The following blog has been re-posted
from a blog kept by the LIFT team from Camp-of-the-woods who spent two weeks with us in March. To view their blog visit: http://www.liftmissions.blogspot.com
Ecuador is an amazing country that is about double the size of New York State. It is packed with jaw-dropping scenery that sings glory to God with all of its beauty, variety, and grand majesty spanning from tropical jungles to glaciated alpine peaks towering over 20,000 feet – all in the middle of the earth. LIFT 29 has been taking it all in as we have traveled over the equator and the Andes Mountains several times to sojourn in our places of ministry (Oyacachi & Chaco). The western side of the Andes is lush, rolling highland farms of the Quechua people, all linked together as a great quilt of green, yellow, brown, and purple patterns. Higher up in the mountain passes is the Padamo (alpine grasslands – the Ecuadorian version of tundra). Dropping down the eastern side is extreme terrain with precipitous drops of hundreds of feet, creating a mystical land of waterfalls and impenetrable jungle.
We have had some excursions to get out into it all. . . being blasted at the thundering power-shower of Cascada Rio Malo, seeing two of the tallest waterfalls in the country, hiking two different trails into the jungle, and rafting the large, raft-tipping class III-IV rapids of the Rio Quijos.
LIFT is wrapping up its time of ministry here with the excursion the students have been training for with the winter hikes in the Adirondacks . . . mountaineering on Illiniza Norte, the eighth highest peak in Ecuador, standing over 16,800’, higher than any peak in the U.S. except Alaska. On Sunday we will say goodbye to our homebase, El Refugio, to set up basecamp at 13,500’. Around 3:30 a.m. we will start our trek with headlamps up into the high altitude of rocks and snow in several teams and hope to summit mid-morning and return by 1:00 p.m. to break camp. We then journey into Quito to a hotel then downtown to celebrate with some of the El Refugio staff at our last dinner together.
Our hearts are full with emotion as we leave such a beautiful country and beautiful people, seeing God’s hand in it all. It has been very good to be here, to experience God working through us and in us and in those we have met – all deepening our perspective of how the Holy Spirit is advancing the kingdom of God. It will also be good to be back again and pour into our families, friends and communities. This brings our chapter in Ecuador to a close. Thank you for following along in this LIFTers’ tale.
Alturas is a 10-week long adventure-based internship
that is designed to give participants the opportunity to renew their character, develop their potential, and discover God’s calling on their lives. Josué is one of the 6 currently serving with us.
This is his story.
My name is Josué Vega and I am from Siguatepeque, Honduras. I’m 24 years old and study mechanical engineering at the National University of Honduras. I’m also a volunteer at the Hill of Light, a camp which is part of the Bible Union of Honduras. I’m interested in deepening my relationship with Christ and this has been an excellent opportunity for me to connect more deeply with Him and to learn to connect more with Him through nature and adventure.
My experience has been incredible. I’ve been able to experience God in different ways seeing Christ work through His creation and adventure in youth and adults that have come to El Refugio to reconnect with Him. My favorite aspects have been working with youth in the adventure activities and the physical work that involves all of the interns working together around the property.
My plans after this internship are to return to Honduras and teach all that I have learned to the interns at the Hill of Light and to maintain this close relationship with my God during the rest of my studies in university and throughout my life in Honduras.
I’m happy to post the first of hopefully many, many entries to come. At this point I’m not going to set any expectations in terms of how many blog posts we’ll do per week or anything… but as the summer months approach, I can assure you that the frequency will increase as we have more interns on the property and groups coming down from the States.
As for now, I’ll simply leave you with this greeting and wet your appetite for blog entries to come. We’ll have a pretty diverse mix of people posting, but more than likely you’ll be hearing from me on a semi-regular basis.
Therefore, let me tell you a bit about myself. My name is Jim Olsen. I was born in a suburb of Green Bay, Wisconsin but grew up on Long Island in New York. My mom is from Minnesota and my dad is from Connecticut. I’ve been told my personality is more similar to those of the Midwest than that of a ‘Long-Islander.’ I’m the middle child of 5, I majored in Communications and Studio Art in college, married the love of my life in 2006, worked at a ranch in Montana for a couple years, lived in Ithaca, New York for 3 years, and am father to a darling little girl named Kaia. Suzy and I arrived in Ecuador in December of 2012 after studying spanish in Costa Rica for 8 months. We live in Calacalí, the town where El Refugio is located, and love the pace and environment of the ‘country life.’
That’s about it. This picture was taken on Easter here at El Refugio after our sunrise service.
Welcome to the Hacienda El Refugio blog!