What a day it has been! We are back at the Guerreros’ house after a day of learning and interacting with the people of Bolivar. This mission trip has certainly been a different experience as we have been spending time in the GO DEEP curriculum. Today we did session two which focused on Restoring Dignity and Self-Respect as we learned about poverty alleviation. This trip has definitely helped us all to understand poverty better and especially to understand that poverty is not all about the lack of material comforts. We learned about the importance of building relationships and to that end spent most of the day doing just that.
The team conducted a total of 7 visits. I was blessed to be with Annette and Katie when we visited homes. The first home we visited was very modest. They were so gracious to us and offered us water and a place to sit. We mostly talked about our families. The dad shared with us that he was out of work as a construction worker and so he helped out as much as he could at home. It was obvious that he loved his family and that they were very close knit. The mom showed us some of the crafts she makes to sell. They spoke to us about their children’s schooling, their son’s health issues and took us out to their lovely backyard. They shared with us how they got through the terrible earthquake that had hit Ecuador a year ago and how when it happened they went outside and got on their knees as a family and prayed to God. How wonderful that during that time of fear they turned to God for comfort. The children from that household followed us around for the rest of the day as we visited another family and then went back to the church to debrief and pray.
The people in this community live very humbly and don’t have a lot of material comforts; however, we did not sense that they felt “poor.” There was definitely a sense of joy and contentment and a gratefulness to God for all that he had provided. You can’t help but be impacted by what we experienced today. A lovely community of people who interact with each other, who live with their doors open, who help each other, who don’t have many material possessions and who love God. The joy we saw today in the homes we visited was palpable. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.