Love Given; Blessings Received
Enlightening Emails of a Young Lady’s Missionary Journey to Ecuador
We landed safely in Ecuador, and God has
protected us through the crazy Ecuadorian traffic to our hotel. It is rainy, humid,
and 50 degrees, but the trip has been nice.
Today we started at the Montebello
school and were with 3-6 year old children in the morning, followed by the 7-9
year old children, and finally the 10-11 year old children. They sure have lots
of energy! We did everything from discussions, lessons, games, skits, and
sports. The 10-11 year old groups were very spiritually mature, and think on a
very deep level for their age. I was really amazed and blessed by them.
Ecuador is similar to Tenerife (Canary
Island missionary trip last year) minus the ocean/island feel. Ecuador is very
beautiful; it is mountainous, with lush growth and colorful buildings. The
driving is crazy, and there are stray dogs everywhere just roaming the streets.
We have also seen stray cows which is strange. The team is in good spirits,
enjoying the loving, very affectionate culture and openness of the children.
They loved to kiss and hug us, as we did them.
For dinner tonight we had fried bananas
on top of fried rice and chicken. As strange as it sounds it was really good.
We also tried Ecuadorian chocolate in downtown Quito.
We are ready to leave the city and head
to the jungle tomorrow. So goodbye to the city life, it's
Much, much love to all of you. Blessed
by your prayers and support!
Another great day in Ecuador; we
traveled from Quito to Misauhilli. It was a six hour
trip and what a crazy drive. We were traveling up into the mountains and the
roads are poorly maintained, and the driving...oh my gosh...our driver passed
on curves and up hills, so we just held on and hoped there wasn't a car
waiting on the other side. God must have good things in store for us, because
He kept us safe as we officially came into the jungle.
The jungle is much safer than the city.
Last night in downtown Quito we had to be very cautious and it was a little
tense, as crime and pickpocketing are big in this city. We had one man
following us for blocks, but again God provided safety, and we also had
Micaela's uncle, cousin, and mom guarding and watching out for the strange
people. Here in the jungle it is much more relaxed and has a safer feel, so we
got to play with the local kids, and we could be friendlier with people while
walking around "town." We went down to the river to swim after our
long drive. It was nice to float down the current and work out some tense
muscles. We played catch in the water with some kids.
Tonight we are staying in Micaela's
(trip leader) parents’ hotel, they cleared it out for all of us, and we will be
staying here until Friday. Micaela's mom has been cooking for us. We
had zucchini soup, beef tips, potatoes, and red cabbage. In Ecuador, instead of
putting crackers in soup they put out bowls of popcorn and that's what you put
in your soup...not bad. Her mom is very good cook.
Tomorrow we lead the church worship, and
then have the rest of the day off. So we will go to zoo which involves riding
down the river in canoe and seeing the animals, looking forward to that. They
have lots of monkeys around the central area in town. They are wild, but sort
of domesticated, good for lots of pictures. You all know I do not care for
animals, but I found these monkeys pretty entertaining, cute and lots of fun.
Also, I have been consuming lots of Ecuadorian coffee...it is so good. Not
better than Tenerife, but about the same.
Today I was shown God answers prayers, even the little ones, and I wonder if God ever shakes his head at my lack of faith. It is very neat to see the fruit produced from the discipline of prayer here in Ecuador, even to me personally when I just ask for energy to engage with people for a constant twelve hours with no alone time. He has also given me great peace where I usually feel stressed; as He constantly reminds me to let go, and let Him alone guide my life.
Another thing made clearer to me was why
God wants us to enter the Kingdom as a child. The children here are so
beautiful and accepting of others. They love instantly and we have received an
overwhelming response from all the kids we have worked with and even
encountered in town. Despite lack of communication they play, laugh, love, hug,
kiss, and show lots of affection. They shine so bright, and seeing them puts a
very heavy desire on your heart to show them Jesus; so they will accept Him
while they still have a loving, trusting spirit, and then continue to grow in
gross fact in Ecuador...no flushing toilet paper. It goes in the trash no matter what because their sewage
system is "no bueno". Also, they charge you
10-15 cents to use public bathrooms.
