Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On New Year’s Eve I was standing alone, waiting for a bus after working a day shift. It was dark and the stars were bright, and cars were zooming past me on the highway as I listened to my music. Basically it was a classic scene from a movie where someone is reflecting on their life, and the events that have brought them to be where they are in that moment. So I did it. As I sat there I couldn’t help but think about all of the things that took place over the past 12 months- the people that I met, the places that I visited or lived, the stories that I heard and a few of the lessons that I learned- that placed me where I am today.
So many things happened, and my world was truly rocked a few different times, but I can honestly say that nothing in the past year (or actually past few years) came even close to teaching me so much and shaping me so dramatically to be the person that I am today as my few short months spent in Guayaquil, Ecuador this past spring. So many of you so faithfully prayed for me and supported me financially during the weeks and months that lead up to and during my time spent in Ecuador, both at camp and in my time working in the school. I have so many photos and stories to go along with each one of them. I wish that I could share them all with you.
(If you have internet please feel free to look at some pictures from camp and my time there last year. I will note the website address at the end of the letter!)
I cannot believe that it has been nearly a whole year since I left on that adventure. I’m excited to be able to tell you
that I have been given the opportunity again to go back as a leader with the youth team from Fall River Chapel. Though this year the trip will be much shorter, I am SO excited to return and see old friends and help with the camp session again, and I just could not pass up that chance.
ve been thinking a lot lately why I so quickly jump into these trips- helping with the planning and the fundraising and even this year teaching Spanish- and the conclusion that I came to as to why I am so willing (at least in part), is because I can’t let the opportunity to be a part of something that is so much bigger than I am, slip by me.

In these weeks at camp so many people are blessed and given a much needed rest. There are so many kids that get to camp and are thrilled to pieces to have a soft mattress to sleep on, as opposed to cramming 4 or more bodies onto a thin mattress at home, to be able to play games until the sun goes down (and sometimes even later), to splash in the ocean where their biggest fear or worry is NOT whether they will have dinner that night or if it is safe to play outside, but instead whether or not they’ll step on a stingray or a dead fish (both of which happened last year- unfortunately, and to the same person), to be able to cuddle up in a hammock with their friends or cabin leaders and to be eating three FULL meals a day(sometimes they eat so much that they get a tummy ache). Most of the kids that come to camp come from a part of the city, Guayaquil, called Bastion Popular. None of them can afford the $75.00 that it costs per person each week. Bastion Popular is a slum that has over 1 million people. It is full of gangs, drugs and alcohol, violence, abuse and extreme poverty. Many of the leaders at camp are from Bastion, grew up coming to camp and now have stepped into the leadership positions both at camp and at home in their church communities. It’s really cool to see the impact that camp has had on so many lives over the years since it started.
Every year I reach a point where I wake up in the morning panicking because I don’t know how the funds for the trip are going to come in. Will we have enough? How will we get them? This is especially the case this year, as several different roadblocks have popped up- anything from events being snowed out to the event location canceling to there not being enough time or interest to do an event. But of course, you’ve guessed it, every single year the Lord provides us not only what we need, but abundantly more. One year those extra funds were used to buy a bus for the Esperanza de Bastion (Hope of Bastion) school. Other years t
hey have been used to help fix up the school or prepare it for the upcoming school year. You would think that after several years of my foolishness that I would learn that He does and WILL provide.

One week and a bit until take off. I haven't even thought about packing other than to realize that I have only 1 pair of shorts. But I am so looking forward to our time there....

1 comment:

Christiane said...

Awesome post Jules... I'm going to live vicariously though you while you are there ok? :) I love you lots and lots, and sure will be praying for you all while you're camp. Give my love to all whom I love :) Hug my sister.

Chris. :)