Sunday, July 11, 2010
Just returned from a week near Quito, Ecuador with 16 young people from our church and about 60-80 from other places. These young people and several adults spread out over the area doing a multitude of service projects, interacting with children and adults through sports, Bible school type activities, work projects, and just casual contacts to demonstrate Christ's love through action and caring. It is remarkable to watch young people give of themselves to people of another culture, often with extreme language barriers, and at the same time seeing them become changed. We were part of an organization called World Changers under the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Our group worked on projects planned by a local missionary couple in Quito with the support of the groups named. We stayed at a Nazarene Seminary which had the facilities necessary for our lodging and group activities and fanned out over surrounding areas for the projects being worked on. We met some remarkable local people who were so obviously appreciative of the work we were doing. My small group cleaned up and painted a community center and cleaned up an adjacent park. Another group and some local youth painted murals on the building. Some city workers came and removed some accumulated rock and building debris and finished a concrete playground that had been neglected for quite a while only because of the work we were doing and the urging of some neighborhood leaders. The week of work, worship, and travel was tiring, but quite rewarding and inspiring. This is my second trip to Ecuador, and my only regret is that I still haven't been able to get to a place where I can eat guinea pig!