I love you all so very much, sending
lots of love your way. Thank you for all your prayers they have been helping.
God has given great provision.
In Christ and with His great affection,
Wow, I fell more in love with
Ecuador today, despite the strong humidity and constant rain (prayers for
my knee and chest por favor).
We kicked off the day with a great
breakfast. With every meal we have fresh juice and it is sooo yummy! We have had pineapple, strawberry/orange, guanaba (Ecuadorian fruit), and oatmeal/nectarine. So much
better than the concentrated/over sweetened juice we drink in the states.
We then had church with the
missionaries, and one of our group members spoke over Philippians 2. As we
worshipped together and sang to God this morning it was very cleansing to me,
the renewal I needed from being tired from traveling. It was a great reminder
that in Christ we are being made new every day, and the message was on having
the same attitude as Jesus has. It was what we needed to start the school week
with the kids. So we could show them the passion, the fire Jesus puts in our
lives; that they may see Him through us, and fall in love with our great God.
Today was our last day to explore so we went to the "zoo". It was a place that rescues jungle animals that have been domesticated and nothing like the zoos we have in America. Spider monkeys were loose and we had to hike up lots of stairs with rain boots on because it was extremely muddy. I had the chance to talk with a volunteer guide at the zoo who was from Germany. Her name was Janna (Yanna) and we got to speak a little about Catholicism and Christianity. She was very neat. Then we went into a village where they make "chiki" which is a very strong alcoholic drink. The villagers showed us some of their dances which we got to participate in, and then their sacred stone which we climbed up and slid down. They also painted our faces in the village with their tribal design and showed us how to make the chiki.
There were tons of children running
around. I got to hold several babies and play with the kids. It was a blast;
they are so full of joy and full of pranks. They kept swiping sunglasses, etc.
Some of the villages are rundown, but the people and children still have
beaming faces and are so full of love and laughter, and are very accepting. The
different cultures here are unbelievable and so awesome to experience. It's
mind blowing how God has created so many cultures, and how they are all
I am so grateful to be here and seeing
God work in so many ways. We have yet to even get to the next school we are
going to; yet our interactions with the town and village people has been so
neat. Hopefully we are planting seeds and praying God grows them. We serve such
a huge God, and Jesus is so full of life and rich in joy.
I love you all so very very much, and send all my love to you!
In love and in Christ,
The real work started today!! We left
this morning at 8 to the Antioch school and we did maintenance all day at the
school for the missionaries there. It is very hard for two people to keep up
the maintenance on this large property. We worked from 9-1, and had one group
picking oranges, another group moving sticks, and the boys digging and
flattening out a hill. My friend Alyssa and I took on the jungle grass with a
push mower and a weed eater. We took a break for lunch, and then went back to
work from 2 - 4:30. There was a fallen banana tree, so I got to use a machete
to chop it into quarters and throw it into a pit. I felt like a real jungle
person and almost died laughing at myself. When Hernan (maintenance guy) walked
away, I threw up a couple of the bananas and sliced them in the air over the
pit. I went into complete nerd ninja warrior mode. Dad, I think I got that from
When it started to rain, we had to put
up the lawn mower, so I helped with the digging. It has been quite the day and
workout; with the humidity I think I sweated off ten pounds, and now have a
nice farmers tan; tan arms and white legs. It felt really good to work, help
out, and get things accomplished. We all walked away with blisters and
sunburns. Our team is so cool, everyone was full of
hard work and joy. We danced and listened to music, and got a lot of work done,
yet we were stinking dirty, covered in mud, grass, and dripping with sweat
soaked in the rain. I think I ate more dirt today than anything else.
