As we prepare to welcome our next group of SST students we reflect on these words from Henri Nouwen:

“Latin America:  impressive wealth and degrading poverty, splendid flowers and dusty broken roads, loving people and cruel torturers, smiling children and soldiers who kill.  It is here that we have to hunt for God’s treasure.”

And hunt we will…

But before we were ready to receive the 22 students who will step off the plane Wednesday night, we needed to travel north to Ecuador to renew our visas, rest our bodies and refresh our spirits.  We celebrated three birthdays — Sierra’s on April 9, Jane’s on April 17 and Jerrell’s — his 50th — on April 21.

Taking our lead from a recent National Geographic article about “one of the wildest places on earth,” Yasuni National Park, we traveled deep into the Ecuadorian rain forest to visit Limoncocha Biological Reserve and Yasuni National Park.  Sierra enjoyed trying out the new features on the camera she received for her birthday  — she gets the photo credits for most of what you’ll find below.




  1. Tina Schlabach says

    Happy Birthday to all the Ross Richer April birthday people! So glad you could do this amazing trip into the Ecuadoran Rainforest. Now that we have followed Mandy’s group so closely on your blogs, I will again be following this new group, just to see what it’s like this time around! Blessings, joy, and energy as you greet this new group soon! Hugs!!!

  2. Marge Weaver says

    What beautiful pictures you shared! The one of the moon brought a smile to my face, for that same moon was bright and beautiful as we arrived in Goshen late Friday night for graduation weekend. I have taken comfort over the years in knowing the moon shines on all of us (especially when my children have been out of the country), no matter where we are. May blessings continue as you greet a new group of students today.

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