Everyone has a voice, and a choice to use it well, use it poorly, or not to use it at all.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ecuador Highlights

I recently returned from Ecuador, where I spent over a week in ministry and mountaineering. It was my first trip to South America and to the southern hemisphere. Because I did not have the money to go, I asked many people I knew if they would like to support me, and God provided. I am thankful for their giving, and that God involved them in my ministry.  Here are some photos of my time there. The good photos were taken by my friends Lane Dumm and Ian Hall.

(courtesy of google image search)
This is Rucu Pinchincha (15,413 ft). We climbed it to acclimate to the altitude.

This is our team at Remanso De Amor (The Haven of Love), a wonderful ministry run by a great man of God, Pastor Ramiro (kneeling, center, in blue jacket).

On the way up to Cayambe, one of out 4x4s had a slight issue. Fixed (by someone else) with the help of my Gerber multitool!

(courtesy of google image search)
This is the "Refugio" or summit hut where we stayed before our climb on Cayambe

We left about midnight, so as to travel on the snow while it was still well frozen. This photo was taken a little before dawn. 

I think this photo was taken at or near our high point of 18,370 ft on Cayambe. I'm on the left, my good Canadian friend Ian is on the right. This is by far the highest I have ever climbed.

 On our last day of ministry at Remanso De Amor, I helped "teach" a class of 4 and 5 year old boys and girls. My role was a combination of entertainer and enforcer.

This trip broadened my perspective of ministry, built new and existing relationships, increased my knowledge  and confidence in mountaineering, and got me even more excited about the transformational potential of experiential education.

Here is a poem I wrote about my experience on Cayambe. It may give you a better understanding of what it was like.


"Small, cold, slow start into the dark:
Big black boots make noise but no mark
On the big, black, volcanic rock
Piled like an old rascal piles blocks.

Snow comes white to meet us, laying
Flat and froze while we stand saying
Or praying thoughts to men and God,
As cold sits solid on the slopes.

Twelve steel knives give steady traction,
Slow, warm thoughts endow each action
With drive and purpose, happy glow,
Which does not mind that we go slow.

Our headlamps mimic Orion
Above, tramp on towards Zion,
Sing a hymn, chant a long low poem,
Stir minds like the pool of Siloam.

Stomp, stamp, champ, break and eat and drink
Some tea, punch out the chill and think
As we start again: this wild place
Loves like mother kissing my face.

Feel strong, sing song, some turn down
The chance to summit, I press on
Till dawn begins to break-make light,
Snowflake blur: walk by faith not by sight.

Surge forward now, one last good try,
Five thousand, six hundred meters high.
Summit like a moth out of reach
Flies away, we flow down without speech.

Each one reached a high point of soul,
Each mind wrapped it up as a whole,
Stowed it, stewed it, like a soup bone;
Shaped it, placed it, like a square stone."

I would love to go back to Ecuador some day, whether it be for mountaineering or ministry or both. What is the next step for me? By now I am done with the first week of the semester, with two more semesters to go after this one, God willing. This summer is an uncertainty, as is the whole expanse of time after graduation. I will walk as a sojourner in the path he has put me on, and continue to 1) search out the good deeds he has prepared for me to do 2) fight against the sin which still has a hold on this mortal body 3) keep my eyes in eagerness upon heaven and Christ.  All of this life is wonderful, but it is incomplete, and eternity beckons.

This, and all else good, is only by His grace and for His glory.

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