Friday was our last day of children’s ministry in the small mountain village outside of Cajabamba, 11,800 feet above sea level. It was a day built around relationships – some that will continue, others that were a temporary mission, and others that would simply rely on prayer to continue. Nonetheless, each of the relationships were meaningful and impactful to our team.
As we struggled to hike the steep hill amidst huffing and puffing, we were immediately rejuvenated by the stampede of feet coming to meet us. These children dressed in traditional Ecuadorian attire were beautifully decorated with glowing faces ready for the seed the Lord would allow us to plant. Every craft, game, and lesson were watched by just as many adults from the tribe, as children. The excitement of the children was beautifully heightened by the excitement of the parents and elders looking on. A relationship formed, though it will be one that most likely continues only in prayer.
Throughout our time in Cajabamba, we were able to truly get to know the translators from Pastor Benjamin’s church. They very quickly became friends with their warm spirit and hilarious personality. Their excitement when working with the kids was absolutely infectious, and it was a means of strengthening God’s chain of love to these kids high in the Andes mountains. Another relationship formed, and one that we hope to continue via social media until we meet again… either here or at the feet of our Savior.
Lastly, our team’s relationship truly strengthened, as we began to realize that our trip was drawing to a close. The team has become like a family, surrounded by completely new surroundings, unknown language, and unforeseen obstacles. Yet another relationship with brothers and sisters in Christ – one that we definitely hope to continue for a very long time.
Our last day in Cajabamba drew to a close with a fabulously warm, care-free feeling of camaraderie as our translators offered us salsa dance lessons in the downstairs dining room, followed – of course – by the ever-iconic Virginia reel. Our final day of children’s ministry was many things: bittersweet, monumental, and life-changing. My prayer at the close of this day was for each of the relationships formed to be a perfect link in God’s chain of love for each one of His children, whether we are able to continue to grow them, or they simply remain as a seed planted that God will water.