Putting talents together

I’ve always dreamed of being in the Amazon jungle/rainforest, but I never imagined I would work with a team that makes an impact in it. Bringing everyones’ gifts, skills, and passions together is among the most fruitful things I have ever seen. This trip is allowing us to make connections to how we can participate in God’s mission both domestically and cross-culturally. Students in our group are seeing hands-on evidence that no matter your job or field of study, there’s a place for you in God’s mission.

Some of our team members took a semester long class and developed a business for Jungle Kids for Christ that supports their school and Ecuadorian community. Since College of the Ozarks returns to MisahuallĂ­ every year, this allows us to build and develop an ongoing project that keeps giving. The best thing is seeing how God is using everyone’s talents and backgrounds for the project to come to fruition. How Lindon’s business class is coming together, how they turn to the media team to make it successful, and the agriculture crew harvesting the tea and caring for the farm that make it all possible. Then, using Keaton for the engineering aspect to take all of the ideas and make sure they are physically attainable.

Making progress

We all went to the farm to work in the rain yesterday. We later split into groups and the agriculture crew – Tammy, Mark, Keaton, Dalton, Madi, Mikaila, and Nate – helped harvest Guayusa leaves, measured and marked where they can put the aquaculture ponds, and tore down a chicken house to be moved. Meanwhile, the business/media team – Curt, Lindon, Kressa, and Josiah – shot footage for a Kickstarter video for the Guayusa project. Everyone returned soaking wet and excited about the progress we had made. Some of us also went to Antioch school to speak with older students about the application process for College of the Ozarks, since some of them are interested in applying. After a long day of work, we went on a sunset boat ride on the Napo river, returning to our hostel afterward for a delicious dinner prepared and served by the kind Ecuadorian ladies on staff.

Evening debrief

“What is something good you saw in one of your team members today?”

I saw Patricio’s (the farm manager) patience today, along with his openness and willingness to hear what we had to say. We had to readjust the measurements for the pond multiple times and through the language barrier he didn’t show any frustration with us. He did the next thing to solve the problem. And in the midst of that it was pouring rain.
-Nate Moss

While we were preparing the tea leaves to dry today, I was blown away by how much passion and knowledge Mikaila has about agriculture. She adds a lot to the team. Also, I’ve noticed that while Josiah likes to be goofy, have fun and talk a lot, he also likes to listen. When he gets quiet, he’s observing and learning from others. That’s incredibly valuble.

-Kressa Phillips

Written by Kressa Phillips and Keaton Reich

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