Service Learning: Transformation in the Garden

Perhaps you remember reading my post about Lili and Edwin (posted February 3rd), and how they were such a huge answer to prayer for a class schedule for the semester, for friendship, and for a faith community. They are the leaders and business owners of their organic produce business, named Nativo, located in Lumbisí. The joy and peace I felt when I met them at the end of January has continued to be so abundant, throughout the duration of the semester.

For a bit of cultural context, Lumbisi is a small community with indigenous heritage and is a neighboring community to where I live in the valley of Cumbayá. It is an area of families who own land and cultivate their own crops, but would be socially considered lower class. What differentiates Lili and Edwin’s business from the rest is that their product is all organic and they have enough family land to produce enough for their household, and to sell.

I have had the opportunity, through IES Abroad, to take Service Learning as a class this semester. I feel so blessed by my placement with Lili and Edwin! They have the kindest hearts for service to their community, and the neighboring ones as well. They make organic produce affordable for those who would otherwise never bother to eat healthy, and they teach their clients the importance of caring for their bodies. They are the most genuine people I have ever met and their faith is what guides them through each and every day.

I truly admire Lili and Edwin for the work that they do for their community, and for the faith they continue to display, no matter the situation. They live in a community where they are “weirdly different.” Lili and Edwin both had the opportunity to study at universities in Ecuador, unlike many in Lumbisí, and they want to share their knowledge for the benefit of the entire community. Also, they don’t have friends in their community that are Christian, so it is difficult at times to develop deep connections with their neighbors. Despite these challenges, Lili and Edwin have each other and their families to help them continue to choose to serve, and be disciples to those around them.

This semester I helped Lili and Edwin prepare for their weekend sales, every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. Some days we would sort chocho for 3+ hours. Other days we would package the produce for the weekend, and we would go to their land to harvest produce such as avocados, lemons, limes, blackberries, and guava. I think IES Abroad and Lili and Edwin would admit that this placement was a bit of a gamble, at first. Lili and Edwin had never had a volunteer before, and IES Abroad holds high standards for the Service Learning class. This placement surely surpassed any requirements and the experience has been valued by Lili and Edwin, my IES Program Leaders here in Quito, and me. Lili and Edwin are always prepared for they days I come. They are always teaching me new things and health benefits of the plants/produce. In the repetitiveness of the tasks, I learn more about Ecuadorian culture by talking with them for hours on end.

My favorite moments of every week are with Lili and Edwin. When I am with them, I feel peace, joy, hope, needed, and so very loved. They care for me as if I am their child they and invite me to their special holiday meals. I am trying not to think about having to say goodbye to them yet. This past week, I introduced an IES Program Leader and a fellow classmate at my placement site with Lili and Edwin. After Lili mentioned how much they were able to develop as a business over these past couple months by having a set of extra hands, my program leader asked, “So, what are you going to do when Morgan leaves?” Lili just said, “Cry, we are going to cry.” Half jokingly because of the positive life view that Lili has and her continual trust that God will always provide. But, seriously in the reality that it will be hard to say goodbye to our weekly conversations and relationships.

I am thankful my original schedule didn’t work out when I got here, despite the stress I felt in January because of it. I know God hand-picked Lili and Edwin to show me, through their daily love and encouragement, how to live a life of joy and peace and friendship. A life that is selfless and fulfilling, no matter the circumstances thrown our way.



Language Fluency: How do you know when you have it?

“So, how do you think your Spanish is?” This is a question I’ve been asked recently, as I complete 3 of my 4.5 months abroad, by my host mom, my biological mom, and friends. This is another one of those questions that is hard to answer from my own perspective. Though I am not the one listening to myself speak each day, throughout my experience, it is incredible to look back on the first 3 months and see the growth that has occurred in my language ability!

When I arrived in Ecuador, I had just finished a summer and semester without taking any Spanish classes. I knew the vocabulary, and speaking would come back to me, but I felt apprehensive about academically using my Spanish. I knew my grammar would need a great deal of help, and let’s face it, my vocabulary was really quite small. Since I have had some shorter experiences abroad in the past, I was in an awkward in between stage of needing to try to translate things in my head before speaking, and just starting to talk out loud. I was confident that I would be able to get my point across and talk with anyone I needed to conversationally, but I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect.

