• February 10, 2015

Ecuador: God’s Beauty Displayed

by Stephanie Butler, mother of a vol­un­teer

“O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.”
Stewart K. Hine

This past November for Thanksgiving, I had both the plea­sure and the finances to visit my mis­sionary daughter, Brittany, in Guayaquil Ecuador. It was a won­derful expe­ri­ence.

Upon arriving at the air­port in Guayaquil, my only thought was that of seeing my daughter, it had been 10 months since she had left for Ecuador. I was so excited I didn’t even pick up my lug­gage until after I got to hug and hold Brittany for a few min­utes.

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As I write of my expe­ri­ence in Ecuador, I auto­mat­i­cally think of its beauty. This was three­fold; first, that of the beauty of God’s cre­ation, second, the beauty of the Ecuadorian people and third seeing the beauty of God’s spirit working in the Heart’s Home Community.

God’s beauty in Ecuador was most notice­able to me in the second part of our week after trav­el­ling to Banos, and to the jungle of Puyo. As you can imagine, we saw many sites such as majestic water­falls, moun­tains with breath-taking views, and even one non-active vol­cano. In the jungle, we viewed more water­falls as well as par­rots, mon­keys, alli­ga­tors, very large and very “ugly” fish, and even a poi­sonous snake. I believe, that all this is evi­dence of God’s glo­rious cre­ation.

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Second: The Ecuadorian people. They were a delight to get to know. The fam­i­lies that Brittany intro­duced me to in her neigh­bor­hood were so warm, so accepting of me and extremely hos­pitable. Many of them wanted us to come for supper or for lunch. We received so many invi­ta­tions that, regret­fully, we just couldn’t pos­sibly accept all of them in such a short visit. That, I later learned, dis­ap­pointed quite a few people. I also learned quickly that one gives and receives a kiss on the cheek rather than a hand­shake on being intro­duced! What impressed me the most were two things: all indi­vid­uals were so eager to meet me; someone they didn’t even know. Secondly, prior to my coming to Ecuador, they chose to learn some English so they would be able to speak to me in my native lan­guage when I arrived. That was such a com­pli­ment and a blessing! I too had tried to learn Spanish for them, but they, how­ever, did a much better job at their English than I did in my Spanish. Regardless of the lan­guage bar­rier that we strug­gled with, their love for my daughter, for her com­mu­nity and myself, was evi­dent in their smiles, eyes, and their actions. Sometimes love needs no words!

Third: Ever since Brittany began her mis­sion in Ecuador, I was curious as to what exactly she (and her com­mu­nity) did. So during our first four days, Brittany showed me. I “shad­owed” Brittany and her com­mu­nity mem­bers as they vis­ited the crip­pled, the blind, the lonely, the bedridden and the aban­doned. My eyes were opened and my curiosity ceased. I was shown that Brittany and her com­mu­nity daily pro­vided a com­pas­sion-type min­istry, just like Mother Teresa did in India. Throughout the days’ visit, it was hard for me at times to wit­ness as they min­is­tered. It even sad­dened me on some occa­sions, but that soon dis­ap­peared as the real­iza­tion sunk in of just how much these people were being shown the love of Christ through Brittany and her whole com­mu­nity. Without them, who would visit them? Without them to hold their hand or simply to bring them a flower, how much lone­lier they would feel? Without them to cel­e­brate their birth­days and bring them birthday cake, would there be cause to even cel­e­brate or to even remember one’s birthday at all? So yes, I was sad at first, but the Heart’s Home Community, con­sisting of 5 ladies and one gentleman, acted as the hands and feet of Christ. This took away my sad­ness soon after it appeared. I know it takes away the sad­ness for those they min­ister to as well!

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In closing and speaking from a mother’s per­spec­tive, I feel having a daughter as a mis­sionary is a double-edged sword. I do indeed long for Brittany’s com­pany, her weekly or even daily con­ver­sa­tions, to see her smiles, to feel her hugs, and her pres­ence for birth­days, hol­i­days and just everyday life in gen­eral. However as much as I yearn for these things, I am equally, and at the same time, praising God for this min­istry Brittany (and her com­mu­nity) provide as they use their God-given gifts to bring the gospel to others and the love of Christ to the hurting. After all, isn’t that what life should be about? To focus on that which brings eternal rewards? To share and give of our­selves, while bringing glory to God’s kingdom? This is truly what I believe is what Heart’s Home mis­sion is all about, and that is true beauty!

Be Blessed,
One proud mother.

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