In Honor of Father’s Day, I’m sharing a story about the wonderful time I had with my Dad during my second visit to his native country of Ecuador! I pray you’ll enjoy reading about some of our adventures.
In July 2010, God made a way for me to go on a short-term missions trip to my Dad’s hometown in Ecuador. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would travel to Ecuador as a missionary! It was such a treat as the first week was focused on visiting humble communities in the Andes mountains at the altitudes of 11,000 feet above sea level.
The second week was devoted to visiting my large extended family and sight-seeing with my Dad.
It was during my second week that we traveled to the jungles of Ecuador and got to take a speed boat ride on the Ecuadorian part of the Amazon. It was quite an adventure for my Dad and I. My cousin Byron and his sister and her husband and their daughter joined us on the trip.
That evening when we returned to the town named Misawaji where we were staying, we were celebrating my cousin’s husband’s birthday at a restaurant and we had one rather chunky, white candle for him to blow out. After the celebration, I distinctly remember my cousin Byron asking what he should do with the candle and my Dad telling him that he should hang onto it “just in case” so he put it in his pocket and we all soon called it a night. The next day we drove some four hours to the tourist town of Baños which is known for its thermal springs and beautiful waterfalls.
I had been there briefly in 2003, but this time my family was determined to take me to the waterfall called El Pailón del Diablo or the Devil’s Cauldron. I didn’t like the name, but I like waterfalls so the six of us set off on our journey even though it was already close to dusk. So we’re walking and talking and taking photos and enjoying the smaller waterfalls along the way. I think it had been raining the day before, so we’re slowly descending down slippery, stone steps and also walking under a canopy of trees in the middle of basically a forest. I don’t think any of us knew how far we would have to walk, but despite the fact that it was getting darker and darker we were determined to get a glimpse of this famous waterfall.
By the time we reached our destination, the official walkway to view the waterfall was closed so we had to take an alternate route which to my horror meant that to view the waterfall we would have to step onto a narrow, wooden bridge that I can only describe as the bridge from the “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” movie. Just imagine crossing the bridge pictured below except the bridge I’m referring to was much higher and it was night! (To view other people’s pictures of the actual site, click here).
My cousin and my Dad just about ran over the bridge. I, on the other hand, froze for a moment as it was pitch dark by now and all I could hear was the sound of the rushing water beneath us and all around us. But I had come too far to turn back, so I said a prayer and basically said,”Ok Lord, I trust you. I’m in your hands.” With that I breathed, stepped onto the rickety bridge and was escorted to the middle so I could see the waterfall. I really couldn’t see much because it was so dark but that was just fine as for me the victory was having the courage to just stand on that bridge! Of course, the adventure didn’t stop there.
Now we had to climb back up the path in the dark!
This is where the spiritual applications started coming to me. There we were, the 6 of us stranded in a forest at night with no real plan. And then by the grace of God, my cousin Byron remembered the birthday candle and the matches in his pants pocket! God knew we would need them for this trip! So with Byron in the lead with the candle in hand, we all stayed close so we could see where we were going. Suddenly all these Bible verses started coming to life for me like, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Yes, for when I trailed too far behind my cousin Byron, I couldn’t see where I was going. I had to stay near the light! No matter if I couldn’t see anything else around me. I had to focus on the light!
I was also reminded that we are called to be the light of the world! During that journey, I saw the great impact that just one shining light has in a dark place! We didn’t have a big torch or a spotlight with us. For most of that trip, all we had was that one candle and that’s all we needed! God wants us to shine that brightly so that the lost will find their way to the One True Light which is Jesus! (John 8:12)
So while I probably wouldn’t make that trip near dusk ever again, I am so grateful for the truths that God showed me that day. Let’s all remember to let the light of Christ shine through us!
If you enjoyed reading about these adventures, feel free to leave a comment below!