I didn’t keep a diary when I was in Ecuador, nor throughout the entire experience. I’m really bad at recalling details in the moment and when I do try, it all just ends up sounding like a boring list of things happening. I’m better at looking back and seeing the experience as a whole. I didn’t really know it at the time, but the trip I took to Ecuador definitely changed me. I have started this sort of post many many times, but there was no way it was going to be a single, fun re-cap of the whole thing; no, this needs to be something bigger! The time has come to recount the experience the way it is written in my mind and in my heart; It was a major part of who I’ve been trying to become.
It all went something like this:
Bree, Tiff, BG and I really wanted to go somewhere to preach. The original location was either going to be Ireland, Thailand, Canada or Slovenia. We prayed a lot, wrote letters and kept saving up as the months went by. The interesting thing about Jehovah, he knows what we want, but he will wait to see how badly we want it. If there is effort, real effort, he will take over on his time.
May came around and a friend of mine, Ruthi, mentioned Ecuador to me. She practically invited us because she was going for about 10 months. “Cool” I thought. When I told Tiff and Bree, their response was, “Nice, I’ve heard great things about Ecuador”. That was all. A few more weeks went by and Ecuador kept popping up casually. I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back, Ecuador popped up quite a bit even prior to my friend’s invitation. We still had no clue. We really wanted to know where we were going to go so that the planning could commence. It was now around June and by that point, we had come up with another plan: we would call one of the branches and ask directly, but due to the time difference, we agreed to call at night time here so that it would be day over there. It was meeting day and we prayed and prayed for it to be made obvious by the end of that day.
After meeting that night, a sister went up to Tiff and Bree and asked how our plans were coming along. Tiff and Bree told her we were still waiting to see where we would go, but also happened to mention Ecuador. “Hello! That was your sign!” the sister said.
As for me, It took me longer to realize it. What happened next, however, was undeniable.
On our way home that night, my friend who had already been to Ecuador joined us for the carpool. She began telling us about her experience. Meanwhile, what was I doing? I was on the JW.ORG website trying to find the phone number for the Thailand branch… yeeaahh… I face palm at myself whenever I remember this because I’m doing this as Ecuador is clearly being discussed. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go to Ecuador, it’s just that Thailand had always been my dream. I kept searching for the number for the Thai branch while I half-listened to my friend. Needless to say, I was utterly and downright unsuccessful. Why? well, for some reason I completely forgot how to use the website. Yup, for the life of me, I COULD NOT FIND THE NUMBER! I went back to the home page and kept trying all sorts of menus. I was mind-blown and might as well have been slapped in the face at that moment. I was going on this website almost every day but somehow, randomly “forgot” how to use it. Coincidence? Absolutely not! Not at all!
I finally gave up and realized there was a reason I wasn’t fining anything. I put my phone down and, what do you know? Everyone in the car is still talking about Ecuador. “Okay, it’s very obvious to me now”, I thought. That night it was official: we were going to need great in Ecuador for the month of September!
I think my first lesson there was what Psalms 143:20 says: “…you are my God. Your spirit is good; May it lead me.” I was trying so hard to see the sign, or searching for the sign I wanted to see, that I was totally beginning to miss Jehovah’s spirit leading me. Sometimes we can be so caught up in searching for the answer, that we forget to stop searching and start looking around us for the answer. Thankfully, I wasn’t doing this trip alone. The best part of all, It was eventually made obvious to each of us. This trip was going to bring us A LOT closer together.
So the journey began! To be continued…