Monday, May 25, 2009
I know I'm not suppose to base my actions on how "I'm feeling", but instead should die to myself. And I got lots of practice doing that in Ecuador. For most of my time there, I was sick and felt much worse than I let on to the others on my team. The last thing my flesh wanted to do was to be kind or loving. I was weak and tired and could do nothing in my own strength. I had to rely fully on God. I prayed LOTS! Our leader gave us quiet time each morning from 7-8. It was such a sweet and peaceful time for me with no distractions! The first morning, God lead me to Philippians 2:3,"in humility consider others better than yourself". I quoted that verse over and over in my mind the 10 days I was there. My wise Father gave me the reminder I needed to help me keep my emotions in check. He is SO awesome!
Some of our time we spent in Shandia. It's the village where Jim and Elisabeth Elliot worked, lived and taught. I observed the Christians there living and working with an eternal perspective. It was so encouraging and inspiring to me! Their focus is on the immaterial. They know the things on earth are temporal and it's the relationships you make and the words you say that can make an impact on eternity. I am so thankful to God for allowing me to see those dear people living that out...all day long. They truly know REAL joy. Not the loud, jump up and down excitement, we often confuse for joy. But the quiet inner happiness and contentment that circumstances can't alter. For them, Jesus first. Others second. Yourself last isn't just some catchy acronym for joy...it's their lifestyle!
Latin American culture is all about the people. I found that Ecuadorians consider the day lost if they haven't made contact with anyone,even if they worked hard all day and finished the tasks at hand. And if they don't finish their tasks, but had conversations with people, they consider their day successful.
It's no news to anyone that in America, we are the opposite. It’s more about how much money we can make, stuff we can accumulate, or things we can accomplish than about building relationships. God has given us so many resources and instead of using them to bless others, we hoard them. What's worse is we don't worship the One who gave us those blessings! Instead we take them and make them our idols. We worship the gifts instead of the Giver!
Hell is REAL! Those without Christ are going to spend eternity there. If I truly believe that shouldn't I be investing my time and money into warning people?
My trip to Ecuador was an incredible experience where God taught me many things. But, if I resume my life, unchanged, the trip was just a fun experience.
Please pray for me. I don't ever want to forget.
Here are links to photos:
Sightseeing in Ecuador
El Refugio Christian Camp in Quito, Ecuador