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6-15-2014 (Sunday)

Our day of travel.  I met Howard at 6:00 am and we loaded the luggage and made our way to Miami.  Our plans were to meet Jordan at the airport as he was flying from Charlotte, NC to Miami with arrival time around 11:30 am.  We wanted to allow plenty of time to travel in the car so we could be waiting on Jordan at the baggage claim area for his flight.  Our trip to Miami was easy and smooth with no traffic problems.  We stopped for breakfast on the way and stopped at a rest park as well and still made it to our parking area by 10 am.  We parked the car at the Embassy Suites Hotel where I had made parking reservations for the duration of our trip.  There we were able to take their shuttle to the airport and we were dropped off at the American Airlines terminal.  Jordan arrived on time and we met him at the baggage claim for his flight.

Our check in process for American went smoothly, even through security.  The security did not have us remove belts, shoes or even take out the laptops from our carry-on bags.  Once through security we then stopped for some lunch and then walked on to our gate and waited to board.  Our flight from Miami to Quito went smooth with a few bumps now and then.  The boarding was delayed about 15 minutes because the plane was too warm and the air conditioning needed to run to make the cabin comfortable.  We arrived in Quito a little ahead of schedule.

Arrival in Quito was at the new airport outside of the city.  Previously, the airport was in the middle of the city and this new facility was recently opened.  The buildings were modern and clean.  Howard, Jordan and I went through customs and we were waved right on through without even having our baggage x-rayed.  Howard was carrying tools for the tile project and I was carrying a suitcase full of medical supplies.  Jordan’s suitcase was full of toys for the kids.  We had all our personal things in our carry-ons.  We were surprised that we walked right through customs without any delay.  Once we walked through the door into the waiting area we met Jane and Damarys.

After some hugs we all walked to Jane’s car and then were on our way into Quito to the guest house for the night.  On our way we stopped at a large shopping mall to get some food at the food court and check to see if a grocery or pharmacy was open to obtain some personal supplies.  The stores were not open but we did have some food and then went on to the guesthouse for the night.

Tomorrow Jane will meet us about 9 am after we have breakfast at the guesthouse.  From there we will go to the hardware store to pick up some tools for the tile project and then head to San Lorenzo.  On our way we will stop in Ibarra to purchase groceries.

Thank You, Lord, for a safe and trouble-free day of travel.  You had control of this and we praise You for keeping Your hand upon us.  Thank You for the opportunity to come here and serve the people here.  Thank You for allowing Jordan to come along to participate in this work.  Thank You, Lord, for Your unfailing love and bountiful grace.  I praise Your name tonight, Lord.  Please keep our families safe and give them an extra measure of Your love.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen.

One of the ways I have learned to extract more meaning and growth from these mission trips is to keep focused on a theme related to my walk with Christ.  God so much wants to have a personal relationship with each one of us.  His heart yearns for our hearts and He wants to share life with each of us at every level of every day.  This requires agreement on our part to accept the invitation to walk with Him and share our lives with Him.  As I look at the word relationship and what it really means as I think of the relationship I have with my loving wife, Phyllis, and how much that means to me.  I think of the relationships I enjoy with my family and friends.  These relationships give so much meaning to life; in fact, I wonder what life would be like if I had none of these relationships.  Sometimes, we long to be alone, completely alone, yet that doesn’t last very long when the void of the special relationships becomes apparent.

Walking with God each day involves this relationship with Him, a deep, intimate, personal relationship.  One where we share every part of our day with Him.  One where we invite Him to occupy every corner of our heart.  It all starts with understanding what lengths God has gone to make that relationship possible.  He wants to include us into His circle, into His heart.  To do this we must be able to come to Him not covered in the filthy rags of sin that we all wear.  There is no way we can ever be presentable to Him.  However, He covered that part by the sacrifice He made of His Son, Jesus, who paid by His death on the cross for all of our sin.  We experience the relief of the penalty of sin when we place our trust and confidence in Christ.  Then as we walk with Christ every day, we experience growth in our faith and through this process we experience progressive release from the power of sin.  With Christ sin has no power over us.  The temptations are still there but now we have the armor of God and the power of God to help us avoid those temptations.  Ultimately, we will step into heaven at the time we die physically and then we will be renewed into the beings God intended us to be, free from the very presence of sin.  Imagine what it was like for Adam and Eve before they sinned.  They were not aware of sin.  They were free of the presence of sin.  Then things changed as the devil entered the picture.  But God brought a remedy through Jesus to redeem us from the effects of the Fall and allow us to once again live eternally free of the very presence of sin.  So, the relationship we have depends on our relief of the penalty of sin, our release from the power of sin and ultimately our renewal from the very presence of sin.

The next two weeks here I want to explore further what it means to walk with Christ and represent Him in the interactions I encounter each day.  I want to learn more about what it means to be Jesus to someone.  I don’t expect this to be easy but usually through these mission experiences I learn key elements important to my spiritual growth that I would not easily learn otherwise.  Let’s go on this journey together…

Father, thank You so much for Your incredible, unfailing, unconditional love!  You cover me with this all the time and I confess I at times don’t recognize that.  You lead me along life’s path as we walk together and at times that path is rugged and difficult and even scary.  Yet, Lord, You are there and even carrying me when needed.  I confess I don’t acknowledge that as much as I should.  I take You for granted, Lord, and that is not right.  I confess my sins to You, all of which start with me taking my focus off of You and allowing other thoughts and temptations to enter and take charge.  Lord, help me through Your Spirit to keep me focused on You.  I depend so much on the wisdom and discernment You give me.  Thank You, Lord, for Your patience and love as You assist me and challenge me so that I may continue to grow in our relationship.  Thank You, Father.  Amen.






1. Darcy Clawson - June 16, 2014

So Glad that the trip there went smooth and no hiccups! Miss you guys already! Darc

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