Monday, March 30, 2015

Don't wait for an invitation to start dreaming.

Saturday for our GOYO (go on your own) ministry we took a soccer ball to the historical plaza where many young boys spend their days shining shoes to make money. We kind of stood around for a while not really knowing how to engage the children we saw walking around. We finally decided to just pick a spot and start kicking the ball around with each other and see if any kids looked interested in playing and then we could invite them to play with us. It's funny how we sort of over analyzed the whole situation and made ourselves think it was going to be much more complicated to get some kids to play with us then it was. As soon as we kicked the ball around we had 3 or 4 kids instantly start playing with us. We ended up getting kicked out of that spot by the cops but that didn't stop us, the kids led us to another area where we could play soccer together (where we also eventually got kicked out of too)

I was just thinking about how the kids immediately jumped in and started playing with us. They didn't wait for an invitation, they saw an opportunity and grabbed it. We have been learning a lot about dreaming recently and how kids don't have to be taught to dream. When you ask a child what their dream is or what they want to be when they grow up they usually will answer you very confidently. They don't need to be convinced that they are capable of their dream, as a kid anything is possible. As we get older though we start encountering 'dream crushers' whether it be people, obstacles or the reality that pursuing our dream won't be as easy as we thought. I think we then get into this habit of waiting. Waiting for the right opportunity to fall in our lap, waiting to meet that certain someone, waiting for our dreams to be handed to us. It's as if we are waiting for an invitation to pursue our own dreams. We need to be like these kids, see an opportunity and grab it. Look for opportunities, don't wait for them to happen.

Don't wait to be invited to start living your dream. Just start.

Monday, March 23, 2015

6 weeks in Ecuador. #ishouldhavebroughtmoretissues

Well its officially been six weeks of living in Ecuador! It has really flown by, especially the last two weeks. They told us that once we got into our regular weekly routine that the time would go by even faster and they weren't kidding. This week was a little bit different then our normal week just because it rained every single day so we didn't end up getting to do a couple of our outreaches because they are normally held outside, and apparently the second it starts raining all the Ecuadorians go into hiding lol, they hate the rain here.

So I figured I would just give you all an update on some things I've been learning here. A few months ago I shared a blog post on facebook by a woman called "stop singing oceans"(you can read it here) and she talked about how most of us sing the words to this song :"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me." and "Take me deeper than my feet would ever wander, that my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior." but we don't really mean it. Would we really go wherever God would call us? Like to a foreign country? I thought it was a great article but I thought ya I do mean those words when I sing them because I am leaving everything comfortable and moving to another country to learn and serve people. I thought just making the decision to move here was the hard and uncomfortable part, I knew there would be times I would become uncomfortable while living here but boy was oblivious to how often it would be. Thinking back to before I got here I think how cute it was I thought this wasn't gonna be as hard as it is. If I could go back six weeks and give myself some advice I would tell myself to buckle up and bring a suitcase of tissues because for some reason tears seem to flow a lot more often when you are living everyday out of your comfort zone.

These last six weeks have been a major time of stretching and growing for me. Something I needed so desperately. I was telling someone how I am doing things here that you couldn't have paid me to do back at home, things I would have went out of my way to avoid but after I do them I feel so fulfilled. I'm honestly kind of scared to go home after I am done with this program. We are learning to live a successful life, how to pursue our dreams, how to break out of our "normal" and I am so afraid of going home and living an average life again. If you are reading this then feel free to challenge me when I get home, ask me what I am currently doing to pursue my dreams? Ask me if I am living a life I am proud of. I want this time in Ecuador to be a stepping stone into bigger and better things. Dreams and passions I've had for my entire life have been re-awakened since I've been here and I don't want to lose them again. I know I still have so much more to learn and will continue to be pushed past my comfort zone while I am here. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to take time out of life for 5 months to just learn and serve as much as I can. I am excited about the time I have left here and for whats to come after!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Last Saturday in Otavalo

Last weekend we had the privilege of visiting an aids orphanage in otavalo. The orphanage is about 2 hours away from where we live so we spent most of the day there. This is the same orphanage we visited while I was on the justice tour last summer. You might remember me writing this post about this little girl last year after I returned from my trip to Ecuador.

