Hello, friends and family! The Ecuador team will be embarking on a canoeing expedition into the jungle of Ecuador. We will be building a church and doing children’s ministry for three days. The first day we are there we are meeting up with the missionaries (Joil and Leah Marbut) in Quito. On the second day we will have an eight hour bus ride into Sucua and prepare for the canoe expedition. Within the next three days we will canoe and hike into the jungle participate in building the church and children’s ministry. We will canoe back out of the jungle on the third day and travel back to the Sucua. The final two days will be spent in Banos and Quito. There we will have the opportunity to explore and maybe climb a volcano! On the eighth we will departure from Ecudaor and head back to the states.
Dawn Pokorney, Cory Henderson, Mike Farrell, Chip Maier, Kat Charry, Farrah Arnold, Jessica Lish, Kaitlin Yost, Brittany Taylor, Heather Hallcom, Josh Bradley, Hunter Abston, Scott Barber, Faith Terry, and Rachel Jameson
Mar 8, 6pm Submitted by Mike Farrell
The team has arrived safely back in Columbia.We had an incredible trip! Thanks for the prayers and support!
March 7 10:21pm Submitted by Jessica Lish
So, it's our last day in Ecuador... Last nights Dinner of steak and potatoes put us in a sleep coma for real! Right before bed, Joel sat down and shared his heart with us and proceeded to ask us "The Question". Upon our arrival, he told us to allow the Lord to come in and take away everything that had happened up until then. Let go of financial issues, work and life and let the Lord come in and do a new work in us. Then he dropped the bomb... The one that no melancholy wants to hear... "I'm going to ask you a question a week from now and I want you to be prepared". So this was it..."What was 'that moment' for you on this trip". As we're sitting outside this beautiful hostile at the base of a mountain, the peace of the Lord surrounded us all as we began to share what Our Ecuador was. For some, it was physically knowing that you are a living sacrifice, even when the work load is hard... With rain and mud involved... For others, it was encouragement. Knowing that the Lord has a very specific plan for them and He will be faithful in completing all He has planned. Half of us shared our Ecuador stories and then we went to bed. This morning we woke up to a waterfall in our windows... Some of our team woke up around 5am to go relax in the hot springs before breakfast... They were still talking about how warm they were hours later! We ate our breakfast at the hostile... Pancakes, yogurt, fruit, fresh squeezed fruit juice that slapped yo mamas grandmama... So good... We headed straight for the market where we bartered and haggled to our little hearts content. Presents, souvenirs and lots of money gone but tons of memories made as little Drew, Joels son, helped us talk down prices and pick out special gifts. From Banjos we drove a bit into a leather wonderland and hopped back on the bus to a mall where we bought our last gifts and ate dinner. Joshua eating three dinners of course... Drew and I headed straight into an office supply store to purchase his first journal. Apparently, we inspired him to journal! Those are going to be valuable one day... I promise you that! That boy has more potential than he knows...
Our last stretch of road before arriving at our last hostile, Joel asked the last half of us to share our Ecuador stories. A mix of stories all spoke the same truths... Life changing moments of love and hope for the future. Dawn finally got to share tonight... She got to talk about how in her few minutes of time with the Lord,.He spoke to her that a life of faith is one step at a time. Climbing a hill of mud is one step at a time... It isn't about planning ten years in advance... It's one step at a time. Putting all of our faith in the Lord. Slow and steady wins the race! Joel echoed this truth when he talked about taking our time... He said that we need to go at a steady pace, not sprinting past what we can handle and end up dying on the side of the road. We can't stop either... Otherwise, you sink in the mud...and lose your boots... Been there! It's going at a steady pace, trusting the Lord. With every step. One of the last stories that Joel left us with tonight was about him coming back to Ecuador after being called... He had come as an intern and worked under his father in law four years before, building a little church in a community. This was when he couldn't speak much Spanish and was just doing what he could to help. Four years later, he comes back and this little community discovers that he had returned and he could speak Spanish! He goes and speaks and afterwards this little chunky kid runs up to him and says "You can speak Spanish!" This kid, quickly realizing that Joel has No Clue who he is, runs a block to his house and comes back with a Polaroid of he and Joel four years earlier. This little boy didn't have a Papa... And ever since Joel had been there building that little church, this little fella never missed a Sunday. This, is what his life was about. I think one of the most important things that I learned... Or finally understood... Was that I am called to Love. To see the fathers Love poured out on those who have never really understood it before... And to be a vessel for whatever he wants from me. But the greatest thing I've learned and that I know we've all learned is that we aren't worthy. We are never going to be enough... And that's okay. We are just human... God, however, is enough. In His Love for us, regardless of whether or not we are enough, He chooses to use us... To Love... Just like He does. I'll live my entire life loving like He does. We've all learned so much... To be selfless, uncomfortable, adaptable, appreciative, to Love the unknown, to find beauty in things that others would fear, to be loving, caring, hopeful, generous, teachable, muddy, rained on, STAAANKY and to be vessels... Vessels free to be used. Whatever that looks like.
