I went to Ecuador in 2014.
When I heard that Ecuador was where I would be going to go on this mission trip, I had to look it up on
the map. I’d never heard of it before, or given it a second thought.
Most of you can probably relate to this.
I don’t speak fluent Spanish or know as much as I could about the history and culture, but I have an advantage over anyone that has only read about the country in headlines: I’ve hugged the necks of some of Ecuador’s beautiful people. I’ve prayed with them. We’ve sang songs of praise together.
I’ve played soccer with the kids at school. I’ve cried under a palm tree. I’ve climbed Las Peñas, and I’ve spent a Saturday walking through a banana plantation. I’ve experienced church services that have changed the way I view Christ’s church entirely. It’s a colorful, beautiful place. I may have only been to Ecuador for a short time, but I fell in love when I didn’t think another country could ever steal my heart again.
On Saturday night, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 shook this land and has killed hundreds of people, while injuring countless others physically and emotionally.
President Rafael Correa recently said, “The immediate priority is to rescue people in the rubble. Everything can be rebuilt, but lives cannot be recovered, and that’s what hurts the most.”
Right now, Ecuador is trending. Just like other countries when tragedy strikes, everyone says they are praying. This, if they truly are praying, is an incredible movement. It is a way to bring everyone that live miles apart, who argue on the daily about their opinions online, to gather together in unison for a common cause. But I want to challenge you from this point forward: don’t hashtag your prayers unless you’ve lifted those people up in the light first.
Remember that even if you have to look that country up on the map, there are real people with real families and with real emotions. There are quiet homes and bustling capital cities and devout churches residing there, and it is just as important as our corner of the map. They are worth more than fleeting thoughts after you press “Retweet”. Use a hashtag to spread a movement that is outside of yourself, not to coat your feed with chatty charity that isn’t fueled by love.