Truck-300x225Over then next few weeks, we will feature one of Amanda Pennel’s posts that she sent to supporters while she was on our 2015 mission trip to Ecuador. This is the fifth installment in this series. You can read the previous entries here:  Day 1Day 2Day 3, Day 4. if you want more information about our November 4 – 11, 2016 or July 28 – August 4, 2017 trip.

Tuesday: Day 5 in Ecuador

Power.  Today was our last day at the project.  We spent the morning visiting more homes, learning more about the lives of the children in this area and offering encouragement to the families.  It still amazes me how welcoming the families are.  I mean, how many times have I stressed in the past about having someone come into my house because it was a mess – feeling the pressure of being judged?  I have not witnessed anything close to that here.  This morning, we visited the home of Wilter.  In order to get to his home, we had to take the bus up the mountain.  It was not a short ride.  The road is made of dirt and is littered with rocks, pebbles and stones.  On either side, it is surrounded by thick forests of bamboo and trees.  At one point, I looked out the window to see a drop over the side of the mountain and could not make out where the ground appeared.  Wilter makes this journey to the project, but to get there, has to have some type of transportation- most likely riding in a cart pulled by a motorcycle.  They call them tricimotos here.  The ride probably costs around $0.50 each time. And that’s just spare change to us.

Power.  The presence of God’s power is something that can’t be adequately described with words.  It’s something that is felt, recognized by your heart as the spirit nudges you when you experience it.

Wilter is a boy just like our boys at home.  He likes to play and study math in school and has a pet dog.  If you were to see him, you might miss it.  You might miss seeing the power, fail to recognize it, because you would only see the surface – a boy just like our boys at home, considered different only because of the lack of luxuries that he isn’t currently offered in this life.

Surface level vision prevents you from experiencing and knowing God’s power.

What I saw is the power of God working in him and through him as he is loved by his family at home and his extended family in Christ – his Padrino and Madrina (Pat and Kim).

Surface level vision is distracting.  It prevents you from seeing deeper, beyond just what your eyes process.   Surface level vision would describe Wilter’s mom as polite and hospitable, but power showed me the deep appreciation in Wilter’s mother’s eyes as she hugged Pat and talked with him.  Power revealed to me her great humility as she welcomed us into her small home and shared stories of her life with us.

Surface level vision wouldn’t have allowed me to see the deeply rooted love within Pat, as he anxiously and excitedly awaited meeting this family in their home and as he patiently and lovingly interacted with Wilter.

We prayed for this family before leaving.  For what?  The family, their health, and God’s provision for work.  Most of all, we prayed and will continue to pray for the power of God, who is able, to do things beyond even what we can imagine or ask for in the life of Wilter and his family.

Power.  It’s a bus hauling 200 children a half mile up the road to a soccer court.  It’s the power of a pickup truck carrying 18 adults, standing in its truck bed.  (Maybe that’s a lot of mercy too- praise God no one was hurt).  It’s 200 children running, playing, laughing, in a space as big as a school basketball court.  It’s witnessing God’s love break down barriers as we share in joy and play with these children.  It’s the power of dozens of children running up to you and saying “un foto, un foto” as they plead for a small picture of themselves from a Polaroid camera.

It’s the way God pokes at your heart when a young boy offers to take your trash bag and carry your suitcase of supplies back to the bus instead of playing with his friends and without being asked to do so. It’s the sound of delightful screams and whistles from children squeezed in every nook and cranny of a bus because they are just happy to be on a bus.

Power. It’s what you think you have over your emotions.  It’s what you try to use to hold back a floodgate of tears as you say “Ciao” and hug each child.  It’s felt in a hug from a boy, no taller than my hip who clings to me and every other team member before he leaves for the day.  It’s what you see, it’s what you feel thundering in your heart, it’s what you hear in words exchanged between our sisters at EC517, us, and The Lord our God.  It’s God’s peace guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus as we encourage each other to keep going. It’s what keeps us going- what keeps all of us on mission everyday – everywhere.

What power have you seen today?

“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God,”

Psalm 62:11

“But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.”

Jeremiah 10:12 NIV