Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#teamagua2015: Otovalo

"People who want to make a difference don't teach grand lessons that suddenly enlighten entire communities; they teach small lessons that can bring incremental improvement to one man or woman, boy or girl. They don't do anything to call attention to themselves, they simply pay attention to the everyday needs of others, even if it's only one person. They bring change in ways most people will never read about or applaud. And because of the way these world-changers are wired, they wouldn't think of living their lives any other way." {Beth Clark}

Our second week, we drove about two hours to the mountainous city of Otovalo. The climate there was cooler than Quito, but the people were so warm. As you can see, there is quite a lot of luggage that accompanies 25 people.

Many of the people in Otovalo are very traditional in their dress. It wasn't uncommon to have little girls dressed like the ones pictured above, coming to our program every morning. People herding sheep up and down the mountain was also a common sight. Oh, and the garbage trucks in Otovalo? They play ice cream trucks here do. Only they start their rounds at about 5:30 in the morning. Good times.

Okay, can I just say how much I love this girl? Rachel was such an amazing support. I was leading one of the craft teams in Otovalo and Lydia and Ari were on it with me. We would always do the prep for the following day right after we finished team devotions. It worked out pretty awesome actually, because the three of us were room mates, so we'd usually just head up to our room and prep on our beds. Anyways, Ari and I were both part of the group that went to the AIDS orphanage and that evening, we were both just emotional wrecks, in no state of mind to think about teaching kids the next morning. Rachel came over and said, "can Lydia and I take over the craft team tomorrow? I talked to Liz and she said it was okay." Bless you, Rachel. That meant so much. <3

Once again, we had a fun time telling the stories...

...and the kids in Otovalo thought they were pretty funny too.

Learning the Armor of God song

And our verses. Complete with actions. 

Anderson and I chatted away about pets and our families during snack time one day. "Chatted" meaning I exhausted all my Spanish phrases on him. 

Jordy was the cutest little stinker. Well, okay he is only 3, and he really missed his mom. I held him for about two hours one morning. 

Esteban was such a little character. So much energy. 

Pastor Roberto was such a blessing. He has such a heart for his people and such a humble spirit. He told us that He is saved because missionaries came to Ecuador. He gave Global Encounters a plaque in token of their church's appreciation. 

Josue was another one of my favorites. 

Saying goodbye was so hard. When Matteo came and gave me a hug, I looked down and realized he was just sobbing.  Of course I started crying then too. I will never forget these kids. 

I felt like God taught me the biggest lessons of the trip while we were in Otovalo. The church there was so open. We arrived just in Otovalo just in time for the Sunday morning service. After the message, there was a time of prayer and so many people were standing there praying with tears streaming down their faces. They didn't hide that they were struggling with things. They didn't pretend their lives were perfect and they had everything together. They were real with each other. 

As we were studying through Romans 12 in our devotion time, God also impressed on me, through verses 1 and 2 that worship isn't something that we do on Sunday mornings when everything in our life is good. Over the past few years, my family has gone through some hard things with the church I grew up in. Church was no longer the refuge it once was, and I'll admit, often times I didn't feel much like worshipping. But God was showing me that worship is everything we do, everyday that we live. In light of God's mercy toward us, worship is our reasonable service. During the good times and the bad. Because if we only bless the Lord "in the land that is plentiful, where streams of abundance flow", what kind of faith is that? 

Saying goodbye to Otovalo was difficult. The lessons learned there were hard, yet rich. We saw so much hurt in this city, and also so much hope. Build Your kingdom here, Lord.

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