What happens when you have long hair, and you sleep in a dorm full of girls? You braid it, of course! — or, rather, the girls do. Then your friend opens her treasure trove of hair ribbons, and she gives the girls a gift they will wear every day for the rest of week, whether it matches their outfits or not. In fact, some of the girls only bring one set of clothes. You notice that, and wonder why.
At least, that’s what Rachel and I did at Camp UNPES. During the first and only meeting between staff and volunteers, the head man, Roberto, encouraged us to love the children without restraint. “This isn’t America — you can hug them and pick them up!” He could have warned us how much love we would receive in return. Read the rest of this entry
Note: I returned home Thursday morning, August 15th, after a red-eye flight — safe but sleepy (and fully recovered from food poisoning!). My thanks to everyone for their prayers and support during the trip. Many photos and stories remain, so I plan to continue updating the blog through my journey’s conclusion.
Note 2: I struggled to finish this post — hence the two week plus delay in updating — and it nearly finished my instead. I credit my sister with the spark that finally kindled this saga of church camp. Read the rest of this entry
Our first Sunday afternoon in Ecuador reflected the pace of life there — for the missionary family at least.
After our early morning dining and outings, we relaxed with the kids, welcomed the new guests, packed up for camp, and detoured to the beach on the way. At times like these, Kevin and Beka often can’t confirm our plans until days or even hours beforehand. Living life with them requires a flexibility and calmness comparable to a weather vane’s: ever pivoting, ever erect.
This particular day, the breezes blew fast but fair. Read the rest of this entry
Note: Right now, I am battling food poisoning, otherwise known as “the Jungle Diet” (guaranteed to drop pounds!). Beka has cared for me in every way possible, and I hope to recover soon.
Ezra and Joe acted as both tour guides and Spanish dictionaries for us on our way to the river. “How do you say…” and “I wouldn’t stand in the jungle grass if I were you.” Read the rest of this entry
“Here, you have to pull the head off.”
“I’ll do it!” Joe pinched my food expertly and twisted the offending body part loose. The remains, cloudy and moist, jiggled in my palm.
I steeled myself. “Camera ready, Ezra?” He nodded, hoisting my equipment into position. The lens blinked at me. I produced a smile. The shutter fired, and I bit down.
Beka had entrusted Rachel, Evie, and me to her sons’ care for the morning. Read the rest of this entry
The boys share a room. The girls share a room. The baby sleeps in the shower. All in all, seven people live in a wooden house built by Kevin himself. Dusky red-leaved plants line the yard; a frilly tree from Florida sprouts medicinal properties in the back. A wall painted sky blue encloses this patch of jungle. About a year ago, the family admitted the need for more space. Now a two-apartment guest house reclines, across the yard. Our first night there, its tin roof sheltered us from the downpour outside. The rain pounded as if from a shower nozzle, forcing Rachel and me to shout to each other over the noise. Read the rest of this entry