Sitting here with my sisters, sharing each others victories and tears... We're counting down the last few hours here... In this Beautiful country where God wrecked us. I can't help but think through the last thing Joel left us with before he and Drew went up to bed...
"Don't be afraid to say that God said so, don't be afraid to lack the know how and Don't be afraid to swing for the fence"
Buenos Noches My Lovely family
Mar 6 8:55pm Submitted by Hunter Abston
We met up with the lads and started on our little hike through mud, sticks, bugs you have never seen, and nothing but jungle...basically one of the most awesome things I have ever experienced! As we waited on our boats and drivers to get back from getting gas, we learned such a valuable life lesson from pastor Matt to learn your spiritual rut, your good spiritual rut and let that guide you and advance you further then what you could ever anticipate! That is true. That is noble. That is real. We had a three hour motorized canoe ride back to the port in sucua. The ride was filled with stories and reflecting the week, conspiring ideas of how to stay longer, excitement to get back, eating MREs, tears, laughter, thankfulness and humility.
Imagine this...a bus full of young adults (yes, dawn and PC included in that) with mustard yellow curtains that cover half of the windows, the other half the windows are open with the breeze of Ecuador air blowing in and every person reflecting what The Lord has done. As I looked around the bus I saw tears flowing, giggles, hugs, destiny being spoken, eager expectation being filled, and the overflow of the lords love being poured out. I prayed that my family on every trip would awaken to what makes them come alive and I saw that on this bus today. It is seriously one of the most beautiful and rewarding things to be apart of. I'm so honored that lord ordained this before time that this specific group of people would all come together with one heart, one mind and in one accord to pour out the love of the father, all the while the father was knitting and weaving promises inside our hearts. Praise God! After we arrived back the hostel, we had an hour for the group to shower and get cleaned up to head back to banos! We took turns taking ten minute showers, praising The Lord for a fresh so clean smell! Woo!
We met back downstairs after an hour and Mr. Ricky announced that we were going to go to the Hope house upon the request of Jess wanting to make sure we go! As soon as we walked in the hope house we could all just feel the lords Presence there! There is nothing sweeter then to be broken by what breaks the fathers heart, and that happened to all of us in the hope house. It is literally a place of hope. We got to pray with the 18 girls that live there, ahhhh it was so glorious. And then we had to depart ways from the missionaries: Ricky, Keith, and Matt who all played a role in teaching us and shaping our lives! Through sobs and laughing sobs and smiles and hugs we said our goodbyes but in hope that one day we will meet again. Now we're headed to banos to eat dinner and stay the night and prepare for a tourism day tomorrow! Oh this day got even more real when we got to our hotel. What we thought was time for dinner was suddenly shifted when we heard rumbles that were from a near by VOLCANO! Dude. It was sick. Joil let us delay dinner and go see the volcano activity, which has been more active then he has ever seen in 15 years people! So get this, as we drove POW there was an eruption of lava and it was sicky sicky gnar gnar! Ah. It was a solid way to end our days journey. When arrived to our hotel we had the best dinner awaiting for us. Thank you Jesus for your favor, blessings, provision, and protection! Today has been amazing!
Today we woke up in Libertad and we got back into our comfy canoe and headed into Santa Rosa. After making our way down the hill of course. Rachel grimes was excited to not fall this time. We made our way into Santa Rosa and we began our... Intense mile hike... In the mud. It was intense. Brittany Taylor made good company up that hill as she kept everyone laughing the entire time. Halfway into this hike we were greeted along the way by some little faces welcoming us into their village. With every buenos Dias into that village we all knew we were meant to be here. As soon as we stepped foot into this hidden village we started work on the church. Hiking back into the jungle to carry fresh cut boards and painting the wood with diesel to keep them from big decay, we started this process. Several trips into the jungle, some of our family started praying for rain...and boy did it raaiiiin! After a sip of chicha, we were trudging through the mud and ready to finish this thing. Of course... Not without a little bit of a mud fight. Hahem PC...
When we finished gathering all of the wood, everyone had the chance to try chicha. Let me explain this to you. The jungles used to have a lot of warfare between the tribes and after the fighting ceased they would make this drink and offer it to anyone who came in as a peace offering. It is offensive to turn it down. It is made by the women of every family will gather the yuca plant and they will chew on the fruit and chew... And chew... Until it becomes a nice liquid, which they will put in a basin. This will sit for a few days and get really good and juicy... And that, is chicha.
We worked until night fell and we set up camp or bathed in the river. What an adventure that was... The village made dinner for us and we enjoyed rice, noodles and chicken. Soooo good! One of the missionaries had us say mancha mancha once we had finished eating. It was supposed to mean very good in shuar. We later found out that it meant fat and greasy. Which explains why they looked at us the way they did. After we Ate, we had a church service in the incomplete church. Chip shared while Kat interpreted and the village sang some songs in their native language. It was beautiful. We walked back to our roach hotel :) and now we will sleep for a few hours before waking up to continue work or to do children's ministry. Today was long but so good. We know we are supposed to be here. Praise God for a fun day.
