Ecuador: Summer Intern Wrap-Up
Bethany Lake interned in Ecuador with us this summer. She has now been back for a few weeks, but wanted to share her final journals with us. Thank you, Bethany, for your service in Ecuador and for sharing your experiences on our blog! You can read Bethany’s previous posts here (introduction) and here (first two weeks).
Week of June 14-20
This week, the Lord was definitely showing up. We had two teams from Alabama, one from Wilmer UMC and the other from Duncan Memorial UMC. On Sunday, we went to church at Agua de Vida. While there, Pastor Kevin preached on the importance of creating a foundation in Christ. I found this extremely appropriate because the teams would be continuing to work on building the foundation in Calderon. Then as we were worshiping, we sang Open the Eyes of my Heart in both English and Spanish. This song took me back about eight years when I was in Ecuador previously, before Agua de Vida was finished, because we sang and worshiped with that song. It was such a reminder that love knows no language. The Lord is present to us all; we just need to be receptive to hear Him. I knew at that moment that big things were going to happen and, boy oh boy, did they!
This week consisted of construction and VBS at Calderon, and it was amazing. The children were very receptive to learning, and the teams had a day catered to the teenagers, which was fantastic. Testimonies were shared by some of the team members, which encouraged the Ecuadorian youth to open up and share with the group about the challenges teenagers in Ecuador face. What was amazing was how the challenges were the same for youth of both countries. But when they trust in the Lord, those challenges don’t seem as big, because they know they do not have to face them alone!
Some of the members of the Wilmer team have sponsored children through Compassion. They spent one morning visiting their children and showing that God truly cares for them. Many of these team members have returned to Ecuador for many years and have developed a relationship with a small daycare in Colinas del Norte. However, they were not sure if they would be able to visit the daycare with all the different moving parts going on with two teams working together. However, the Lord had greater plans for them! The day that Jose, the SIFAT Ecuador in-country team coordinator, spoke to Dr. Roberto to see if they could visit, the team found out that earlier in the week, the daycare had been broken into and the thieves had taken all the craft supplies the daycare had. There was no longer a crayon, a marker, a pair of scissors or even any paper. Luckily enough, because there were two teams that week that had planned for VBS, there was an excess of supplies that was happily given to Dr. Roberto to be taken to Colinas del Norte.
It was inspiring to watch as the two teams joined together to serve the same God. At the end of the week, both teams were sad to be leaving each other, but plans have been made to continue their relationship in the years to come. This week was just such a great example of what the Body of Christ looks like when it all works together for the love of the Lord. Two teams, who had never met before, meshed and blended to work as a team. Sharing in worship, devotions and service, the Lord was truly glorified through their efforts. Both teams did devotions together at night, and every member had a beautiful voice that would be lifted up in praise to God. It was a great week that was most definitely pleasing to the Lord.
June 21-June 26
This week started my last week in Ecuador, and I did not realize how emotionally unready I was to leave. We had two teams once again: a medical team from St. Luke’s UMC and a construction and VBS team from Faith UMC. This week, however, the medical team would be at Villaflora and the construction team would continue in Calderon. Jose and I needed to divide and conquer! Since I am interested in the health professions and public health, I went with St. Luke’s, while Jose continued with construction.
At Villaflora, we had two exam rooms set up with four doctors to see patients. We also had a room for ultrasounds and a dentist. Since this team did not have its own dentist, a local dentist came and did extractions, fillings and cleanings. She was wonderful! The team members did some children’s cleanings and put on fluoride. Over the course of the week, we saw more than 460 patients and dispensed more than 1,200 prescriptions. It was interesting to talk to members of the St. Luke’s team, because they have been coming for multiple years in a row to Villaflora, and overall, they said that the patients were healthier than before, which is an encouraging thing to see.
The week was incredible, and it was amazing to see the way that the team worked together through uncertain circumstances, as well as in areas that pushed them outside their comfort zone. We had all ages from five and beyond, and all did their part. Even Kate, our little 5-year-old, was comforting children and helping the doctors, as well as the pharmacy. It truly goes to show that the Lord can and will use everyone. He doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called and, my oh my, that was evident this week.For me, I was stretched and used as a translator in the pharmacy. I have never taken medical Spanish, but solely by the grace of God, I spoke to every patient explaining the time schedule for medication, as well as the purpose for each prescription.
Faith’s team had an incredible week of VBS engaging the children, and friendships were definitely formed. In construction, they continued tying rebar for the columns and pouring concrete. By the end of the week, although both teams were tired, they were not drained, but were filled by the blessings from the Lord. Lucky for me, both teams were flying back into Atlanta. Saturday night, I joined them at the airport, and we started our travels home. Our flight was delayed about an hour and a half and when we finally took off, tears started to stream down my face. Not only was I tired, I was horribly sad to be leaving the country that had not only captured my heart so many years ago, but also continued to reveal God’s grace each and every day.
To me, Ecuador is truly a piece of Heaven on Earth. It’s still hard for me to believe that my 5 weeks as an intern in this beautiful country are over. It was the scariest but most wonderful experience of my life. The Lord showed up and revealed himself in all forms…through the children, the families, the landscape and even the architecture. It has been such a blessing to answer his call with YES and sit back and experience his presence through serving his people. It’s not goodbye forever, but rather see you later. My life has been forever changed, and I can’t wait to be back again.