Going into this trip I tried to keep a very open mind. This is my second time going and I didn’t want to set any expectations. Its been such a blessing to be able to serve with this amazing group. The kids have a very special place in my heart. It’s so incredible to be able to come back and have a kid remember you. We don’t realize how much we mean to the kids. This week God really spoke to me about letting go of the past and being reborn through him. A constant word that resonated in my heart this week was strength. Joshua 1:9 was a verse that I found that spoke about how strong we are through God and that he will be with us wherever we go. As we all go home and disburse back into our lives, I pray that we don’t forget the messages and connections we made with God and these amazing team members. I’m so beyond blessed to have been able to have this opportunity to serve our heavenly father.
Much love, Bri
So I’m currently in the lobby of the hostel being forced to write this by Dougie Fresh. I don’t know what I’m supposed to write about or say, so let’s see how this goes, I guess. Avery said to talk about the little girl I had grown close with, Meritxell. She’s just this one little girl that I’ve started to feel some sort of responsibility over as we’ve become close. I got the privilege of spending her 10th birthday with her, and we now have matching bracelets I bought in the little city square here in Misahualli. We’ve exchanged many hugs and laughs, and there have been many confused faces on my part from when she speaks too fast or uses a word I don’t know. Oh yeah, and everything has been in Spanish. Its been great practice and its amazing to see the product of my years learning Spanish. It’s just great to see the new people you can reach by just having some knowledge of a language, and I can confidently say that I’m so glad I decided to learn the language even if my classmates say its redundant or useless. But yeah, its been great to step away from my life for a bit and just spend time with wonderful people in such a relaxing, easygoing place. And mom, they have taken really good care of me regarding food. Even though Mrs. Eunise isn’t here, there’s this one really nice woman here that reassures me on everything, constantly saying “No milk”. Anyways, I don’t know what else I’m supposed to write about. I’ve gotten very close with a select few people that I’m so grateful to have gotten to know, and I’ve been able to spend good time with my brother before he goes off to college, which has been such an amazing opportunity. Today was cool though, we went to a little chocolate making place thing on the river and Emily got baptized, and then we played soccer in the street (don’t worry mom we did it safely). But yeah. That’s it I guess. Peace.
This week culminates my third visit to Ecuador visiting both Dunamis and Jungle Kids for Christ. How blessed I am to be able to attend the three trips. Like the previous two trips, I have been encouraged by our youth and the youth leadership of our church. What a great group of young people who energetically engaged in all that was asked of them. This was evident in teaching the students as well as the physical labor activities each day. No complaining, joyous hearts and a willingness to make a difference. God’s presence and the many prayers of family, friends and our church were certainly with us throughout. I love the last verse of Les Miserables “ to love another person is to see the face of God.” How true!
We are reaching the conclusion of an incredible week in Ecuador. God has shown us His favor as we have worked with the beautiful children at Antioch School and as we completed a multitude of challenging jobs on the worksite. I am full to capacity with love and respect for this team, the missionaries here, and the friendly people of Misahualli. It is rare, I think, to travel with 23 people for 9 days and still want to spend more time together, but that’s exactly the way I feel. God has assembled incredible talent and heart within this team and each night as we have gathered for worship and counted the blessings of the day my faith has been strengthened.
Tonight we were blessed to attend the end of school celebration. It is incredible to see God’s hand at work in the lives of the children here. I have been given the awesome privilege of knowing many of these kids for 7 years, and God’s handywork is evident and real. Tonight we saw kids get awards in Math, Science, and English. We saw supportive families and proud sponsors gather together, many from very different worlds, but all so happy to see these precious children express hope and confidence in the future. I witnessed two boys whom I love start a Bible study with two missionaries who are willing to answer the tough questions to help them accept this great love God has for them.
I am immensely thankful tonight for God’s provision and for the depth of these Alpharetta Methodist students from whom I’ve had the opportunity to learn. They are full of love and faith, awesome leaders and followers, and they give me renewed hope for the future of our church and our mission of reaching people for Christ. I am thankful for every person who supported us financially and in prayer. We have been able to accomplish more than I could have dreamed, but I’m sure it was exactly what the Lord envisioned when He called us to go and called you to send us! We love you all.
Grace and Peace,