The mountain region of Ecuador sits about 9,000 feet above sea level, which makes it about 8,980 feet higher up than Daufuskie Island. Even though it is on the equator, the weather right now fluctuates between lows in the upper 40’s to highs in the low 60’s, which is definitely a bit different from the heat of a Lowcountry summer. The language is different, the food is different, the culture is different. Outwardly, there are many differences between Daufuskie Island and Ecuador, and the people that call each place home.
Some of us have ventured into the Southern Hemisphere, to the Andes Mountains, to serve on a medical mission trip with our mission partner Jeremiah 38 Ministries to villages around Riobamba, Ecuador. The doctors and medical staff diagnose and prescribe and provide medications to people who rarely get medical care. I like to think that I have the best job on these trips, because I get to talk with people about their lives and find out how I can pray with them. It is during these times that I am reminded about how similar we are. All of the outward differences melt away as the same concerns come up again and again.
These precious people want prayers for their family, for their children, for their spouses, and for their parents. They want prayers for good health and strength, so that they can continue with the next day with a little less pain and a little more energy. They are concerned about their personal finances and their ability to provide for their families. Some have very strong faith, some have wavering faith, and some have no faith, but they all appreciate having someone in front of them who cares enough to want to pray for them.
Earlier this summer, I was blessed to be part of another team from Jeremiah 38 Ministries that ventured to Honduras, and I encountered the same concerns and prayer requests. It makes me think that if I were to go on more medical mission trips to other countries and talk and pray with the people in those countries, I would find those same concerns throughout the world. Perhaps they wouldn’t be exactly the same in every country, but I suspect that for the majority of the people on this planet, we are united by the sorts of things that we are most concerned about.
There seems to be so much division right now, in the United States and throughout the world. Yet time after time, when I connect with people, I find that there is so much that we have in common. I don’t want to suggest that there aren’t things that set us apart from one another, and I don’t want to suggest that some of those differences aren’t major, but my experience has been that those things that we have in common should be far more important to us than the things that divide us.
Perhaps we will relate to one another better if we can remember that the people that we seem to be at odds with share the same concerns for their families and themselves that we do. Perhaps if we start with those common points, the differences won’t seem so significant anymore.
Peace and blessings from Ecuador – Pastor Aaron
Written August 9, 2018