Wednesday, March 1

Ecuador Encounters 5

Dear Friends and Family,


The great the bad and the horrible. That would about describe the celebration of Carnival that concludes in a dramatic climax today down here in Ecuador and throughout many other SA countries. For many it is a time to let it all hang out: to let loose with immorality, revelry, and drunkenness. That is the horrible.


Throwing water and anything else that is handy on anyone in reach is also apart of Carnival. It often matters little who you are or where you go: you're liable to get hit. A trip to the market and I got two balloons from out of nowhere (I was almost disappointed I didn't get more). Driving down the road you have to watch it in every town you pass. If there is a window open it is a perfect invitation for a wetting. Involved in a conversation with someone in the backseat I failed to notice a group of water-throwers quick enough to get my window up. SPLASH! I learned my lesson: if you are feeling a bit hot just leave your window down! J That's the bad part of Carnival.


The great part is what the church has done with the celebration. Every year the church uses the vacation to have a spiritual time of refreshment at a local camp here. I was asked to help out someone else from the church who was working with the kids. Following the theme of being lights in the world (Eph. 5:8-10) I helped out with making real lamps from clay, teaching two songs on light as well as a bible verse. Being able to challenge kids to be a light in their house and school? Now that truly is great.


Of course we had our own time set aside for a bit of water-throwing, river-dunking at the camp as well. Of course the kids and adolescents (Yeah, me too) were all gung-ho for the deal, but what is even more hilarious is how some of the parents get into it. "Come on Andres, soak her well" I heard one of the parents say. Out of water? "Come on kids lets head to the river!" If you didn't want to get wet (or cornstarch in your hair) you'd better stick to your dorm room, or make it VERY clear you weren't playing. Even the Pastor wasn't safe.


But the greatest part was testimonies of many there who could testify to the work the Lord has done and continues to do during these times of Carnival. I missed many of the seminars due to my work with the children, but singing around the campfire late Sunday nite stands out as a highlight for me of the experience. In an intermixing of songs and testimony much of which was recounting what the Lord has done over the years thru this time, the "great" of Carnival was there in it all.


God's Servant,


Lucas Pillman


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