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An Ode to Ecuador 

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QUITO.
Thank you, God, for Quito.
For displaying Your glory through the mountains
For providing such a welcome home. For a fantastic New Years Eve
For introducing us to Jose Luis, our Man of Peace
And Quito’s oregano tea. The hills that leave us breathless walking up
The new believers. Your growing church. For our godchildren
For unifying the team.

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ATECAMES.
Thank you, God, for Atecames.
For the beautiful ocean. The delicious seafood.
For the school that brought us so much joy and radiated Jesus
And leading us in Your direction. For the need to fight for our team.
MANTA.
Thank you, God, for Manta.
For the huge crashing waves and the natural flavored ice cream.
For inspiring children who want to share your love
For teaching us a million different ways to share the Gospel.
For always being there, even when we can’t see it
For challenging us to always want more of You
For teaching us patience.

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PAJAN.
Thank you, God, for Pajan.
For the beautiful first look into the jungle.
For a welcoming community. Strangers turned family.
Sharing your love through skits, testimonies, songs.
For long hikes through the jungle to spread your love.
For a group of youths involved in Your church and so in love with You
For deep relationships even with a language barrier.
PUYO.
Thank you, God, for Puyo.
For it’s wonder. For the zoo and zip lining over cliffs and the jungle.
For excellent mora juice
For welcoming house parents who want to bless us
For a church community thriving, showing us it’s possible
For jungle ministry and baptisms
For spontaneous multi-language worship sessions.

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QUITO.
Thank you, God, for Quito.
For more (literally) breathtaking views. For a safe haven home.
For dump ministry and soup kitchens
For giving us boldness to speak
For long workdays and midnight homeless ministry
For the mountains and alpaca blankets.
For a bittersweet goodbye to our Ecuadorian family, Andrea and Jose.
ECUADOR
Thank you, God, for Ecuador.
For it’s beauty- both land and people
For making it the perfect place to stretch us, to mold us, to grow us
For letting us show love
For it’s welcoming spirit, always asking us to return
For a phenomenal time.

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MY TEAM.
Thank you, God, for my team.
For the fantastic leaders who stretched us.
For Jose and Andrea, our joined team members. Not only translators, but family.
For our unity and love for each other
For a family I’ll never forget and never want to leave.
Thank you, God, for your faithfulness and undying love.
Maddy Ackermann

A community of love

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Here’s a week with Team Ecuador
Things we did, food we ate, and more
God’s moving a lot
Just like we thought
He’s the victor of spiritual war

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Tuesday began with a frown
The fast pace and high altitude bringing us down
We ate comfort grilled cheese
Fruit for vitamin C
Then encouraged each person to turn the mood ‘round

On Wednesday we shoveled some rocks
For the new church addition, we broke concrete wall blocks
We also served lunch
Compassion feeds kids a bunch
Then we topped it all off with Fantastic Mr. Fox

British Jack’s birthday was fun
More meal distribution, labour under the sun
Mad and Sofie, they baked
Double chocolate cake
Filled with dulche de leche! Yum.

We packed for our move the same night
Left big bags as collateral, for a change travelled light
Peaced from the hostel at dawn
Post scrambled eggs and a yawn
Journeying to Puyo jungle delight

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Upon arrival we drank mora juice, had chicken and rice
A dish that’s repeated a few times more than twice
Next came children’s ministry
With song and dance creating sweat-city
Working alongside local programs was refreshing, ’twas nice

A favorite of our team meals so far
Was dinner on Friday: taco salad bar
No morsel went to waste
Though we ate in haste
As the girls left the church with their homestays via car

The boys went for ice cream and crashed in the chapel quite late
So waking up for the 5 am prayer meeting was great
All prayed up a storm
With the atmosphere warm
Then we went on to Saint’s house, learned of missionary Nate

A somber tale of 5 men washing ashore
And wives left behind, hearts sunk to kitchen floor

It’s not just life or death, He is more

Onto the army base with wildlife sanctuary
We walked to cheetahs and pumas devouring meat
Toucans and macaws yelled
Old turtles were held
And only a handful of us were sprinkled by monkey pee

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To an indigenous tribe we drove
Expected to just visit but no
Get on your feet!
Two hour children’s program, lead!
Then booked it to baptisms at the pastor’s home

Eat empanadas that make your lips smack
Exhausted from the day, hope to nap
Spontaneous worship session
Deep Bible lesson
Hangout with youth group, play hacky sack

Finish Sunday 18 hours later
With fries, burgers so still smiling at our Saviour
Chicas rise early
Swing on ropes from trees burly
Living on the edge with no fear of haters

Traverse onwards to Banos post church
Cross waterfall-ful valleys on zip lines, stomach lurch
Swan dive off of bridges
Check boxes of wishes
Successful fulfillment of adrenaline search

Today closes the week
Back in Quito with breakfast pastries
We spent hours planning
For ministry spanning
The remainder of this South America streak

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The highlight for me
Was being blessed to see
A community of love
Influenced from above
Demonstrated by immeasurable hospitality

Michelle Chan

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Give Him All

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After around forty hours of traveling, team Ecuador made it safely to Quito, Ecuador, the breathtaking (literally. it’s 10,000 feet above sea level) capital city and home to about 2.5 million. And the now temporary home to sixteen people fired up to show the love of Jesus.

The first week we’ve been taking it easy. Exploring stores and malls around us, heading south and seeing the historical parts of the city- the basilica, presidential palace, and stunning Catholic churches. On Wednesday we headed up the volcano Pichincha, about 13,100 feet up. Each of us got an hour to go out by ourselves to pray and spend some solid time with God to get our hearts right before ministry began. And then with one side of the mountain facing the gorgeous city and the other side facing the magnificent mountains that rose above the clouds, we worshipped together, praying over the city and our next seven weeks in Ecuador.

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New Years Eve we spent on an open air bus, called a Chiva, seeing the city with some local missionaries. After, as a team, we sat on the roof of our house and watched the INSANE display of fireworks (Almost every house lights some off that night, anywhere from 11:30-1:00. We were literally surrounded by them). This was my fourth New Years in Quito, as I lived there as a missionary kid for three years. And as I was sitting there with once strangers turned family, in my favorite city on my favorite holiday, I was struck with a crazy amount of thankfulness. I thanked God for all the extraordinary blessings from this past year. He seriously rocked my world. And I cried. And then I laughed. And we all went and celebrated the New Year.

The next morning we had a team worship time. We sang and prayed and gave this next year to God. As I knelt on the ground and sang, God put the passage from Luke 7 in my mind. The story of the sinful woman who cried at Jesus’ feet, then cleaned them with her hair, and poured perfume on them. Then he forgave her, blessed her, and told her to go in peace.

“This is what you need to do.” He said to me.

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Okay so I hate feet. Like they’re really, really gross to me. And I like my hair. So the idea of washing dirty feet with my hair was not all that appealing to me. Even though Jesus wasn’t asking me to physically wash his feet with my hair, it was the implication. To surrender. To get down and serve and give up what I find gross and what I find great, and give it all to Him. Give up my “rights”, my wants, my desires and to relinquish completely to him. And then after I do that, that’s when He can fully step in, pick me up, and walk with me in peace, Peace about me not knowing what my life is going to look like two months from now. Peace about my fear of man. All I needed to do was surrender.

So I did. Today. And tomorrow. And the next day and the next. It’s a daily choice- one that God calls us all to make.

Maddy Ackermann

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