This past week we set out on our cherished SST tradition of visits to students at their service locations. Our first stop was to visit our students in the cloud forest and Amazonian rainforest locations on the west and east sides of the giant Andean mountain range. Cloud forest is a fancy term for a rainforest at an altitude that has a constant daily cloud cover. An unusual cyclone off the coast of Peru supercharged the rainy season this past week and led to torrential downpours across much of the country. After catching up with students in the cloud forest, we headed to the other side of the Andes and down into the beginning of the Amazon watershed where water cascading down from the mountains joins into ever-widening rivers that eventually meet up with the Amazon.
Service visits are always special in that they are a moment of reconnection for students and leaders who have shared this intense journey together. There is a family-like atmosphere as we regather to catch up on all the new unique experiences students have had in their service locations. We also look forward to reuniting again at the end of service. Throughout this time, students and leaders alike are challenged on a daily basis to put into practice the recognition of and appreciation for “Holy moments”. We have designated holy moments as times when we experience the stunning beauty of this place, the compassion and kindness of people around us, and the small joys in life like hot showers.