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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Blessed in work

Every time we have gone to do some extra work project for a church we feel blessed. It is good to serve others. There's something deep within our human framework, authored by God, that makes us servants at heart, like our God.

Today five of us went to El Refugio to help clean up after their mud race Todo Lodo. We took down the signs for the obstacles and had a great time walking around the stunningly gorgeous mountain property, smelling the smells, and reliving the memories.

I got word soon after returning to the hotel that Rachel's group, including roughly the first half of the students, is back at CAMP-of-the-WOODS! I am so thankful to God for bringing them home safely.

Tonight, the second half of us leave Ecuador. Many lessons. Much love. A big God.

That's how I feel.

Tomorrow evening around dinner time, we will return to CAMP-of-the-WOODS and this journey will be complete. I feel tears of joy and sadness thinking about how wonderful our God is, how he calls us to love and serve others, and how we learn these lessons, if we simply open our ears and obey him.

Gloria a Dios!

-Tyler Nelson

Monday, April 10, 2017

We are on the way home, generally.

Tonight 10 of us will be heading back to the States. Tomorrow night 15 of us will be doing the same.

Today 10 of us went back to the church at Carmen Bajo and did some work, moving dirt again, especially digging two large holes in the dirt floor for a very large cement footing for new construction. We also got to see the "project," the tour of which showed how far the church has come since the missionaries from Canada and then Pastor Fabian came to that area. There is an extensive Compassion International program there with over 300 kids! Also, a really neat school building with amazing views of Quito, because the project is high up on a hill. We pray that the light of Christ will shine from the work that God is doing there through that church, called Alliance Carmen Bajo.

Yesterday evening three students headed back. This morning very early three more students headed back. They will be staying in a hotel that I already arranged near JFK for one night, waiting for tonight's wave to arrive in JFK tomorrow and take the first group back to CAMP-of-the-WOODS.

Tomorrow night's crew is the second full wave of students that will be driving back to CAMP-of-the-WOODS with me.

This morning, Lynsey Meissner shared a truly great Life Together session, in which one element was playing a song by Keith Green. The lyrics included this, paraphrased: "Jesus Christ came and rose from the dead. Why can't you even get out of bed?" It was convicting. Do we really want to sit in our beds and relax? How many people out there are drowning, dying, lost?

As for us and this LIFT program, we will serve the Lord. We are grateful for the opportunities we have had to serve the church here in Quito while delayed by Delta for almost a week. We feel truly blessed.

Thank you for your prayers.

-Tyler Nelson
LIFT Associate Director

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Dearest prayer supporters,

After contacting our ministry partner El Refugio and getting in contact with their parent organization Youth World (Mundo Juvenil), we made contact with Daniela Pojmaevich, the director of short term teams for Youth World. She put us in contact with a church in Carmen Bajo, one of the poorest regions in Quito. Yesterday (Saturday), we spent the day doing work projects for the church, including moving dirt, moving bricks, and digging holes for large cement footings. In the afternoon, we heard the story of the church, of Pastor Fabian, and were part of a youth service. We were very blessed to be able to help out and to be a part of what God is calling us to do here with our mission trip extension.

Today we attended an English speaking church (English Fellowship Church) or a Spanish speaking church (Dios Es Fiel). We met the US Ambassador to Ecuador at the EFC and have set up dinner plans with him. I have no idea what is going to happen with our meeting with ambassador, but it's at least an opportunity to spread Christian fellowship. He's a Christian, it seems.

Tomorrow, the current plan is classes, followed by the first departure of some of our students.

We have students leaving M, T, and W nights, which means they arrive at COTW on T, W, and R in the evenings. My first goal was to get all the students with actual seat bookings. That has been met. My second goal is now to make some important seat switches and move all the W departures to M or T. I am calling many different numbers to try and make this happen.

Your prayers are appreciated. Attitudes, peace, trust, opportunities, and safety are all things we hope to have through prayer.

If you have any questions, email me at TylerN@COTW.org.

-Tyler Nelson
LIFT Associate Director
(This post was written on Friday, April 7 and is now being posted on Sunday, April 9. We will post another update later this Sunday.)

Hello family, friends, and fellow prayer warriors, 

This is Rachel Nelson updating from room 301 of the Quito luxury Sheraton hotel. This experience is almost otherworldly.

We are currently still in Ecuador as an entire group for two more days. Tyler and I have been in frequent contact with our advocate at Delta, Alexandra. Our most recent communication has five of us returning on Monday night, 14 of us returning on Tuesday night, and 9 of us returning on Wednesday night (which means we return to CAMP-of-the-WOODS on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights). This is an improvement from the last 9 of us not even having a booking. Tyler, I, and Alexandra are all trying to do our best to get as many of us leaving as soon as possible. 

Alexandra's most recent email at 9:30 on Friday (1 hour ago) even said this in response to our pushing for earlier departures: "I really recommend you to keep your currency itinerary, because tonight our flight is cancel again and we don’t have any more available spaces. We really apologize for the bad news and if we have any update we will inform you."

This experience is really teaching all of us to rely on the Lord and trust in his plan and provision. This is not what most of us would have chosen for ourselves but we are trying to follow Paul's commands from Colossians 4... "2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity."

We had a Sabbath yesterday (Thursday) while waiting to hear from the airline and people were able to explore the neighborhood. It is a very nice neighborhood with lots of shops, a fancy mall, and a large park with lots of sports facilities.  

We began today (Friday) with a Life Together session lead by Alexi Demopoulos. He focused on Ephesians 2:10: For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

At 10:00 am (Friday) we embarked on a Quito city tour courtesy of Delta. We visited the Quito Basilica, climbed up a tall tower, and walked through Quito's old city. This evening we had a class on Martin Luther and Bible translation in the suite where Tyler and I are staying.

