NORTH PARK BAPTIST TEAM GOES TO ECUADOR
One team member shares reflections on the work.

By John Gibson

Here is an excerpt of a typical day on a Happy Feet trip:

"We left again very early; headed on what we were told would be a "two hour trip" into the mountains. Two hours turned into four hours (again), but we ended up in a village that none of us can even recall the name.
We were greeted by children who ran behind the bus for the last mile until we reached our destination. We encouraged their running by yelling out the windows, "Rapido" (faster). This seemed to excite the playfulness within their extremely hard lives.

Once at the village, everyone seemed to line up around the outskirts and completely opened up their village to us. It was like the parting of the Red Sea - they just opened up everything to us. The children were great
- they gathered around us to play, take pictures, climb trees, and just seemed to want to do anything to garnish our attention. We set up shop in a one room home, which was again made from compressed mud and a few cinder blocks. We were initially expecting approximately 125 children, but as we began to organize our efforts, we realized that we would be dealing with at least 300 children again. Although we did not plan this trip with this many shoeless feet in mind, we all knew that this was a good problem to have.

We dove right in, and began washing feet and putting on new shoes. The children were as playful and happy in the chair as they were when we arrived. We laughed and played with the children, and Bill again had the opportunity with a very large group of adults and children. Many people accepted Christ as their savior - our best guess is about 250 souls added to the kingdom today.

We learned that reading a Spanish bible is MUCH harder than reading our English versions. We had to have our interpreter, Hugo, come and help re-read John 3:16 to a small group of children so that they would understand what we were saying.

There were several kids that touched our hearts on this day, children that we wanted to stuff inside our shoe bags and try to bring home with us, but Bill goes around each day before we load the bags on the vans and kicks each one to make sure the bags don't move or scream."