Throughout the course of the semester, I have improved in every area of using the Spanish language! This brings up the question once again, “So, are you fluent?” While I am obviously not a native speaker, it is universally recognized that I can’t become a native speaker. Yes, I am fluent in Spanish, and this semester has helped me accomplish my primary goals I have for using the language. As a business major, my goal is to use Spanish as a supplemental skill to my future professional life. Most importantly, I want to have the conversational capacity to develop meaningful relationships.

The fact of the matter is that there is always more to learn, whether I am speaking English or Spanish (honestly, my Spanish grammar is probably better than my English). In a world where we are never done learning, we will continue to learn and grow and strengthen our skills. As I explained to my mom just this past week, it is sometimes hard to gauge how I am doing when I am not listening to myself. However, I am thankful for the confidence that I have gained to be able to use the language wherever I am, knowing that I will be understood and respected in a colloquial or professional manner.

I feel so blessed to have this experience abroad; for an entire semester to be immersed! Dominating another language is something that requires taking the time to be fully immersed, and it is an opportunity foreign to the United States in comparison to the rest of the world. I don’t know where my professional life will take me, but I am thankful for the acquired skill of Spanish that I am ready and capable to use in the future!


Weekly Freedoms and Limitations

Over the course of the past 3 months (it has already almost been that long!), I have experienced new freedoms and new limitations that come with living in a new culture. Let me preface that by saying that some of these things are not necessarily better or worse than my day to day life experiences I have in the States, but rather cultural differences I am living and growing through.


Travel: What a strange concept it is to be able to travel on the weekends, and choose my weekly adventure! As I’ve mentioned before, Ecuador is a richly diverse country in every aspect, including it’s landscape. In the States, there is rarely the opportunity to travel somewhere for an entire weekend during the academic year. Weekends are too short and packed with homework nearly every single week at Hope. In Ecuador, the University provides 3 day weekends… (yes, that means never having Friday classes!). Academics in Ecuador seem to be a bit different, as well. While classes still have homework, tests, presentations, and group projects– there is much less “busy work.” All of the assignments tend to have a bit more weight, but they are all directly related to class material and there isn’t thousands of extra readings to be done. This makes traveling a reality, not only for the sake of time in days, but because of the decreased amount of homework than what I am used to. Not to mention the cheaper cost as well!

Time: Because I am here for only a semester without my closest friends and family and jobs, I have much more freedom with time. I can read a book for fun, go for a walk, watch a movie etc., things I rarely have time to enjoy during the academic year in the states.


Diet: The Ecuadorian diet is healthy, fresh, and nutritious for cheaper prices than at home. My biggest challenge is navigating life with a host family who rarely eats at home themselves. I have less control over what I eat than I do at home.

Transportation: Oh how I can’t wait to be able to drive my car again! The bus system is cheap and super helpful, as you can go anywhere in the country on a bus… however, it is also very time consuming on curvy mountain roads that make me feel quite sick.

Home: Being away from home just means being more conscious about everything. From safety, to time of day, to knowing where my food and water comes from, I’ve come to recognize the little things I take for granted at home.

These are just some of the basic things that are very different than my West Michigan life in the States. There are clearly freedoms and limitations in both lifestyles that provide different experiences and opportunities. What a ride it has been, the past 3 months!



Back to Routine

We are back in the swing of things here at USFQ! After a much needed and beautiful spring break adventure, school is back in full swing. The past two weeks have been getting back into a rhythm, but with a change in perspective. Over the past week, I have finished up midterms and have begun to get a glimpse of what the second half of my time abroad will entail.

This week marked exactly 2 months until I come home! In some ways that practically feels like tomorrow, while in other ways, I feel overwhelmed by all that has yet to happen. This mid-term week provided time to reflect. Through IES, I was encouraged to discuss the things that have gone well so far with my classes, my host family, and simply living in the Ecuadorian culture. Of course, we were then asked to specify changes we would like to see for the second half of this journey in regards to each of these areas.

Reflecting is one way for me to decompress, and also to look forward in hope. In the midst of the daily joys and trials, I often lose perspective of the bigger picture of my ‘why’ for being in Ecuador. Crossing the halfway point was almost like a flip of a switch for me; a night and day difference of mentality. May no longer sounds so daunting, and 4.5 months in another country is beginning to feel like such a small component of life’s journey. Having only 2 months to go fills my heart with gratitude for the growth that has already sprouted within me. I’m even more excited to see what that little sprout looks like in 2 more months.

