What I learned about fear – Ecuador, Part 1

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This is part 1 of a 6-part blog on our 2 weeks in Ecuador this summer… I would love for you to take this journey with me through this blog 🙂

I am pretty much afraid of everything. Water, heights, the dark, deer, owls – you name it, I have some level of fear of it.

So making a move from my safe, comfy home in Barboursville, WV, for two weeks in Ecuador, brought with it an entirely new list of things to fear – forgetting our passports and missing the trip, flying, spearing, malaria, being detained in Ecuador, kidnappings, the bus driving off the side of the mountain,  natural disasters, etc.

Our flight was from Charleston, W.Va., to Atlanta, which took less than an hour. Not scary. I was proud of myself. Then after a 9-hour layover, the fears came flooding in.

Noah, waiting to board the plane in

Charleston

Occupying ourselves during the layover 🙂

At the last second there were “mechanical problems” that were fixed in 5 minutes. (Does that mean it was a tiny problem, or did they do a not-so-thorough job at fixing whatever problem it was?) Then we had problems with our boarding passes, and literally had them thrown to us to get us on the plane as quickly as possible. Being the last ones on, everyone else was happily seated and buckled in, while we were scurrying around the plane searching for carry-on space.

Then came a good hour of flying, with the sun setting and glowing all pretty, and all of a sudden, turbulence and the blackest, meanest clouds I’ve ever seen up close, and several hours of flying left to be done.

I was rather confident I wasn’t going to make it out alive, and began praying pretty hard and preparing to meet Jesus in person. Somehow during that time, God brought me peace.

 
Our group after arriving in Quito, Ecuador…

we were so tired

All these other things I had been afraid of before didn’t make me panic after that. We landed in Quito and took a 2-hour bus ride to the city of Ibarra, and stayed there for a week. I had peace and enjoyed each minute.

Then we took a 5-hour bus ride to the city of Ambato. A couple days into that city, we were awakened early to the sounds of loud, angry Spanish-speaking voices in the lobby of our hotel. That was followed by the sounds of banging and glass breaking. Then silence.

Fear came rushing back. I honestly don’t know if I have ever felt that scared in my life. Not knowing what the voices were angry about, and not knowing that the glass was just the porcelain basins of the lobby water jugs rather than the glass walls and windows, compounded with not knowing how to call the police – I was a mess. Crying and praying hard.

Some of our group helping to clean the

hotel lobby after the scuffle

Turns out, it was a scuffle in the lobby between a hotel guest’s drunk friend and the owner of the hotel, not a group of mafia-style men out to get all American Christians staying in the hotel (as my 5 a.m. mind led me to believe).

I know I have blogged many times about fear. And I like to think that one day I will have it all mastered and will not need to keep learning lessons about this, but until then, hopefully someone else can be learning along with me.

Fear keeps sneaking in. But God gently reminded me, again, that when I am afraid, I am not trusting Him.

Whether it’s about our safety, or my fear of not making a difference while on the trip, if I truly believe God is who He says He is, I won’t be afraid. I have no reason to.

God is big, powerful, limitless, loving, and because of this, I can’t fear.

Do I trust Him? Do I believe that whatever happens, God will use it for His glory? Yes. Ultimately when I think it through, that is what I want – His glory.

While a perfect flight, health and a great trip sound wonderful, God’s glory and His plan are what matter most.

Even if difficult things in life happen (malaria, lost luggage), I don’t need to fear, because I am never alone.

God reminded me that His sovereign will is what will happen on the trip, and that is what I wanted and needed to hear. Thanking Him for His peace

Psalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.

 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.”

8/10/2014

About Jen Chapman

She is a wife to Shawn for 19 years and counting, and a mom to Noah, and together they live out their story in their tiny town of Barboursville, WV. She is a freelance writer and a blogger at girlmeetsgrace.com. She has a slightly dangerous addiction to cheese and a love of all things pink, and has no fewer than three books with her at any given time. She has seen God’s grace redeem her big-time and wants everyone to know it and experience it for themselves. She wants more than anything to give praise and honor to Jesus, and point people to Him.

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