After some grumbling, we were off. Our trip took us through our valle to the other side of the second range of the Andes, just beyond on the other side - Antisana. It wound us around the rural town of Yurag where we will conduct VBS with future teams and a site where we have ministry partners. We passed beautiful vistas, roads with no guardrails and multiple unnamed sport fishing locations full of mountain rainbow trout. As we began to climb the vegetation became shorter, the sun stronger, the air colder, the oxygen thinner and looking down I noticed the tank emptier. Mistakenly, I forgot to tank up and was on 1/8 tank. We were stopped at the entrance of the park and given instruction by the ranger - stay on and stick to the roads. The land was privately owned and full of cattle and gorgeous fields of verdant green crops. We broke the rules by getting out, exploring the creeks and a farmhouse and trying to catch trout by hand. We finally made it to the top but were unable to reach the snow due to our gas situation and lack of planning (need permission? tickets?), not quite sure. We quickly took pictures and began the long 'coast' downhill saving gas on the 8,000 foot high decent. A few simple things occurred to me on the trip down.........
How often I repeat the same patterns over and over. Wanting to see something so far off or reach the peak, I fail to be truly prepared for the trip or bringing what I need to sustain us. Or, not following simple instructions like sticking to the road given us (the direction is for our good, not bad - why do we always interpret it as the latter).
Since school started, we have lived two distinctly different lives. One on and around the AAI campus and one here in the Los Chillos Valle. Many things are different between the two: the people, traffic and driving patterns, abruptness, socioeconomic status, education levels and time sensitivity to name a few. Ann, I and the kids have had to cross over that bridge daily which takes patience and agility. Five miles and a ridgeline makes a huge difference (just think Mountain Brook and downtown Birmingham). It can make you weary, tiresome and at each others throats. I realize we can't do what we need to do, be who we need to be or go where we need to go without HIM leading the way. Please pray for us in this time. It's hard to know what altitude we sit, whether we are on a mountain or in a valley. Are we in need of oxygen or as parents, spiritual leaders and partners are we allowing God to work through us? I do know that we need to continue to 'fill our tanks', trust in HIS watchship by not trying to 'fix' things and look to the ONE who made it all......
I look up to the mountains-
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watcher over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.