Today we Woke up at 4:00am to drive to the port to load into the canoe. We loaded all the luggage and while we're waiting to depart the coast guard comes to tell us we can't take off unless we have life jackets, which none of us had. After a long conversation and since all of us know how to swim he lets us take off. After about a ten minute ride we stopped at the next port to get some gas. Ten minute goes by and were sitting in the boat waiting. Ricky comes back to tells us it's going to be a while before we can get gas. So while we're waiting we encounter the first out side bathroom experience and it was ruff. Had to get over it because we would be doing it for the next three days. But it was really cool because while we were waiting we got to pray for a man who had an infected cut in his leg, we were believing The Lord would heal him. When we got done praying there was a family there and we had some pizza left over from the night before, so we gave them the left overs. It was so cool to see there expression because it was the first time they have ever eaten. After about an hour it started poring down rain and we were all soaked. Rained for about an hour while we were in the canoe.
It began to get dark so we had to go to another village that we planed not to go to. Getting up the hill to get into the village was an adventure in its self. We had to climb up a nudy hill that was mud up to our knees in points. Many people's boots got stuck in the mud and some people began to fall. It was so life bringing. The best quote of the trip was made today. "Touch what ever you have to touch to get me up this hill."Dawn Pakorny. After the hill we hiked through the mud to the village. Hiking through the mud is a new experience not many of us have encountered. Many of us fell, but we embraced it. Libertad, is the name of the village that we were at. As soon as we got there we were greeted by many of the people. We dropped our bags, and started playing soccer with the kids. After a while of playing soccer we had up set up camp before it got dark. The guys set up in the church and then sisters set up in a school house. Many bugs including cockroaches swarmed both. Lucky we were smart and brought bug Nets. After a while we brought out the MRE's that were delicious, and got all the wonderful surprises that come in them. Pastor Ricky who is one of the Missionaries that we are working with gave a wonderful devotion bringing our team back to the simplicity of the Love of Christ. Then we crawled into our hammocks or sleeping bags and went to sleep. Today was the first day in the Jungle, although there were times where it was very difficult none of the team complained, and the Love that our team brought to Libertad changed them for good! Praise The Lord for life changing encounters like the one we had today.
Hello from Sucua!
March 1st we pulled out of our tiny bubble in Columbia, SC and we headed for our first flight. Leaving around six in the morning put us in Quito around 10:30pm. Our first flight being from Columbia, our second flight being from Chicago and then we connected in Texas to bring us into this beautiful country. Our flights consisted of several naps and the television company made a lot of money off of our purchasing time to watch movies on the last flight of 6 hours… Most of us enjoyed our movies while others… slept through them. We arrived safely in Quito where we were to hop right on a bus and head toward our hotel for the evening but we were slightly delayed as one of the sisters’ Hiking Pack had been missing and never came on the conveyor belt. Though a little discouraged, we all pulled together and trusted the Lord to do what He wanted to do in this situation. We got on our bus and headed to our Hotel.
After a little bit of discouragement, Joil Marbut lifted our spirits with his testimony and a little word from the Lord. You see, regardless of circumstances, the fact is that God ordained every step of this in advance and we trust Him with whatever He has for this week. It was so nice to arrive at a little piece of heaven. When I tell you that this place was beautiful… oh my lanta… It was gorgeous. A beautiful little ranch style place where we were able to lay down and trust that the Lord had something awesome planned for us this week.
This morning, we woke up… a little late due to incorrect cell phone times… whoops… and had a beautiful breakfast in this little paradise. We hopped on our bus again for another 8 hour trek into Sucua. The drive was long but beautiful! Waterfalls, Lush landscapes and Cows EVERYWHERE! Like laying on the side of the road “Just chilllin” as Kat put it. Our drive really showed me how we can pull together as a family even when we’re tired or discouraged… but the awesome part is, the moment you give it all to God is the moment He drops it right back in your lap. We were all taking turns reading Day 1 in a devotional book that we are all given before we head out and as the sister who had lost her pack decided to take a deep breath and give it all to the Lord, Joil stood up and announced that the airport had found her pack! God is so good and He truly works everything out for our good!
When we arrived in Sucua, we were greeted by new and familiar faces! The families of these amazing missionaries as well as Rachel Grimes who was a student as SCSL last year. We all had a time of fellowship and ate dinner at this tiny little pizza place right beside our Hostile and we just enjoyed each others company. We made one last trip to the store to pick up some last minute things like snacks and rubber boots for the canoe ride tomorrow. As of right now, I’m sitting on my bed listening to my beautiful family around me preparing their backpacks for tomorrow and getting everything together to head into the jungle. We are all so excited to see what all the Lord has in store for us this week and we are encouraged as we put our full trust in the Lord and disregarding our own comforts and our own feelings. This isn’t about us you see, its about loving on a people and furthering the kingdom of God. But, just like with the situation earlier, The second you give it to God… He gives it right back. So from this muggy hotel room, be encouraged in whatever you are going through and know that the moment you trust the Lord, everything will come together as He intends.