Joy Amongst the Hurt

As we begin to reflect on the first half of our journey in Ecuador, the many experiences have formed complete thoughts. One of the things we have done several times is visit a community that lives across from a local dump. The families originally lived inside of the dump, but recently got kicked out. Now, many of the families struggle to make a living, as it is illegal to sift through the trash to sell. Many of the fathers have resorted to stealing or smuggling trash illegally. On top of this obstacle, these families were also a part of the devastating earthquake last year.

Walking into the group of tattered shacks was heart breaking. The poverty of these people and the pain they have endured is visibly evident.

In this place of brokenness, where teens cannot spell their own names and many children are fatherless, there is still an overwhelming sense of Jesus.

To these people, shouting songs about Jesus with strangers and playing duck duck goose is what God looks like. This blissful atmosphere is contagious and so easy to elicit from the children; it’s hard to describe as anything but pure joy. You can tell by the huge smiles and hugs that they have been kept safe by the hand of God. The events of sorrow have not separated them from the Holy Spirit, but have pushed them closer to Him. Despite how much pain they have experienced in their young lives, Jesus has prevailed.

One day in VBS, we sang “I got the joy, joy, joy, joy in my heart” in Spanish, and it truly embodied the things I was seeing. It was incredibly humbling to see that despite the circumstances, these people had joy. In psalms 30:5,11 it says,

The weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning… You turned my mourning into joyful dancing, you have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.

Almost word for word, the Bible describes how I was feeling, which just goes to show, once again, the power of God. Those verses truly rang in my heart when I saw the children’s continuous happiness, showing how in a place where love is passive, God’s tangible love covers all. Sammy, Maria, Danielle, Alexa, Jorge and so many others impacted me so much. I pray so so hard that one day I can see you walk stronger and stronger in your faith. Never stop fearlessly screaming the name of Jesus.


– Carissa Taylor

More Articles in This Topic