Lunch was awesome with rice and lentils, thin steaks, avocado and tomato salad (the best avocados and tomatoes I've ever had, so flavorful), with fresh Orange juice (which is not bright orange like Minute Maid or Sunny Delight). Miguel, Lance, and I took a quick swim in the river after lunch before we had to leave again. It was very refreshing and gave us a good boost before going out in the hot afternoon sun.
I love Ecuador, and the people here. I love the team I am with; they are so willing, joyous, and have Christ in their hearts and minds no matter what the task we do. We are physically, mentally, and spiritually spent, yet when we pray to Jesus for strength, He fills us up again so we can be poured out once more in the work He would have us do.
We are doing VBS tomorrow morning, and
then after lunch we will do more maintenance. That is what the next few days
will look like, excited to be interacting with the kids again. Grandma and Carrie, hoped you have passed some teaching skills on
After my shower, I still feel like I
have a layer of dirt in some places, but it still feels good to be somewhat
clean and smelling better. I think the layers of sunscreen and insect repellent
have helped make the dirt stick to us.
Much, much love to you. Please pray for
our team to have some rest and healing from sunburns, blisters, etc. Please
pray for my chest and knee.
VBS has begun! Wow, what a good day. It
was my day to coordinate our group (Meagan, Dalton, and me). We kicked off the
day with skit about Joseph, and then we had games. We based our craft on
Joseph’s coat of many colors, and used many colors to decorate cookies. For our
Bible lesson we talked about forgiveness in the story of Joseph. Tomorrow the
next group in our team will talk about God’s faithfulness to Joseph.
The kids were awesome! And full of energy. We had a blast with them, they are so loving. We did VBS outside where it was incredibly humid and just standing there we were soaking in sweat; probably sweated off 20 lbs. just doing the lesson. The kids were also sweaty, yet they still wanted to hold our hands, wanted us to hold them why we were standing. And every time I sat down five sweaty kids would be snuggling into me for affection. They are so unaffected by the weather and do not lose their energy. We were all so sticky, I don't think I even needed to hold on to them, they would have just stuck to me; yet soon you forget about being sweaty and just enjoy their affection.
I am incredibly blessed by our team. It is so easy to get irritable and cranky when you are hot, sweaty and tired, but everyone has kept their cool, while offering encouragement. We have worked effectively with VBS in the morning and maintenance in the afternoon. My team is a blessing to our God, the people and children around us and to the other members on the team; Christ really shines through them. We work with music, singing and dancing, with smiles and laughter.
Tonight we had shrimp pasta, and a
nearby married missionary couple joined us for dinner; I was truly blessed by
them and their story. Roberto and Charmaine, met in the Air Force. They started
dating and Charmaine start coming to church with Roberto. They soon gave their
life to Christ, though Charmaine still had a lot of doubt about God. She didn't
understand why God had allowed bad things to happen to her. Charmaine had been
physically and sexually abused as a child, and was homeless and pregnant with
her first daughter at 16. She was able to finish high school early at the top
of her class, and at 17 was granted a waiver to join the Air Force; where she
met Roberto. God spoke to her when a visiting missionary spoke at their church.
This missionary had grown up without a father and could never understand why
God would allow this to happen. Until he was working as a missionary where many
boys did not have fathers, as their fathers had died, been killed, or abandoned
their children because they no longer had the ability or money to support them.
The missionary then realized God had prepared him to minister to boys without a
father because he had experience in overcoming this obstacle and could relate
to them. Charmaine suddenly realized God had prepared her to work with girls
who had been manipulated, taken advantage of or sexually assaulted; for she had
overcome these adversities and could help and encourage others through the
Gospel to overcome them likewise. She has devoted her life to this calling and
her husband shares the same vision; they have had several abandoned children in
their home with their 3 biological children. Though it hasn't been exactly
easy, they take in these girls and help change their lives.
