Monday, March 1, 2010

Cusco Update... Back and LOVING life

Working in the cafe!

This is the view outside my bedroom window!!
I LOVE WAKING UP IN THE MORNING!!! :D

(Above - Picture of the flooding outside of Cusco)

Hola Friends & Family

Sorry I am just now updating you on my life back in Cusco! I feel as though I never even left and I have been able to just jump right back in to the way of life here as soon as my plane touched the ground! :) (literally I hit the ground running -- and I love living life on the go) I love being productive and staying busy - helping out in anyway possible! Being back here I feel SO full of joy and full of life -- It is so hard to explain.... it's just something you need to experience. I wish each of you could come out here and see my life here. BUT -- I have realized that it is important to not get too busy, but to take time to myself and spending time with the Lord. I want to always be on the look-out for what God is doing in my life and around me and be aware of the spiritual world and how God is working!

So - I have had a little different experience since I've been back and working with a different organization! Now that I am working with the meeting place cafe and church downtown I am working more with tourists and a different class of people! I love working with both types of people. ALthough on my day off from the cafe I usually still go out to the orphanage where I used to work, Casa Josefina and La Arca orphanage where I teach cello lessons to Gabi! YES the cello made it safely here -- praise the Lord! God ALWAYS provides.... I can't say that enough. He has provided one thing after another.... the cello, an amazing apartment with an amazing view, prayer and financial supporters, future opportunities, great community....etc.

So my life here consists of working in the "Meeting Place Cafe" from 8-2 -- this is a fun cafe right in the San Blas Plaza in downtown Cusco. It's a really great cafe for tourists who are craving a good Waffle, breakfast, pancakes, coffee....etc. I have also continued going out to the orphanage, teaching cello to Gabi with her new cello, continued building the relationships I had with the Peruvians, organizing what music we play at church, and various outreaches. Yesterday our church went out to a town about an hour outside of Cusco that lost their homes because of the flooding and we took donations and had a chocolatada for them and played games with the kids... I dressed up as a clown! haha This week I am starting to teach spinning classes here at a gym! Spinning at 11,000 ft is pretty hard - I'm excited about teaching in Spanish and meeting people this way as well!! I am also planning on playing in the Cusco Symphony concert coming up on March 19th -- Yes, God provided me with another cello! :)

As you can see I have just gotten involved with a lot of activities once again and know this is where God wants me to be right now! Please pray with me as I am praying about next steps...

I hope you all are doing great!! Would love to hear about you lives -- You can email me at carrieeckel@gmail.com

Something interesting to think about .... There was just an earthquake 8.8 in Chile... I'm beginning to wonder after the war, Haiti, flooding here in Cusco, earthquake in Chile what God is up to. I know that He controls everything in this world....
Mark 13:8 (Signs of the End of the Age)
"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains."

Would love your input....



Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cusco Video.

I had the best time this past week and wkd -- finally meeting my precious niece, Lily-Kate, in San Diego and spending the week there with Laura and Trevor! What a beautiful and fun city to live in... 70s in January... can't beat that! Lily is at such a fun age, always smiling and we have a special bond :) I love being an aunt -- I think my name will be "Tia" for her and Grayson!! I spent the wkd on the way out there in San Antonio visiting great friends and my supporters. I spoke at my church there, Redeemer, and gave a quick update and showed the slideshow video I made at a get together we had at my friend Ashley's house. It was so fun being back there and I felt so at home! I have such a special group of friends there -- and am so thankful for them!

So, now that I've showed the video to most of my supporters I will add it here!


video

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

PASSION 2010 - Give me one pure and holy ambition.


Passion 2010 was this past weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. I hadn't been since 2007 when it was in Atlanta and '06 when it was in Nashville. They have been doing a Passion World Tour the past few years. God was definitely at work these past few days and it was such an awesome time of worshiping and learning. I still feel like I am trying to process all the information from the Godly leaders and teachers who were there. What an opportunity to hear these amazing servants of God.... Louis Giglio, John Piper, Beth Moore, Francis Chan, Andy Stanley....etc. It is hard to put in to words what it was like to worship with 22,000 other believers -- I do believe that real happiness and joy comes when we are praising and glorifying God! The picture below is worshiping with Hillsong United.

