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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ecuador

Now that I'm back and back into somewhat of a usual routine, I'm ready to share a few stories and things I learned while there.

Every time I go on a mission trip, I am reminded of how rich I am, regardless of our current financial situation! Yes, we just got done living through seven weeks without a paycheck coming in and cash flow is extremely tight, but none of it will ever compare to those less fortunate in third world countries! We have so much and so many resources. We must share them!

The first week after being home, I was angry. Mostly at myself, but also at my family and those around me. We take for granted all that we have and then we want more! It is really sad. I seem to fall into that rut too quickly. With our current financial situation, I'm somewhat forced not to fall into that rut, but it is extremely easy to do so. I still want, but can't due to our situation! Which honestly, is a good thing!!

I need to tell you about a special girl I met in Ecuador. Her name is Valeria. She is an incredibly strong girl who has endured way too much in her young life. Valeria was our translator for the week. She started out shy and insecure, but as the week went on, she became stronger and more confident. She blossomed!! She did an excellent job!!

When I first thought of getting to know Valeria, it honestly challenged me. I would think that in the evening when I'm climbing into bed, is my down time, my time to just relax and think about the day. God had other plans. He put Valeria in my path to keep me from thinking of home too much and for dwelling on unnecessary things.

Valeria and I shared rooms together and hung out in the evenings. She shared with me stories of her growing up and how tough times were. God also gave us common ground to start off on right away! I don't know that I've gotten to know anyone faster, other then my husband! We hit it off right away. We each have a two year old daughter. Who, honestly, look similar!! It was hard to share a room and pilfer through all of my things in my bag, knowing that she didn't have as much and would have probably wanted it. By the end of the week, I had given away five shirts, a pair of jeans and a pair of shoes. I should have given more! There is no way my clothes will even come close to fitting her tiny frame, but she told me and showed me how well of a seamstress she was! That girl can sew!! Whether she sells or uses what I have given her, hopefully it gets used!

Valeria humbled me many times. The first morning after we had gotten up and showered, I returned to the room with my bed already made. I know I hadn't made it, I'm lucky if it gets made at home. (Why make it when you just climb right back into within 16 or so hours anyway!? :)) I put two and two together and realized that Valeria had done it for me. I was so humbled! I quickly asked if she had done it and she said she had. I told her that she didn't need to at all. We were not paying her to pick up after us. We were paying her to translate! She didn't bother after that, or at least not that I knew of! She probably thought - what a slob! She can't even pick up after herself!! :)

As the week went on, Valeria shared more and more with me. She told me of her scars and how they came to be. She was a little baby, approx. 8 months old. Her sister, who I believe was five at the time, was to make dinner for the family and watch after Valeria while the rest of the family worked outside of the home to make ends meet. Valeria's sister had set her in a box near the fire so that she could begin cooking dinner. She had used too much gas to start the fire with and when she lit the match, the fire exploded into flames. The sister panicked and ran out of the house without Valeria. Valeria was then found and brought out to be cared for at the hospital. Thankfully she survived. She does have scars on her face, neck and shoulders, but as the week went on those scars diminished!

I have found a new friend. I'm just hoping we can stay connected. She tells me she has Internet access at a local store and she gave me her email, but it didn't work - so hopefully she contacts me soon! I miss her!

6 comment(s):

Jennifer said...

Lori your story really touched me. I so appreciate your honesty and realness. I needed to read your words. I struggle so much with wanting more and wanting what everyone else has. I take so much for granted!! My husband does not make a lot of money but yet we have all of our basics and plus more. He went to on a missions trip to Quito Ecuador about 8 years ago and it really moved the guys. Most of them left all of their extra clothes and shoes.
I needed this reminder. God Bless you. I look forward to reading more stories

chad welch said...

Lori, I'm happy you had a good trip. Glad God was able to work both through you and on you during your trip.

We need to have you all over for dinner sometime before we move.

Greta Jo said...

Oh Lori, Thanks for sharing. I too am like Jennifer, I always want more, more, more. Thanks for humbling me. WOW, what a special bond. I too hope you hear from Val soon.

Anonymous said...

Lor,
Puts life in a whole new perspective, doesn't it. glad you had such a fulfilling trip.
Love ya,
Tia D
Give my big Nico a hug from me. :)

Maxine said...

I hope you hear from Valerie soon and I'm glad God put you in her life for a while. Your reflections about our ungratefulness here in our country has been something that has irked me more and more. I hear people complain so much, especially at this election time. We have no idea how bad off we can be. It is so good that you got to go and do this good work.

Rindy Walton said...

What an awesome story! I haven't stopped by in a bit and love seeing your children! I followed your adoption and now to see you go to Ecuador is inspiring. Thank you for sharing!