What a difference the changing of a month can make! What I mean by that is, how good it felt when January turned into February and when February turned into March. Each month is one step closer of achieving a goal, growing through an experience, and living differently which has encouraged me to keep pressing into my time in Ecuador. These month changes feel a bit different now as April approaches; as the end begins to feel more real. May didn’t really feel like it would ever come in January or February, but now I know it is just around the corner. I have destinations on my bucket list and final projects in classes to complete all before mid-May, and oh how I’ve realized that it will be here in the blink of an eye.

I am grateful for a time of reflection over the past two weeks, an encouraged and refreshed mind, and hope for the opportunities yet to come in my final 2 months abroad! Praise be to God for His faithfulness, and making beauty out of ashes, the ashes where my mind began my journey abroad.

Spring Break!

As blunt and exaggerated as it sounds, this past week was one of the coolest and most precious weeks of my life! My spring break was split into two parts and both equally memorable. The first half of my spring break was spent with my Mom (I know I said that last post but it is a highlight for me), mostly in Puerto Lopez. We spent a day touring Quito and I got to show my mom everything the locals showed me when I first arrived in the gorgeous Historic Center of Quito. From the 13,500 ft. city view to the ancient cathedrals, we loved and enjoyed the beautiful city buzz of Quito. We then flew to the Pacific Coast of Ecuador to the small beach town of Puerto Lopez where we enjoyed a few relaxing days in hammocks overlooking the ocean. We stayed in a cute hotel where we slept with bug nets surrounding us in our own mini beach hut. We enjoyed beach walks, seafood, wildlife, game time, sunshine, and simply talking until we had to say goodbye at the airport a few days later. My heart felt so heavy with my mom leaving, knowing that my physical support was going to be gone again, but I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that she was able to come to spend that precious time with me. I know her heart broke as well because she is such a compassionate and empathetic mom, who didn’t want to leave her child again.

All is well. Mom made it home safe to the rest of our family, and I took off for part two of my spring break with my study abroad program. This final weekend of spring break was spent on one of the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of Ecuador. If you have heard anything about these islands, I am sure you have heard of their extravagant beauty and wildlife, that I can say is constantly evident. They are Ecuador’s version of Hawaii with more wildlife, but also formed by volcanos. There are 13 islands in all of the Galapagos, 4 of which have small populations of people who live there. One of those islands is San Cristobal where I spent the past 4 days. Since we were a bit short on time, we couldn’t do the island hopping tour unfortunately, but we were able to pack the 4 days we had on San Cristobal with snorkeling, hiking, and boating! By boating to different parts of the island, and completing a 360 tour around the island one of the days, we were able to see everything that San Cristobal has to offer. The bright side to a short Galapagos trip in March, their hottest month, means less sunburn from the intensity on the equator! (I am proud to say that I didn’t burn, but I have also never worn so much sunscreen or wore a jacket in 85 degree weather!)

We saw all types of wild life– sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, fish, the ginormous land turtles, sting rays, eagle rays, iguanas, blue footed boobies, fragatas, and mocking birds. We were able to see these animals up close and in their natural habitats. We snorkeled in the bright turquoise water in the bays that entice wildlife and walked the white, powder beaches that look like the actual google images photos. Our walks on the black volcanic rock provided no shade but unique experiences with the endemic wildlife of the Galapagos. (Yes, endemic is the one biology word I learned and understood while I was there haha). I am not sure if I’ll ever make it back to the Galapagos again, but I know there is so much more there to explore on the other islands that will be awaiting me!

Getting back from the incredibly exhausting travel week Sunday night with school the next morning, isn’t my ideal way to jump into midterm exams, but the once-in-a-lifetime experiences were definitely worth it! To all my Hope friends and Michiganders struggling in the crazy weather that is changing daily, your break is coming so soon and I will soon be jealous of you :).

Thank you everyone for your continued prayers and support as my journey continues to unfold! I am thankful for the week I had to break from academics.


She’s Here!

My mom is here– like my actual, real, biological mother! Since deciding to come to Ecuador last fall, I had always hoped that my mom would be able to come visit. When I arrived in January, we began to make the arrangements for my spring break, which is next week. All I have to say is YAY, and thank you God for making this opportunity a reality!