I don't even know where to start on what I learned these past 4 days... I think one of the main things I have realized is that the reason God put us on this earth is to bring him Glory, No matter what we are doing. We are most satisfied in life when we realize how insignificant we really are and are able to see God's greatness. Life is not about becoming someone.... but knowing someone.

Beth Moore talked about how God does have a will for each of our lives and he is equipping us for our will by preparing us, adjusting us, repairing us, and filling us. I can see this in my own life and how God had prepared me for Peru by multiple mission trips to Spanish speaking countries in high school, college, and when I was even in Texas going over to the Mexico side with the CMDA mission trips. God will always be adjusting us and we will always be changing b/c God's will is to conform us to his image. She said, "Until you are in a position around people who bring out the worst in you, you are not ready for God to bring out the best in you." wow! We are in constant need of repairing and we will never have it all together. And finally, God fills us with his Holy Spirit.

Something that really jumped out to me in Andy Stanley's talk was that it is ALWAYS a mistake to decide what you want to do, before you decide who you want to be. Who you are on the inside will determine all of your relationships and what you will do and it is important to be a person that people respect and to have genuine character.

In John Piper's break out session on missions he titled it, "A Sacred Ambition for the glory of Christ where he is not yet named." I didn't realize how many un-reached nations there still are out there and how many people still do not know the truth. He talked a lot about Paul and his reason for going out in doing missions in Romans 15:18-24. God gave Paul a sacred ambition to be a missionary and it had a need to be met. If the people never hear about Jesus, they are lost... and this is the point of missions. Even if men never hear the gospel, they will still stand in front of God for the Judgement. There is still the need for missions.
















Friday, January 1, 2010

2010: I think this is going to be the best year yet.....

It is so hard to believe that 2009 is already over!!! It was such a great year -- spending the first couple months in San Antonio, TX then most of the remainder of the year in Cusco, Peru and traveling around South America. I am SO thankful for this past year, the things I've learned, the experiences, the relationships I've formed, and continuing to learn how much Jesus loves us and his grace for us. I am really amazed the more I realize the love Jesus has for us and how horrible we are in return and am very humbled this new year. I want to live a life of humility yet confidence in Christ. There are some goals that I have for this new year in my relationship with the Lord and living for Him.

Andy Lewis mentioned a quote this past Christmas Eve service, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less." -C.S. Lewis It is our American culture to think of our own needs first and how we can look good on the outside. It is our natural sinful nature.... I struggle with it, we all do! But, I really do want to put others above myself and show them love through not only words, but also my actions. I want to change the focus of myself on to focusing on Jesus and his love for us. I know that only God only can satisfy me, and He is enough! :) He is more than enough... He is the best there is!

Going in to this New Year I really want to change the focus off of what I want for my life.... away from what I think is best for me and where I want to be and really TRUST God for what He has for my life. It is so comforting to know that God wants what is best for us. He sees the whole picture.... He sees our lives from beginning to end and we only get a little glimpse of our life and only know what is happening in the present. Because of this I know that I can really trust God b/c He sees what lies ahead. That is SO exciting to me!!!

I am so excited what is yet to come this year! I will be heading out to Passion in ATL tomorrow and am really excited about worshiping God for 4 days straight!! I will then head out to San Antonio, TX the following wkd to visit great friends and supporters and update Redeemer Church on my time in Peru, then FINALLY fly out to San Diego to spend a week with my sweet niece, Lily Kate and sister Laura and Trevor, bro in law! I have decided to head back to Peru in early February! I have a cello that was donated that I am bringing over for Gabi, the girl in the orphanage who I taught cello lessons to and was asked to join the Meeting Place ministry in Cusco -- This is the English Church ministry that meets in downtown Cusco and is geared towards reaching the unreached and spiritual searching tourists that are coming through Cusco! It is also a cafe/coffee shop and hostel so I will be working in the cafe, organizing/leading the worship for the church service, continuing to be involved in the music scene of Cusco, building relationships...etc. I am only going for about 5-6 weeks and then after this time will re-evaluate how the Lord is leading and decide if I will commit to another year working alongside this ministry in Cusco!

