When I was nine years old, Cameron and Roberto Vivanco came to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church one Sunday. This was while my mom was the assistant priest, so I was at church all morning every Sunday. For a few months, my brother, sister, and I went to both the 8 AM service and the 10:30 service because we weren’t trusted to stay in our mom’s office without fighting. At the 8 AM service I heard Cameron speak, and was in awe of the work she talked about. At the 10:30 service I once again listened in awe. As I left the service that day I grabbed a bracelet from a basket. A red, blue, and yellow bracelet, with the word Ecuador written in white. I have worn a similar bracelet every day since I was 9. After the 10:30 service that day my mom, siblings, and I took Cameron and Roberto out to lunch. I remember Cameron telling my mom that she should come see her in Ecuador sometime, I piped in that I wanted to go. Cameron said that we should both come. I never forgot that.
When I was sixteen I made it to Ecuador. I traveled with people who were almost strangers the day we left, but felt like family by the time we returned. I was one of about 25 people representing Province IV of the Episcopal Church’s youth ministries. I loved everything about this trip. I loved the easy parts and the hard parts. The easy parts were forming relationships with my travel group and the wonderful people of Buen Pastor. Other easy things were eating the delicious food and worshiping in another language because it was so obvious that the Holy Spirit was there. The hard parts were having the courage to use my two years of high school Spanish to communicate, the bravery to climb the tiny turnaround staircases to the top of the Basilica, cleaning and painting the shelter/room of a special needs man, and of course saying goodbye.
When I was seventeen I returned to Ecuador. This experience was different. This time I travelled with my mom, sister, and people that I had known for almost my whole life. This was the trip before my senior year of high school, when I was starting to think about schools and majors. This trip we worked with the church of Cristo Liberador. Once again, I loved everything about the trip, the easy things and the hard things. This is when I knew that I wanted to spend a whole summer in Ecuador, and even wrote a letter to Cameron saying that I would be back.
This brings us to the present. For those of you that don’t know, after I graduated high school I worked at Camp Gravatt for two summers and also started attending Clemson University. Right now I am half way through my sophomore year and studying Spanish and International Health with an emphasis in Community Development.
After spring semester, on the day after my 20th birthday, I will fly to Quito, Ecuador and spend the summer being a Team Host for Youth World. A Team Host means that a partner and I will receive the teams who are coming for short term mission in Ecuador. I will be their leader, tour guide, translator of sorts, and lead debriefs and things similar to this. Words cannot explain how excited I am to have this experience. I have been officially preparing for this since October, and have prayed a lot about it, and also been working on my Spanish even more than what my major calls for. To make it through this summer I will need support. Both in prayer and financially. I ask everyone that reads this blog to consider supporting me in these ways.
To support me in prayer:
Pray for wisdom, strength, courage, safety, patience, knowledge
Here are a few prayers from the good old Book of Common Prayer
For Social Service
Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served but to serve: Bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom, patience, and courage, they may minister in his Name to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel, in particular your servant Lillian; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey’s end; through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen
To support me financially:
Prayerfully consider how much you are willing to give and then:
Make checks out to Grace Church with Lillian Hardaway Ecuador in the memo line and give them directly to me or the Grace Episcopal Church office
Go to: https://give.iteams.us/ and in the On Behalf of section put “Ministry of Lillian Hardaway”
Both of these options are done so that you are able to get a tax write off
This blog will keep you updated about my experiences in Ecuador and also other places I will be traveling