As many of you already know, my mom is literally my best friend. I really don’t know what I would do without her. She is selfless and loves her family so much. Being away from home has shown me how much both she and my dad care for my brothers and me. Their love is more extravagant than I knew was possible.

Now that she is here, I get to show her around my new hometown of Cumbayá, my school and service learning placement. My family gets to see pictures I take when I am traveling, but I am so thankful for the opportunity I have this week to show my mom the daily life I live here. We will also be spending a day in Quito going through the historical center and churches and seeing magnificent views of the city! I am so excited for this day because it is so different from anything my mom has ever experienced, and I get to be the tour guide! After two days in the place I call home for now, we will be headed to the province of Manabí along the coast of Ecuador to the small town of Puerto Lopez. This small beach town is part of the Machalilla National Park, home to beautiful beaches, delicious seafood, surfing and wildlife, and the well-known Isla de Plata.

Of course I am excited for this travel opportunity, but I am most excited to simply be with my mom. I feel like it has been forever since I talked with someone who really understands me. My mom literally flew across the world just to spend a couple of days with me! Yes, she does get a mini vacation out of the deal too, but I know she would never take a mini trip like this otherwise for vacation. Not only that, but my three brothers are at home with my dad during one of his busiest weeks of work. Plus, my grandparents who are always the first to offer help, are also out of town. My mom is here for me.

So, here’s to a weekend of probably lots of laughter, tears, relaxing, and hugs– I know I will be savoring every moment. If I’ve learned anything in the recent months, it is that home isn’t always a physical place. I am homesick not because of my physical home (I mean, how could I be when it is located in the tundra), but I am homesick because people are my home. My family and my friends are my home and I miss them! Thanks to a loving dad, understanding brothers, an adventurous mom, and a giving Heavenly Father, I get to spend a weekend with a glimpse of my home here in Ecuador.


Blessed with Rest (Quito, Ecuador)

“My soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.” — Psalm 62:1

It is the weekend, I have no plans, and I love it! I have been looking forward to this week for the past three weeks because I get to rest! Remember last week when I wrote about all the travel opportunities, adventure on every corner, and the biggest bang for your buck? Those things all remain true, but I am exhausted. I have traveled by bus to a different part of Ecuador every weekend since my arrival, and I just need a break.

Immersed in a “go-with-the-flow” culture where everything is “tranquila,” my mind and my body have struggled to know how to slow down. Rest is an essential part of life that our bodies need to thrive, yet mine does not know how. Those things called hobbies that most people have or that list of Netflix shows everyone watches, my brain does not know how to enjoy. Living a life at a slower pace sounds impossible to me because I don’t know how to handle the down moments.

Apart from traditional academics, much of this semester for me is learning how to rest. Disclaimer: I honestly don’t know how to do that yet. My life before coming to Ecuador was lived at a pace way faster than what is healthy; I hated the thought of slowing down, and I thought rest was a waste of time. Culture-shock to me is that it isn’t and I need to re-learn how to live.

It’s kind of like going on a first date with myself. It feels like a long, slow, and awkward process that keeps me wondering, “how much longer until this is over.” I have to figure out how to make myself thrive with energy, happiness, and peace. My semester is about discovering the blessing of rest. The blessing of rest given by a God who longs for my soul to rest confidently and securely in Him. I’ve spent the first twenty years of my life running from this blessing because I never recognized it in that way.

This weekend I have time to rest my body and my mind, and I am so thankful. I know this means a hard weekend mentally coming my way, because like I said, I haven’t been trained for this. I am learning to see these times as a blessing, because I know that they are essential for me to grow, learn, and thrive as the person my Heavenly Father created me to be. It is a gift that I am given to enjoy this weekend teaching my soul the necessity of ALWAYS resting in HIM!

Underrated Tourism: Ecuador 🇪🇨

Students who go abroad with hopes to see many countries and travel as much as they possibly can often study in Europe where traveling is cheap. Of course, where one chooses to study ultimately should be a reflection of their interests and academic goals, but if we are being honest, everyone who goes abroad is hoping to see, learn, and experience new parts of the world. Let me be an advocate for what the underrated country of Ecuador has to offer.