I'm so excited about how the Lord is leading and what He has for me next!!! 2010 is going to be an exciting year! I hope you all have a wonderful New Years Day!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Slideshow Video -- Highlights of South America Travels

Attached is a video that I made of some of my favorite places within South America. I am SO thankful to have had this opportunity to travel around and see so many amazing places. I absolutely LOVED being outdoors and enjoying God's creation!

I have also made a video of my time in Cusco and will post that one after I show it to Redeemer church in San Antonio and my home church here in Greenville!

Will keep you all posted on my next steps!






video

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reflection .... Adjustment .... What's next ?? ....

I have now been back in the USA for about a week now. I first flew in to Miami and got to spend some great time with my sister Martha and precious niece, Grayson. I had so much fun playing with her and holding her! She is 9 months.... such a FUN age, beginning to say a few words and laughing a lot! :) I have been back in Greenville for a few days now and I just can't get over being able to drink water from tap and being able to throw my toilet paper in the toilet! ;) haha The things we take for granted! It has really hit me these past few days how much we have here in the States and how comfortable life is. For some reason I feel like life is too normal here, I just love new cultures and adventures! It has been great to be with my family, but a part of me isn't sure if I am ready to be back in the states. In a way I just feel so much more needed in Peru.... I feel like God was able to use all of the things I was passionate about - Music (cello), relationship building, encouragment, spanish, ministry .... I would LOVE to find something where I am able to use all of these things!

I am still praying about the option of returning to Cusco and working with the Meeting Place ministry in downtown Cusco and being the worship leader. I am also open to other missions opportunities to other Spanish speaking countries and other opportunities that may come up within the next few weeks. Please pray for God to make clear what He wants me to do next. This "waiting" period of seeking God and listening is a hard place for me to be in. I always want to be doing something, being productive, and making a difference -- So to have a downtime of not really being sure of what the next step is, is a really hard place for me to be in. I really want to enjoy this time that I have and be content where I am instead of worrying about what is next. Please pray that I will enjoy this time and I know that in God's perfect timing He will show me what is next!

Thanks for all of you who have been following! I will try to continue blogging as God continues to lead me along the journey He has for me!

Monday, November 9, 2009

South American Travels!!!




WOW!!!!! I can not express to you the beauty of God's creation that I have seen over these past 4 weeks. Beginning in Chile and going down to southern Patagonia - Torres del Paine then over to the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate, Argentina. I LOVED hiking through the Patagonia mountains and seeing the incredible mountains. The Perito Moreno Glacier was breath-taking and you could just see it go on for miles and miles. It is about the same size as the city of Buenos Aires. It is incredible to think about how it has formed through the years. From Santiago then we went over to Mendoza, Argentina.... wine country!!! We stayed in a really fun hostel there and went on a wine bike tour through the vineyards.... tried lots of yummy Malbec vino!

From Mendoza we went over to Buenos Aires and have been staying with a girl who is here doing mission work. It has been fun meeting all her Argentinian friends and have been living the Argentine life..... which is dinner at 11 p.m. to 12 and then hanging out after that until 3 a.m. to 4 a.m.... I 'm not used to this.... I need my sleep!! haha We went to Iguazu Falls from Buenos Aires and it was absolutely INCREDIBLE. I think it is definitely one of my favorite places in this world. Our hotel room had a view of the falls which made it really special. I just loved being in the middle of the jungle... seeing monkeys jumping from tree to tree, iguanas, hiking through the jungle to the different views of the falls, and swimming under a waterfall. I think everyone should come here if they have the opportunity.... it puts Niagra Falls to shame! haha We are now back in Buenos Aires and fly out TOMORROW. Oh my word. I can not believe the time has come so fast. I'm sure it will be such a change and adjustment going back to the states. I have SO enjoyed the last 8 months in Peru and traveling around and am so thankful to have this opportunity. I am really excited about what God has in store for me next and am trusting him and his perfect will for my next step!! Can't wait to get back to the states to see all of you!!!! Will be in Miami the first 5 days before heading back to South Carolina and can't wait to see my little neice, Grayson!!!! :)