Sometimes, at the end of a mission trip, you feel like you saw the heavens open and mountains move. Other times, you’re left with more questions than answers and you wonder if you made a difference. Ecuador 2017 was the later for me. So many things just seemed so hard. The trip was marked by transportation troubles – a surprise refueling in Jamaica and return to Fort Lauderdale on the front end, bus confiscations and breakdowns in the middle, and a cancelled flight on the way out. One of those things is enough to make a trip interesting. All of them in one trip is just plain exhausting. The second week of the trip was spent working in a tiny little village on the northern coast of the country. Unemployment is high, abuse is widespread, devil worship is becoming common-place. The war for these kids’ souls was real, and, to be honest, most of the time it felt like we were losing. How any one could have heard the lessons we were trying to shout over the din of 300 noisy, high-energy kids is beyond me. The work we were doing wasn’t moving any mountains. But maybe success on the mission field looks different than my expectations. Maybe it’s not measured by the heavens opening or mountains moving. Maybe success looks like simply being there and encouraging the local church. Maybe it is continuing to give of yourself when you’re hot, tired, and sick. Maybe it looks like hugging a child who isn’t accustomed to receiving love. Maybe it’s planting seeds and having faith that someday those seeds will be strong trees, sheltering others from the storms of life. If that’s what success looks like, the members of the 2017 Ecuador summer team were wildly successful.
After the team left, a few of us stayed extra days and explored Quito and hung out with our dear translator friends
Making quimbolitos with the Utreras Family will always be one of my favorite Ecuador memories