I had a lot of time to visit with Charmaine today one on one. In the last couple of years, I have had to realize ministry is intentional, and have forced myself to talk with people in depth. I have become better about talking on the phone, keeping contact, and investing in lives, and allowing people to invest in mine. Charmaine was full of wisdom, a strong Christian who was grounded in faith and ministry experience; a person I like to seek advice from. I was blessed to learn from her and Roberto, it was great and gave me a lot to think about.
Our team was delirious tonight, we were all very tired, and could not think
straight. As we rode the bus over the bumpy road back to our hotel we began
hysterically laughing, what a group we are.
Thank you for all your prayers. You're a
blessing to us. We need them. I love you all so much. I am hardly awake. Hope
all of this made sense. Sending hugs and kisses.
This morning I woke up way before alarm, and was able to have some nice quiet time outside to meditate on God’s Word, and just process what has happened here in Ecuador in the last few days. Wow, it is so overwhelming. It has also been so surreal praying for the missionary family, the school, and the kids before we made this trip; and now we are with the people we already loved before we even met them.
Today was awesome with the kids. They
are just great. I love working with the kids and though we can't converse much
we still have a lot of fun. Today went really smooth, and everything
transitioned really well with the lessons. They were even more energetic than
yesterday. The moment we walked in they were asking to be picked up and began
holding our hands. They are really grabby and one of our male missionaries
had a really bad sunburn; he cringed every time a
child grabbed him, but he was a really good sport and hugged them back.
For lunch we had something familiar:
tuna fish sandwiches. I remember eating lots of those with you Grandma and
Grandpa. We also had lemonade made with brown sugar and it was pretty good.
Coconut ice cream followed; sooo yummy. Our lunch
breaks are so nice, we eat and then all go our separate ways to relax. It's
incredibly humid and we only have a fan, A/C is a luxury here. Last night we
had a monkey on our roof that caused a lot of ruckus. When we went out for
breakfast this morning he was sitting on the table and seemed to be taunting
us, as though he enjoyed giving us a bad time.
I went for a hike today...uphill...with
a push mower. I am not as strong as I think I am, but hard headed enough to
keep going. I mowed the back of the school which was on a slant; which was a new
experience for me. I also mowed the flat ground, and did not mind doing the
mowing. I did a little bit of digging after that, but not much because it was
time to go.
I go to school to work with everyone on
my team, but it has been good to get to know all of them on a deeper level. I
am very grateful to be on such a great team. I've heard the horror stories of
mission teams which did not get along, yet my three mission trips have been so
Our God is so great. What a joy to serve
Him. What a joy to be here in Ecuador. I send all of my love to you!!
Today was our last day in Misauhilli. It was a special day with the kids as all the
days have been. We did lots of songs and dancing, then there was a soccer game
between the children which we went to watch. One of the little girls I
connected most with, Paula, sat with her head in my
lap and I played with her hair until she fell asleep. It was hard saying
goodbye to the kids and they kept asking when we were coming back. I thought I
was going to cry, but starting singing in my mind; conceal don't feel.
The staff and missionaries at the school
wanted to play soccer, so we went for it. I am so glad we practice every
Thanksgiving. The adults were actually easier to play against then the kids. My
skills may look good in the backyard, but certainly not against the Ecuadorian
children on the playground. We also did s'mores with youth group and said good
bye to Charmaine and Roberto and their family, so many goodbyes today.
We did not do maintenance this afternoon
because we met with the teen aged youth group and delved into Colossians
chapter 3. It was a nice change to go into something that required more
thinking. We did small groups and discussed questions. These teenage children
were very open and talked a lot about peer pressure in their community, and how
it is very challenging for teens to follow Christ. Just like our teens at home
they deal with a lot of promiscuity and drugs. They said it was hard to say no.
