Aug 14 | Day 5
Today has been a great day. We were able to go to church as a team and it was special to see the team worship God in a language not their own. Even without understanding the words, they were still moved by the Spirit of God in the room. I love how the Lord can touch our hearts even when our minds do not understand.
After church, we were able to travel to "la mitad del mundo". This is the point 0' 0' on the equator and it was interesting to learn some of the history around that particular place and how the effect of gravity can change even within just a few feet. What was more special though, was that we were able to purchase some little items of gratitude for our gracious hosts. Gustavo, Maddie, and Alex were all so special with us from Day 1 and they truly made our experience.
Tonight, our highlight was being able to pray over some of the pillars within this community. When people dedicate their lives to serving the Lord, they can get tired and burnt out. The Holy Spirit chose to bring such a servant of God literally to our doorstep tonight, just prior to our leaving. She didn't really even know why she was there but she said she felt led to ask us to pray for her...so pray we did. For about an hour. When we were finished, many tears were shed and her heart was lighter.
Friends- I've been on my share of mission trips and before I go, people always want to know what I'll be "doing" there. Every time, the answer is the same. God is calling me to go share His love with people. That's it. I never really know "who" those people will be before I go-- but as I sit here in this airport waiting to return home I can say I know now, exactly who God was calling us to love on. We fulfilled our mission, you guys, with your help and your prayers. We now have names and faces carved on our hearts from this place. Thank you! Thank you so much for believing in us and trusting us with your resources. We, as a team, are all better for this experience.
Aug 13 | Day 4
Hi everyone! It's Desi! We had an absolutely fantastic day today at Casa Elizabeth. Casa Elizabeth is a home for teenage girls who are pregnant and have been abandoned by their families or have experienced traumatic events that have made their pregnancy difficult. What makes Casa Elizabeth so special is the family that lives there. Elsie, David and their three children live at Casa Elizabeth with 2 teen mothers and their 2 beautiful sons. Elsie and David exude unconditional love. They help the girls with their prenatal care and help the girls care for their babies once they deliver. The goal is to empower these courageous girls to be able to care for their babies on their own and to help them feel and accept the love of Christ.
It is important to the organization that they experience the love from a family. Elsie and David made us feel like family as well. We painted a few areas of their home, which for some of us (myself included) is not our strength. But I'm happy to say the Holy Spirit is strong with this bunch and through Him we were able to do a beautiful paint job. Elsie prepared us the most amazing lunch and after that Brandon shared her testimony. You could see the power of testimony visibly. Brandon's story resonated with the girls; it was a truly beautiful moment.
We ended the day by taking the family to a small amusement park. The girls were so excited and had so much fun! This was a special treat for them and truly a rare opportunity for them to just be teens, rather than teen moms. A special thank you to all of those who supported the trip financially. Because of you we were able to bless this family with a fun activity. Good night and stay tuned tomorrow...it's our last day and who knows what God has in store.
Aug 12 | Day 3
Hey guys! Brandon here. Today we had the honor and privilege to go to Camp Hope an orphanage for special needs children here in Quito. They currently house 16 children ranging in ages from 1 year old to 26 years old. All of the beloved little ones are in need of 24/7 care. Some with more needs than others but all dependent upon someone to care for them.
Have you ever met someone and instantly felt you heart fill with love for them? That's exactly how we all felt the moment we met these precious ones. The children were in a large play room with toys and activities when we came in. We were "challenged by choice" to interact with them through not only language barriers but through physical and verbal barriers as well. Quickly, we found ourselves sitting with them and engaging with them. We took a step out of our comfort zones into their beautiful world and are the better for it. I found myself seated between the only two girls who (I later found out) completely understand English. I attempted to speak Spanish to them and failed miserably lol! I was determined to connect with them. At one point, I was told that one of the girls understands English so I looked at her in that moment and she began to laugh. Then she pointed at the other girl next to me to let me know she also understood English. All three of us began to laugh hysterically and just laughed and laughed. I was reminded of how laughter is good medicine for the body and soul. We had so much fun with them; we even played hide and seek.
