I just returned from 2 weeks in Quito, Ecuador, instructing a Summit course of 8 men (ages 43-67) from various parts of Southern California. It was a different type of course--four days were spent climbing the high peaks and volcanoes of Ecuador, and four days were spent doing different service projects and short-term missions/humanitarian type projects. It was a very powerful and impactful course, and I'll be sharing some images here over the next few days.
Many of the men were originally drawn by the possibility of climbing high mountains. Ecuador has multiple peaks in the 15,000'-20,000' range, higher than anything in the continental US. But upon reflection at course end, almost all the men stated that the most impactful time was not spent in the mountains, but the service days working in south Quito.
In my opinion, Americans lead pretty comfortable lives, and we seldom venture out of our comfort zones. If we do find ourselves in uncomfortable situations, we quickly make adjustments to get things back to normal. The beauty of this course is that we were all stretched, and found ourselves outside of our comfort zone repeatedly. For some, it was the difficulty of living at a higher altitude, complete with constant headaches and health concerns. For others, it was living in a country where we didn't speak the language. Even more so, it was contact with people living in what some would call squalid conditions; poverty, without a realistic chance of escape or improvement. Regardless of what the environment was, we all found ourselves stretched and forced to grow. This growth produces alterations in your worldview, and in my opinion, results in a more educated and compassionate individual.
I'll be adding images over the next few days; stay tuned for details.