She never spoke and so I never learned her name while I was there last time. Well as you can see from the picture above she was a much different child this time. A much healthier and happier one!

I was finally able to learn her name was Lizbeth! We were all given chores to do when we first got to the orphanage and I was outside washing some toys when she came out of the house and started playing in the yard, then her and another little girl Leslie came over and started helping me wash the toys. They were enjoying helping me scrub all the toys and listening to me try to speak Spanish.

We had so much fun, needless to say we did not fully finish our chore :/ whoops!

We spent part of the afternoon just playing with all the kids after they finished eating lunch. It's very bittersweet going and volunteering at an orphanage. It's great to be there and love on them, play with them, and just give them undivided attention for a while but it's also hard because these aren't kids who when you leave go back home to their parents. For a little while you almost forget they are orphans, that is until you get ready to leave. When it's time to say goodbye it kind of hits you again that all these children are sick and have no parents to raise or love them. All the children have such different reactions to saying goodbye too. Some won't let you go and follow you all the way to your car to yell goodbye at you because they had so much fun playing, while others, like Lizbeth did, just shut down once you tell them you have to leave. I tried to tell Lizbeth goodbye but she wouldn't even hardly look at us once we said we were leaving. I'm glad I get to love on these kids even if it's just for a little while but it's always so hard to say goodbye. I mean look at all these precious faces!

I'm really hoping we get the chance to go visit again while we are here. My heart for orphans has grown so much more since I have been here, hoping I can use my life to make a difference in the lives of orphans.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Adventures in Mindo!

I missed updating my blog last Monday, I was recovering from an intense hike in Mindo the day before and had zero energy to sit down and write a blog post about it. This post will be mainly pictures because I finally pulled my camera out again. If you follow me on facebook or instagram you have probably already seen what I've been up to the past couple weeks here but for those of you that haven't let me enlighten you :)

I have mostly been posting pictures of all the fun stuff we've been doing and I thought "people probably think they just donated money for me to go on a 5 month vacation in South America!"
Although I have been having a ton of fun that is not true. I have been taking classes and we have started doing campaigns and outreaches. I just don't tend to make it a habit to bust out my camera in the middle of class, just know that it's happening. Just this last weekend we did our first 'GOYO' which means 'go on your own'. We are told to just go love on the community as a team in any way we decide. So we decided to buy flowers and pass them out to women around the park and just let them know they are valuable and loved by God.

When we gave our last flower out we met the friendliest lady who ended up taking a walk with us and having lunch with us after. A couple of the girls even saw her again this week while she was on a walk, its crazy to live in such a big city and already run into people you know around town.

On Sunday my roommate Laura and I met up with some of her flight attendant friends who happened to have a layover in Ecuador that day and we took a day trip to Mindo.

 Since Mindo is a couple hours away we hired a taxi driver for the entire day. Let me just tell you how great this guy was but first a picture of him:

That is Ivan and he was the sweetest taxi driver I have ever had. Not only did he drive us wherever we wanted all day long, he went with us on all our excursions! We ended up going on a pretty intense hike (which we were not fully prepared for) that felt like we are in the jungle. It was humid and muddy and my hair grew to the size of Texas. So whenever we would come to a spot in our path that was extremely muddy, Ivan would break off one of the huge leaves and place it along the path for us to step in so we wouldn't get stuck in the mud.

We rode a cable car over to some waterfalls which is where we hiked for a couple hours, not knowing how brutal the hike back to the cable car would be.

After we rode the cable car and went on the hike we went and found the zip lining and 3 of us decided to zip line and it was such a blast!

We did a campaign and visited an orphanage this weekend which I will post about soon, I already uploaded an album from the orphanage on facebook if you wanted to take a look! 

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