Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

Sunday, May 11, 2014


How do you condense 5 weeks of Ecuador into a post that isn't novel length? I have asked myself this many times since returning from Ecuador a month ago. And yet, here I sit, still not having updated you on much of anything... as more time and trips pass without a word.

So, to make it simple I wrote recapies. Not recaps, those are too long, but little baby synopses of the past two months... aka recap-ies.

In a few words this was the hardest, yet most beneficial, trip I have ever been on... I have never felt more mentally exhausted, yet totally reliant on God's strength. Every night, instead of falling into bed and not remembering a thing until morning, I was instead translating every dream into whatever language it wasn't happening in. Talk about never getting a break! But on the other hand I learned so much and was able to see God at work in so many ways...

 In nature. Ecuador is the most beautiful country I have ever seen.

 In the student's desires to learn and grow in everything film related.
In the film festival. It was a huge success! The students made incredible films (to be posted online soon).
In all the adventures I was blessed to have. Like hiking through rock tunnels to waterfalls and biking 30+ miles through the most amazing scenery.

In the missions history seen all over in our town of Shell. This is a replica of Nate Saint's plane in the local park and below is the Nate Saint house and radio they used to contact each other when reaching the Waodani Indians.

And in the amazing people I was able to meet and get to know on a really personal level. Five weeks is great for relationships... except for this guy. I only knew him for about 4 minutes.

If you sat me down and asked how the trip was I would talk to you for hours about the struggles, blessings, adventures, beauty, and brokenness of a five week trip. I would regale you with tales of translating faux pas, living in community mishaps, and water filled technology water scares. But most of all I would have stories of students who really understood how media can reach people for the Lord and applied it in amazing ways. They were such an encouragement on this training trip and I am confident they will continue to learn and strive after better ways to reach the lost with Christ-stories. Thank you for supporting me with your prayers to be able to do this! I learned a lot about myself, spanish, film, and what serving well looks like.

When you meet certain people, and hear their stories, there is something that can't be ignored. Upon meeting up with an I-TEC team traveling to the Amazon, during the last days of our own Ecuador trip, Dianne (pictured above) and I roomed with two other women, Sarah and Teresa. We really clicked. So within a few weeks of returning home, we all traveled from different states to meet up in Kentucky at Teresa's home for abused and recovering women: Hosea's House

God truly brought together an incredible team of women this past month with the vision to film a documentary for Teresa's incredible ministry, and I was blessed to be a part! We spent four days filming the daily lives of the women who call Hosea's House their home, as well as being privileged to hear their stories of hardship and triumph in the Lord. God is moving powerfully in the lives of these women! 

Here is a brief description of the ministry we are making a documentary for: 
"We develop relationships with women & children in crisis and walk with them during their process of healing by offering housing, friendship, Bible study, education, life skills, home management, parenting skills and community involvement. We base our program on Biblical principles and provide Christ centered guidance to women and their families. Hosea’s House partners with local Churches and organizations in our community. Our desire is to allow the Church to minister to the broken and to be a light in the community in which they serve. We believe that only Jesus Christ has the power to completely heal and restore."

Thank you Lord, Teresa, Dianne, and Sarah for letting me be part of this team. I am excited to edit this film with you all and to see God create a beautiful story from all the pieces! Thank you Lisa for housing us and serving us so well, it wouldn't have been possible without you!
When you want blossoms in your shot, sometime you have to climb a tree.
We were surrounded by amazing and generous people all week long. Every person at this table has made a huge impact for the women that seek change and growth at Hosea's house.
I was encouraged by each one of these ladies! They all have hearts of gold.

After Kentucky it was a road-trip off to Chicago! One butter burger and 5.5 hours later we arrived to our hotel, crashed, and were off to the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) summit the next morning. There we spent two days in an international pre-conference listening to best care practices for the world orphan crisis. We were inspired by the many people working to de-institutionalize (meaning de-orphanage) orphans and strengthen the family units and communities of the world to provide homes for these kids. The second two days of the conference were spent interviewing people from all over the world about their ideas for sustainable orphan care. My mind was blown, and I felt so incredibly blessed to hear the many stories of attending missionaries...
Such as the story of a pastor who has chosen to live with his family in the refugee camps of Southern Sudan, in order to reach the hurting and lost there (unable to show his face).
Or the story of Gennadiy who takes drug-addicted kids off the streets, cleans them up, and gives them hope and a future. (See the documentary trailer about his life.) There was so much to learn and be challenged by!
After the conference I was able to visit two of my close friends who now live in Chicago... Monique and Matt. It was great to spend a couple days just being with them after the packed days of filming.

Monique was a great tour guide and I got a great taste of the city... which I surprisingly liked! It has a unique, very genuine feel to it. Then I got a day to spend with Matt on the lake, where he longboarded and I attempted to keep up (I am not so hot at those 90 degree turns). I also am horrible at posing for pictures as it turns out... but you get the gist!
This is Matt before he moved to the windy city... we didn't actually take a picture together that day so this is an old one, oops! Thanks Mo and Matt for a great weekend and for being people I can sit on the lakefront and process with.

What is next? A very hot and humid summer full of love bugs (acidic, sticky little guys that are literally everywhere for a month, twice a year), time spent redesigning the website and other social media for I-TEC (lots of writing), a new website with videos talking about missions (video editing galore), plugging into my new church and the worship team, and some definite trips to the beach. There is also roommate/friend dates, summer events in town, a trip to the Amazon Jungles with my dad and sister (more on that later), and a trip home to Mexico and Temecula. God always has amazing and unexpected plans, so I will include those as well. Oh and jury duty tomorrow...

 Climbing in a cave to get a shot I wanted when filming.

 Grass grows rapidly here... really, I think you can see it growing.
There is always time for a bluegrass festival complete with food trucks, Sherylyn, and a little rain.

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