We ate a traditional Ecuadorian meal: Yuka, chicken, and red cabbage. It was as always really good. Then for dessert we had cake called tres leche (three milks), which was really good. We then had special treat, we got to learn how to make chocolate; by seeding the cocoa bean plants, roasting them, and grinding the beans. Then we took bananas and strawberries and covered the chocolate with them.
We went for one last swim in the river.
We went at night and it was a lot of fun. We stayed up until 2 in the morning
just talking about everything; about life, about Jesus, and stupid humor. We
were so incredibly delirious and goofy, yet in between these emotions some
quality conversation happened too.
Tomorrow we head out early for Banos, and then Quito.
I send all of my love to you. You're all
in my thoughts.
So many firsts today and lots of
adventure! First we are up early to hit the road. Just as we were eating
breakfast Eunice came in with a visitor, it was Paula, the little girl who was
very close to me. She ran straight to me, and I got to love on her some more
before we left. She found where we were staying and came to say goodbye to me.
It was hard telling her goodbye for the second time. She wouldn't let me
go, and then she put her little ring on my pinky finger. I will never forget
On the way to Banos
we took a hiking trail to a waterfall. The waterfall was very beautiful and as
I just sat and watched it, I almost cried. The waterfall was really
magnificent, and looking at God’s creation sometimes overwhelms me, and makes
me emotional in so many ways. It makes me feel so small compared to His
grandness. When I see a mountain and think God spoke it into existence, and can
just as easily tear the mountain down, really blows my mind. We have the
ability to create, but nothing like that. To get behind the waterfall we had to
climb through some really tight spaces so only a few of us went because
people were feeling a little claustrophobic. It was well worth it, even though
we got soaked.
Then we had lunch...burgers! Tomatoes,
green peppers, lettuce, and cabbage doused in some vinaigrette. We also had a
really interesting Ecuadorian snacks that consisted of roasted soy beans,
tomatoes, onions, banana chips, and some other legume doused in vinaigrette. It
was really good, the banana chips actually fit in really well.
We saw zip lining on the side of
the mountain, and made Micaela stop and let us go. It was 250 yards up, and 600
yards long from mountain to mountain. It was raining, and only cost $7.50. I
was assured several times it was safe, and didn't have the bad feeling like I
shouldn't do it. Once we got to the other side, we had to come back in a
basket on a zip line controlled by a man in a booth. He was a little old man
who shifted and pushed pedals to move and guide the cart. This cart was not my
favorite part, because once it lost momentum it would stop between the middle
of the mountains, with only a river 250 yards below you. Adventure is fun when
you don't have to think about all the bad things that can happen, but being
stuck in the middle in a basket...you are forced to think about it. I didn't
realize maybe how dangerous it could have been, but we all crossed safely, and
it was really beautiful.
Then we finally got to Banos, eating was great, the shopping was just the same touristy stuff we see in every place whether foreign or local. Then we continued on our trip to Quito. The long drives are fun and scenic, and listening to the great song of “Overwhelmed” tells how I have felt this whole trip.
Here's the chorus:
"I delight myself in you, in the glory of your presence. I'm overwhelmed, I'm overwhelmed by You. I run into your arms because unashamed becomes of mercy. I'm overwhelmed, I'm overwhelmed by you."
I love worshipping in song and with music. Sometimes it is how I picture the Kingdom of God, singing, hands raised, full surrender to our Lord, and the ultimate joy of giving all of our love back to Him.
Much love, hugs, and kisses to all of
Today was our last day of work, and it
was emotional. We spent our time at Dunamis in Quito,
and as some of you may know this is a place where they take in girls who have
been trafficked as sexual or work slaves, sexually abused, or have no place to
go. It was Saturday and the girls were not there so we got to meet the
missionaries and then we helped with maintenance they needed done. The boys and
I did lots of painting, some sorted jewelry, and others sprayed the driveway.
