the moms one day. Johanna, who speaks fluent Spanish (being from Columbia), shared her testimony and then we helped them make tote bags. Though, I could communicate very little with words, the women really connected through smiles, touch and love…just as their children had. Again, I feel I was blessed far more than I blessed them when they were leaving and began thanking me…not only for helping them but for working with their children.
One of our final days in Quito, I went to the roof of the dorms for my quiet time. As I watched the sun rising, with the majestic mountains towering over the city, God really spoke to me and I wrote the following prayer.
How refreshing it is to start my morning outdoors, relishing in the beauty you have created. Even in the midst of this city, filled with barking dogs, honking horns, all too close airplanes landing and departing, and the never-ending sirens, your majestic mountains rise amidst the low clouds and beaming sun. What a great reminder that you ARE grande, fuerte, poderoso and magnifico! You are greater than the poverty, more powerful than the corruption; stronger than the crime. You are magnificent and Lord of ALL! You are the creator of the universe-of these mountains and of every man, woman and child living here…and you love them dearly.
Whether I am in Quito, Ecuador or Fort Worth, TX, God is still God. He is still grande, fuerte, poderoso, and magnifico. He is still fiel (faithful). And He is still God in each of your lives as well. I pray you will join me in expecting the unexpected in your own life, as you pursue the mission God has for you…wherever you are.
Thank you for all your prayers and your support. I could not have gone on this incredible journey without each of you. You were a vital part.
PS Yes, that was me, hanging upside down from a zip line, over the cloud forest…and yes, it was intentional.