2018 Youth Venture participants learn about the biodiversity around the Zábalo River with Randy Boreman guiding the boat. From front to back, left to right, is Isabelle Scottlind, Izzy Mijares, Shelby Conditt, Anne Kaldjian, Alena Miller and ​Luke Wheeler. Photo by Dani Klotz. 

By Izzy Mijares and Isabelle Scottlind
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Throughout this trip, there have been multiple ways that a deeper meaning and knowledge has come to light. Our experiences in Ecuador have taught us to rethink our impact and choices in this world. We’ve learned to slow down, take a breath, and open our eyes.

Not only has it been an amazing trip because of the fun, but also because of how we’ve seen God at work, whether that be in the busy, crowded streets of Quito or the quiet rain forest village of Zábalo.

In Quito, the refugee family helped us understand that happiness can come simply when you open your heart and surround yourself with the ones you love. Although they had every right to be unhappy, their trust and love in God only grew in light of their circumstances.

In the village, we got the chance to experience the Lord through children. The overwhelming amounts of happiness and kindness they gave to complete strangers were awe-inspiring. Our days in Zábalo also gave us a chance to take a much-needed break from the routine of everyday life and enjoy God’s jungle creation.

Our team has definitely shown us the light of God in these last few weeks. There aren’t even words to describe how wonderful they are. Each and every one of them is a brilliant, beautiful person that made this trip unforgettable. It has been a blessing to get to know them all.

All in all, this trip has very much been a "let go and let God" kind of journey. We left Chicago with plans, no expectations, and no idea what we were doing. God used the small moments, the spontaneous, random, chaotic moments, to build trust and to deepen our relationships not just with him, but with each other. This trip has pushed boundaries and opened new doors. 

It’s strange how just two short weeks can change your life.








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