I've been to Ecuador twice on a mission trip with my church. Each time I've gone, I've come back with a new sense of appreciation for what God has given me as well as a new sense of compassion for others. Unfortunately, after I adjust back to real life, I forget that sense of compassion that fueled my heart. Not necessarily that I forget about it completely, but living in America dulls the sting I feel deep in my soul for these people I went to serve. I hate that after a while, normal life picks back up and the temptation is to forget all that I've seen.
My good friend Celeste, who lives in Ecuador as a missionary with her family, posted a picture (in words) so crisp I could see the story unfold before my eyes. Read the story and Celeste's thoughts below...
"Imagine it is night time, you live a mile from the nearest road. It is time for bed. There is no water to brush your teeth or wash you face. There is no bathroom to use before going to bed. There is no bed. There is one room, for you and your children. The room is very dark because it gets dark at 6pm. You have just enough time to get home from work before there is no more light from the sun. Your neighbors don't have light either, so when it is dark, it is really dark.
You and your children lay down on the damp wooden floor. There are holes for windows, but not glass, no bars. In fact, you don't even have a front door. You and your children try to sleep as insects buzz around you, bats fly outside, and you hear neighbors yelling as they fight while drunk. You see, beer is delivered to the community where you live, but no clean water. Thankfully you have a dog tied up that provides you and your children with some sense of security, and you pray that if it rains, the wind won't blow to hard - for if you get wet, you will be even more cold.
Morning comes early, sunrise before 6am. You have no water to shower or brush your teeth unless you have some left over that you collected from the river. Sadly, the stream closest to your home is about 10" wide and runs slow with a thick brownish liquid that you call water. There is a smell of human waste because you aren't the only ones without a bathroom. You must get ready quickly as the little children must be dropped off at the day care, the older children put on their uniforms and grab their backpacks (full of books that you spent months worth of salary buying (because you have 4 children in school now)). You have no idea that in other parts of the world there are schools available that are truly free. Your children start the long walk in the mud to get to the road to town where they go to school and you go to work. You carry in the baby and your children over 2 must make the walk themselves. Once you get to pavement, the work is not over. You have a steep long, winding hill to walk up, then more walking to get to where you need to be for the day. You have no idea there are free school buses in America that take children to school and bring them home. But that is okay, you are thankful to have a job so that you can care for your children, because children need family.
This is an example of just one family who attends church in Sacha Runa, Ecuador.
Take time tonight and thank God for the bed you sleep in, for the bathroom you have, thank Him when you turn on the sink and clean water comes out. Please take time to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world."
I pray that I will not forget all I have seen, heard, touched, smelled, and felt from my time in Ecuador. I pray that God would renew my spirit form the superficiality of America and remind me of what so many people go through on a daily basis in the world around me.