Tomorrow (Saturday) we are going to be working with another Compassion International program (our first was while we were in Oyacachi). The church that hosts the Compassion program is in the process of expanding, so we will be helping with construction there in the afternoon.

We appreciate your prayers and covet more prayers for good attitudes, for God to continue to work through us in Ecuador, and for a safe and speedy return home. - Rachel Nelson

Friday, April 7, 2017


The Atlanta weather on Wednesday night caused issues for many flights, as Atlanta is Delta's hub. On the Quito side, Delta is struggling to rebook all the passengers from their Wednesday evening flight to upcoming flights, which were already oversold. Delta's current information is that they will be putting us (group of 29) on two flights: Monday and Tuesday. This means we would arrive back at CAMP-of-the-WOODS on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.



Also, Delta will pay for all of our hotel rooms at the Sheraton in downtown Quito and all of our meals at their restaurant, and it's really good food. Delta even offered to schedule a city tour of Quito for us.



I met with the students last night (Thursday night at 6 pm) and informed them all. We are meeting again this morning for breakfast at 8, then Life Together, which is Bible reading, prayer, and singing. After this, we may have a city tour booked for this morning. This evening, I will teach a class on Martin Luther and Bible translation, followed by dinner, and a group trip to the nearby sports field to play some Ecua-volley and soccer while doing some evangelism with the young people we find there.



I will keep you updated with the most current information.



Due to events in the Trezise family, Tim flew home early this morning and should arrive in Speculator late this afternoon.



TylerN@COTW.org is my email, and I am checking it. Please let me know if you have any further questions.



-Tyler Nelson

LIFT Associate Director


Thursday, April 6, 2017

DELAYED in Quito

DELAYED in Quito
Kate Trezise

Due to severe weather in Atlanta,  LIFT 37 spent the night in a comfortable hotel near the Quito airport last evening.  While thankful for good rest, they're prayerfully waiting news from Delta Airlines regarding a rescheduled flight.  There is one daily Delta flight (11:30 PM) from Quito to the United States, and it flies through Atlanta (so no re-routing is possible.)  If weather permits, the group will board this evening and return to Speculator by dinner-time on Friday.

Unfortunately, stomach/intestinal maladies have hit some group members.  Please pray for relief and that contagion will not occur among the group.

Thanks for your prayers and support!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Rocks and Reflection

LIFT 37 Ecuador Mission Trip - Blog Post #6

Seth Brown
The climb to the summit of Sincholagua prompts comparison to our lives. There are many similarities- arduous sections of steep ascent, necessary teamwork to succeed, times of rest to recuperate and take in the gorgeous Ecuadorian landscape, and times of clouded vision and uncertainty as you search for the next cairn to guide your way. As we heard very early on in this semester- life is a marathon, not a sprint. This trip has taught each of us numerous lessons in trust, in love, and in endurance. We are told in Hebrews to “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2). Ecuador has been an amazing segment of our race, but in many ways it has also been a spiritual pit stop to refuel and reenergize! Please remember us in your prayers as we prepare to depart, but more importantly pray for God’s blessing on the work He did through us here in Ecuador, and that we may absorb and put into practice all we have learned and seen.

Philippe Blais
Our tents are drying out on the grass underneath a beautiful Ecuadorian sun, here at El Refugio, because we just came back from climbing Mount Sincholagua (16,000 feet). This inactive but mean looking old volcano had us work hard. We hiked the first part in the dark through farm land (some of us started hiking at 4 a.m.) then through a rocky ridge. After the ridge the terrain became all rock and ash mixed together. Sometimes we had to climb some pretty steep rock faces.  A little bit past midway up the mountain the wind was quite strong and we had to layer up quite a bit. So we took out our goggles and our gloves and kept hiking. The view, before we got in the clouds, was absolutely breath taking. The lush green and hilly peaks all below with Cotopaxi, Ecuador’s most iconic volcano, standing out in the distance gave us all a feeling of awe mixed with an impression of being in a scene of Lord of the Rings in the land of Mordor. At the summit, Tim lead-climbed a 60-foot pitch and set up the anchors. We followed up the rope and reached the top:  a flat round space not bigger than 15 feet on the edge of a 1,000 foot drop! So we attached ourselves on another safety line and felt a little better. Rappelling over 100 feet from the pinnacle to where we had left our packs below was also quite a thrill. All 6 climbing teams made it safely to the summit and back to camp, averaging 10-11 hours.  Only a few students could not complete the climb due to illness, injury or fitness.

A Psalm that comes to my mind when I think back on this adventure is Psalm 148:
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Lightning and hail, snow and fog;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His orders;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted and supreme;
His glory and majesty are above earth and heaven.

Dante Immordino

After an incredible experience in Ecuador, we are leaving El Refugio for Camp-of-the-Woods tonight at 7 pm. We should be back in Speculator tomorrow around dinner time. We have had beautiful weather the past few days and this morning we will have a time of reflection and prayer as we debrief our entire trip. God has definitely taught us a lot about His faithfulness, goodness, and love through our time in El Refugio, El Chaco, Oyacachi, and on Sincholagua. We have seen Him move in our hearts and the hearts of the people here. It has truly been a blessing to serve here in Ecuador with such amazing people.

In a few weeks we will be having a forum on our time in Ecuador to share more details, videos and tastes of Ecuador.  It will be Wednesday, April 25th at 7:00 pm in the Buirkle Center at CAMP-of-the-WOODS.   All are welcome to attend.