Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Ecuador : Always on my heart

Some days I think back to my time spent in Ecuador. I love that country. I have so many great memories of travelling around, meeting people, and seeing God do crazy miracles in people's lives. After high school I spent two years at VCOM - a missions Bible school. We learnt about the heart of God and then we got to spend a month in another country sharing His incredible love with people in practical ways. During that time I, along with my small team, I got the opportunity to help in medical clinics, teach, run summer camp-type fun days for children who otherwise would not have a particularly amazing summer, hang out at orphanages, and paint/plaster buildings.
I feel I learnt many priceless lessons during my time in Ecuador. Mostly from the people there. Each time I would meet someone new, I would be overwhelmed by their generosity, gratefulness, hospitality and joy in life - even though to my eyes they have it hard. Some do have it hard. I mean really hard. But many still remain joyful. How does that work? My neighbour here at University has a sign on her door that says, "The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything". This challenges me every time I walk past her door.
So back to those priceless lessons I learnt in Ecuador. I learnt that I really can get by with a lot less than I think I can. For the months I was in Ecuador - I would have only a back pack of stuff. And you know what? At the end of the trip I still wouldn't have worn everything in that back pack! I learnt that the greatest gift you can give someone is your time - people in Ecuador are never rushing. I always felt that if I was talking to someone, we would talk until we had finished saying what we wanted to say. No one ever said, "I have to go, I have a meeting". They simple would just go to that meeting when they had finished talking with you. This approach to life can sometimes be frustrating but I love their heart behind it! Above all, I learnt that people are more valuable than anything else in life. What would happen if we just slowed down in life? What if we spent more time with others than rushing around doing "stuff"? What if we worked harder at creating relationships than building an academic legacy or business empire?
Ecuador - always on my heart.

Riding in the back of trucks

Back packs and buses

A beautiful little girl I sat next to on a bus ride

Painting and Plastering

Up-side-down zip lining in the Amazon Forest. See me??

Yep....I could live here

Some kinda funky tribal drink!

Baby Grace
 (All photos by Nate Harkness unless stated otherwise)

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