CYPRESS AVENUE TEAM GOES TO ECUADOR
Two team members share reflections on the work.

By Joyce Griffin

Just wander back into your mind and envision this…

A child sitting across from you unable to speak due to language differences and too young or shy to articulate. He is “in your hand” and WATCH he trusts you. You can wash his feet; apply lotion to his toes; put on the socks and shoes. He will hug you. There he goes walking away with a lollipop in his mouth.

A team member is sitting there bent over for hours without any pain or need to change the position. She is there to minister to a child. She hugs them, rubs their legs, powders their shoes and kisses them goodbye. It is just the dream of GETTING MY HANDS ON THEM!!! She knows he does not know her and likely will never see her again. But she is giving him the love gift of presence. She just may see him one day in heaven. Today he is her brother in Christ.

Watch the tall, large, bald headed man with the gift of joy. Watch him speak to the children. Watch him sit at the soup kitchen table. Listen to him speak of his “daily note from his wife as she shares him with this ministry more than she has him at home each year. He is the best foot washer of all the team and we know it.

Did you see the gentle unassuming lady with the courage to take her gift of creativity and learn to cook? She took the gift of cooking and made a soup kitchen. She collects her “shoes” in her sauna and has enlarged the Happy Feet project to an international status...AND she invites us into their home for elegant meals, lodging, and makes us feel special.
Have you ever watched a group of young men forget their swagger? Did you see them forego their costumes of the age, throw away their hair dryers, and speak earnestly in their devotions? Did you see the guitar being renewed, the pictures being hung, the “old” folks protected? (HA)

We are those people, and we are the Cypress 12.

   


There's No Reflection in Dirty Water
by Cary Duckett

While in Ecuador, one of the most fulfilling duties I had was to empty the pans of water that was used to wash children's feet. It was not a glamorous job, but it was a needed job. People looked at me interestingly when I volunteered for this duty. T heir faces seemed to be asking, "Why would the Senior Pastor volunteer to empty the dirty, smelly water? Why didn't he volunteer to share the Gospel with the parents and children? Why didn't he volunteer to wash feet or measure feet or get the shoes? Why doesn't he just stand around and look pastorly and take a few pictures?" The answer to these questions are found in the heart of being a pastor and it is very difficult to communicate. I'm not sure I can write it down.

I cannot fully explain the reasons why I wanted to dump water nor can I fully distinguish those reasons one from another. A majestic rainbow is made of distinct colors, but I could not specifically point out where red stops and violet begins. Explaining the motivations behind this action would be like trying to explain where the colors separate.

 I guess I wanted to see the other members of the team have the opportunity to engage with the people. I wanted to see them being used by God. I wanted to see Christ coming out of them. I wanted them to experience the thrill of God doing something special through them. I wanted them to realize that God doesn't just use the professional minister (I know the team probably already knew this in their heads, but I wanted them to experience it in their hearts). I wanted them to come back home knowing in their heart that they had seen God around them, in them and coming out of them. Dumping the water seemed to me to provide the best view of witnessing the miracles mentioned above.

 Little did I know just how much God would speak to me as I discarded dirty water. Not only did I get to see Him through the members of our team, but I also received indescribable joy as I served Him and the team members. What a blessing it was to serve in Ecuador--to be a part of a team that God used.