Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It is hard to put the Ecuador mission trip into words.

O.K., I have to confess that I have been procrastinating. I have been putting off blogging about my mission trip to Ecuador. I have sat down about 49 times and tried to blog about this trip, but I just couldn’t do it. Anything that I started to write about the trip did not do it justice. There really are no words to express the things that I have seen on this trip.

My dilemma has been how to use words to describe the amazing godly people that I have met. How can I express in words the love for the Lord and sacrifice that I saw this week? How can I describe to you how I met people who really had nothing but at the same time had everything? How can I express the sadness that I felt for the people of Ventanas when I saw the poverty in their city but then realized that the sadness should also be for our own city at our spiritual poverty due to our material possessions?

I have finally realized that some things can never be confined to words and I might as well quit procrastinating. In my next few blog entries, I will try my best to tell you all about this truly life changing trip.

The second day of our trip was an amazing day. Each team left the hotel to go their separate ways to attend a church service with their appointed mother church. The pastor had told us that we would be attending a river baptism. I had never been to a river baptism before and was really excited. We were very surprised when we arrived at the river for the baptism and saw Samantha and Zack standing on the river bank. It turned out that the pastor that Tabitha and I were working with was helping with the baptism of the church that Samantha and Zack were working with. It was one of those “funny running into you here” moments.

It was a beautiful morning and the view of the river was breathtaking. As all the people who were to be baptized lined up on the bank, each person was to have a witness stand with them. One young lady did not have a family member or friend to stand with her. She asked Samantha if she would be her witness. I really do not think it was a coincidence that Tabitha (Samantha’s mother) was able to witness this special moment for her daughter. Sam was so excited. Can’t you just see it all over her face?

I never want to say something was a “God thing” when it really wasn’t but at the same time I don’t want to dismiss something as being nothing when it really was a “God thing.” Because of this, I will just tell you what happened next and you can be the judge of whether or not it was a “God thing.” I know what I believe, but you can make your own opinion…

During the entire baptism there was such electricity in the air. It is one of those things that I just can’t put into words. I kept thinking that I really was not worthy to be witnessing such an event. Each person was asked to give a testimony of their changed life as the baptism began. I couldn’t understand much of what they were saying, but you really didn’t have too—it was written all over their faces. My team’s pastor and Sam/Zack’s pastor went out into the water first to pray. Then, one by one, each person walked out into the water to be baptized.

As the last person was baptized, the pastor walked up to the edge of the water to speak to the crowd. Right as the last baptism ended and he walked to the edge, a solid white kite starting flying directly behind the pastor. It made a figure eight pattern directly behind the pastor for several minutes as he spoke. Then as soon as he stopped talking, it gently landed in the water. I looked around trying to figure out how someone was able to get the kite to fly directly behind the pastor over the water. I looked and there was no one on the shore with us flying a kite. I assumed that flying a white kite after a baptism was something tradionally done in Ecuador to signify the white dove that descended when Jesus was baptized. I just couldn’t figure out how they were able to center the kite behind the pastor so perfectly without there being someone on the shore flying it and I was amazed at how they were able to perfectly time the flying of the kite. As soon as the baptism ended I asked the pastor if they usually flew a white kite at the end of a baptism. He said no. He had never seen a kite at a baptism until today. He said everyone had been trying to figure out who was flying the kite but saw no one.

Here is a picture that I made of the kite as it was landing into the water.

As we got into the car to leave, I was thinking how exciting this day had been. I looked at my watch and it was just 10:00 am. The day was still just starting and the Lord had a lot more exciting things in store for us that day. To be continued…

Blessings to you,