Though we didn't spend time with the girls, we got to learn a lot about their organization, and it hit me hard. I was expecting women, but they take in girls between the ages of 10-18. Seeing those little girls faces in the videos; and learning their backgrounds just really struck a very sensitive chord. Since they're minors they are under the custody of the government, and the government will only support homes who quickly train the girls to be self-sufficient to keep their costs down. This means the homes turn out the girls before they are old enough or prepared enough to survive in the community. Dunamis takes these girls in three times a week and teaches them a trade so they can make money. Everything they sell goes straight into the girls’ pockets. They do devotionals once a week and have a book club with the girls. The missionaries just love on them, and show them Christ.
One of the missionaries there experienced sexual and physical abuse by her stepdad when she was young, and she said the one thing that she has poured into the girls, is that justice isn't always served. Her stepdad never was charged, and she said she has to forgive him and put it in God's hands. It was really powerful, and I was crying.
Grandma, you will love this. We visited
the equator today! It was really neat, we saw the
water turn different ways on each side of it. They had a nail on the equator,
and they gave you an egg to try to balance on it. It would balance perfectly if
you could get it centered. I wasn't patient enough. They also stamped my
passport with 0 00 for equator, pretty neat for this nerd.
Tonight we debriefed because it's our last night together. We prayed, talked about what we learned about ourselves and life and about God. It has been just incredible; He put the perfect team together, and showed us His faithfulness and grandness throughout this whole trip. I had so much doubt going into this trip and month prior to coming I was just really doubtful about everything. But I did finally send out my letters a little under two months prior to going, and God brought the money in for me to come. Then, I just prayed and prayed, and God moved my heart to come on this trip. I loved the kids before I even saw them, and when I actually saw their faces I knew God wanted me to bring them to Him. How little my faith was, but God's faithfulness and plan is far superior to my own.
This trip has shown me what it looks like to be fully focused on our God. We were away from schedules, texting, media, work, life, and focused on the mission He laid on our hearts. He showed me the joy in working for Him. The physical labor was rough, but there was joy and smiles because we were working for the Lord. He taught me I can't do it on my own, that I need to learn to receive help from others, and trust. Trusting God is a huge issue for me in my life. I realized through the missionaries here, that God will take care of us. If He wants us to be halfway across the world in a shack, He will care for us, He will provide.
Everything that happened on this trip
was because of God. All the work done was Jesus in Us. The extra stress we add
to ourselves is unnecessary; we can cast our anxiety on Him. There is good
stress and things which will make us anxious. Anxiety is unavoidable, but it
shouldn't take over. Jesus didn't focus on His anxiety before He went to the
cross, but in doing Gods will. I struggle with control and pride; and God made
me lay that down each day I was there. I will not say the struggle is over, but
I only have today. One day at a time to wake up and lay everything down at
Jesus' feet. Tomorrow is not promised, the future is overwhelming and
stressful. I have today to lay down my life at Jesus' feet; one piece and day
at a time.
I love you all with such affection and
if God willing I will see you this time next week.
This is the last day and last email; no
work today. We went to the English church they have here in Quito. It is where
missionaries gather together, and of course everyone was welcome. It was really
cool because several people read scripture today, all with different accents,
for they were from Australia, Canada, and Nicaragua .There were so many
different cultures right there in the church who had been led to serve in
Ecuador by our great God.
Then we went to the markets and shopped
and shopped and shopped. Today was my last day so I had to catch up on my
souvenirs. Right now we are chilling out at Micaela's aunt's house until we
leave for the Quito airport.
Love you all so much. Pray for us on our
Copyright 2015 by Ron Borkey
+ ESV “Scripture quotations marked [ESV] are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version,” copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good New Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
+ NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (1995 Update) Copyright © 1981, 1998 The Lockman Foundation, A Corporation Not for Profit, La Habra, California. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
+ NIV Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
+ NKJV "Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
Some words in the verses from these Bibles may be emphasized with bold letters.
Some words in the verses from these Bibles may be emphasized with bold letters.