In June of 2008, Go International made a trip towards the Equator, to the city of Quito, Ecuador; a beautifully developed city surrounded by mountains and amazing views everywhere you look. With warm, dry, temperatures in the day and cool, pleasant climates during the night, this location was all the more enjoyable.The capitol of Ecuador, Quito is home to roughly 2.1 million people. Those we met were very welcoming, friendly and eager to hear everything our group had come to share with them. During our travels, the Go International team spent some time working with a large local church in Quito. Our group helped in their youth ministry- preaching, praying and speaking into the lives of the students; also, later in the week, a couple of our staff members were able to have the opportunity to speak in an adult church service and minister to their hearts as well. The church also set up some ministry time for our group at a local children’s hospital, where we dressed up as clowns to paint faces, make balloon animals, and brighten the days of the children who were ill and had to spend their days away from home. Another day we were able to partner with this same church and distribute food to some of the poorer parts of Quito as well as some of the impoverished villages outside of the city. After the 2-3 hour drive into the mountains to the Quechua Indians, there was a stark realization of the differences between city and village living; not only technologically, but socially as well. We had to use 2 translators to communicate from English to Spanish and Spanish to Quechuan. Although the people in the village were more shy and reserved than the city residents, they were happy our team was there. When we gave the salvation message, it was clear that very few people ever traveled up the mountain to reach them, so we began to explain God’s message from the very beginning of time. It was quite a culture shock as the women, covered with their large tribal pieces of jewelry, and the men wearing their hats, (who were all significantly shorter than even our shortest team member) surrounded us with attentive ears, waiting for the words being spoken to be translated through 3 languages. It was a moment to soak in as we stood on a mountain top, removed from the rest of society with only fog in the distance as 40 of the 50 families in the village raised their hands to receive Jesus. Our encounter with these people was definitely one our team would never forget. One of our staff members, Lauren Morris, walked away from the trip focusing on the significance of ONE person. She later explained a memory to me from the trip. “After talking to one of the men in the village for almost an hour I remember on the bus ride back thinking: ‘If I hadn’t come and spent forty-five minutes just talking to that one little man and getting everything translated, would anyone else have ever made that effort?’” she said. “Would he ever have accepted Jesus?”
And that’s what it’s about. Even if the only person we ever made any difference for was that one little man, the entire trip was totally worth it, knowing that his life was forever changed and that he accepted Christ into his heart.
Written by Brittany Norris