I connected with the people here on a heart level that only Father could orchestrate. Every single member of our team had a very simular experience. Please feel free to ask us of our time at Camp Hope when we get back. You'll be so blessed by all that God did in us and them.
One of the core values we are learning from our ministry partners at Inca Link is "Challenge By Choice". Simply put, this means to do things that seem hard on purpose so you can grow. To ignore the easy way of doing something and make the conscience choice to choose adversity or struggle to be able to press into the Lord. This is a beautiful way to build character!
As I began to poder what to write about for our day today in Ecuador I began to reflect on these children and the joy they carried. You see, they were challenged but it wasn't their "choice". Yet in the midst of their challenge they were so full of joy! We spent the entire day just laughing and laughing with these precious ones. Yes, they had difficulties. We saw that when we assisted in their lunch time. Even still, it was evident the character these little ones are developing in their ability to be joyful through pain and the way they have become such a beautiful family. I could go on and on about all that God taught us through His beloved ones.
Thanks you so much for your prayers; we feel them here in Ecuador. God is moving not only in the people we are encountering but in our hearts as well.
Aug 11 | Day 2
Today was an amazing day spent with our partners at Incalink and one of their long-term partners here called COVi (stands for Centro de Opción de Vida- or Center of the Option of Life). On the way to COVi, Gustavo, the Director of Incalink, shared their 5 values. Ask one of us to expand on these when we get back. They were a great way to set the tone of our journey.
Choose Joy | Give 110% | Be here now | Challenging by choice | Love covers all
Once we arrived at COVi, we spent time with Tamara, the Director and Founder. She has been serving street kids and at-risk kids in the heart of Quito for 16 years now. At COVi, children have access to food, sports, Christian values, and lessons on health. They can also take a shower if they need and use a laundry facility located on the property. Parents that want their children to be part of the before & after school program are only asked to pay $5 a month and the rest of the expenses are covered by donations- they are not government funded.
We were able to play with the kids, pray for them, and hand out some cute cereal packs that were donated. Desi also shared the story of David & Goliath with the kids (in Spanish). She did an amazing job. Today was truly such a blessing.
Tomorrow we head out to Camp Hope which is an orphanage for special needs children. We have already felt the presence of the Holy Spirit moving among us and we are so grateful for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray for a greater movement of God. We are excited.
Aug 10 | Day 1
We arrived safely in Quito late last night around 12:30 am. Our flight leaving Orlando was delayed so we were praying to make the flight leaving Atlanta to Quito (we only had about an hour window between the two flights). Thankfully, our God has already provided miracles; we made it on our second flight with no issue.
Here we are waiting for our second leg of the journey.
Today, we are going to a ministry called COVi, that works with at-risk children here in Quito. It has been an integral part of this community for many years and we are excited to see what the Lord has for us and for them today. Pray for miracles and for God's Spirit to be felt in that place. Bless you all for your love and support.
Aug 2 | Pre-Trip: Prayer Send Off
We shared a special time of prayer and commissioning alongside several friends and family members. Our prayer time included prayers for unity, discernment, protection and to be fully surrendered to God's purposes through every bit of this journey.
Each team member was affirmed in their call and commissioned in the name of Jesus to go forth sharing the Love of Jesus to everyone we meet along the way. Even Desi, who moved to California in the midst of this journey was able to join us through Skype.
Everyone was given an "Ebenezer" stone as a reminder of God's continued help to us in times of trouble. While preparing for this trip, many of us have struggled with hardships at work, in raising trip finances, or with relationships at home but, regardless of our circumstances, God has been and will continue to be faithful as we are on this journey and beyond.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of the friends and family that are praying for us and supporting us in this journey. We will do our best to update this blog daily so make note of the address to get future updates.