Ecuador is the land of four distinct and diverse landscapes in a country the size of the state of Colorado. There are the famous Galapagos Islands, the Coast, the Sierra/ Andes/ Mountains, and the Amazon. You don’t have to travel far to see anything and everything. They are four regions of diverse climates, animals, food, lifestyles, cultural traditions, and even some languages. The best of all– traveling within the country is cheap! Hostels are typically $10 a night and are honestly nicer than some hotels I have stayed in, and some even include meals! While buses are not always the most fun way to travel, it gives you the opportunity to see even more of the country and the transportation is very cheap, and is available throughout the country! (When you get to the point of retirement, come to Ecuador to get the most bang for your buck!)

Where do you go and what do you do? Well, I am glad you asked! A better question would be, what do you want to do? There is a coast and islands of gorgeous beaches to simply relax and enjoy the sunshine and incredible sea food, or adventures of surfing, snorkeling, and experiencing ocean wildlife. In the mountains there are many hiking, biking, and bus excursions to see the mountains and volcanos that make up breathtaking landscapes. The amazon has its own adventures with distinct wildlife, indigenous communities to learn from, and adventures of hiking, river rafting, and spelunking. Don’t let me forget all the lagoons in the craters of volcanoes, canyoning, waterfalls, and archeological sites! In the big well-known cities of the country such as Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil, there is well-preserved and rich historical centers with museums, cathedrals, and architecture. There are the cute coffee shops, chocolate tours, and great eats that will give you meals to fill your belly for just $3!

As we all know, there are pros and cons to everything and one of the cons to being in South America is that flights/ travel to other countries is expensive. Being in Ecuador however, there is really everything in one small country that outside travel isn’t really necessary, (however fun, of course, if you are willing to bite the bullet of the cost of a flight).

My WHY to Ecuador: Since my college search endeavor began, I was interested in the opportunity to study abroad because of my interest in Spanish (my WHY behind that interest also has a backstory for a later day). Taking advantage of my time in college to go abroad was/ is important for me to gain language fluency as my primary goal. Often, I think students forget the lifestyle and culture that impacts one’s experience when studying in another country. For me, I knew the options were Spain, or somewhere in Latin America and Spain was a no-go. Don’t get me wrong, Spain is a BEAUTIFUL country with a rich Spanish speaking culture, but I knew the European lifestyle wasn’t something I wanted to live in for an entire semester. When I began searching programs in Latin America, I was primarily drawn to the more globally well-known countries of Argentina, Peru, and Chile. The further I researched and the more I talked with other students who had gone abroad, I stumbled upon the program in Ecuador and was intrigued by their Spanish primarily. Ecuador is different than most Spanish speaking countries in that Ecuadorians typically speak slower and without a strong/ distinct accent. This made me excited because learning a language is hard enough, and picking up a distinct accent on top of that would be exhausting.

I was drawn to Ecuador primarily in search of an effective way to achieve my academic goals through the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and the benefits of cheap travel became another benefit later. Now that I am here, I would say I have been a Student Tourist. I am obviously still here primarily for academic purposes, but believe me, I have been taking advantage of weekend trips since Week 1! Believe it or not, I have traveled so much already that I am burnt out and ready to take a break, but my bucket list says there is still much to see this semester.

While Ecuador may not be the hot topic Google presents for tourism, it is truly a country of beautiful diversity and adventure in every way! If you don’t believe me, let me be your tour guide. 🙂



Family is Everything

How often do you drop everything to have three hour meals with your family? What age were you (or will you be) “kicked” out of your parent’s house? Do you always hug and kiss your family when you first walk in the door and when you’re about to leave?

I have been blessed to have grown up in a family that values one another and time spent together, and has positive relationships with extended family. I grew up having family dinners after school, going to church together, going on family vacations, working together around the house, and celebrating all holidays and birthdays with both immediate and extended family. What I thought was a lot of family time, is nothing in comparison to the time that Ecuadorians dedicate to family.

My family never spends three hours eating one meal… not even on Thanksgiving or Christmas! Sure we have gatherings in which we spend quality time together for hours, but it is often focused on other activities. In Ecuador, it is normal on the weekends to have meals with extended family that have no schedule but typically are all afternoon or all night events. This is a weekly custom, not a holiday event.

I am learning that while in my West-Michigan culture family is valued, as it is in Ecuador, the dynamics within the family are very different. The issue of machismo is very prevalent throughout Latin America and is evident in the family dynamics in Ecuador, for example. The purpose of the wife or mother in the home is to work in the house so that the man of the house can rest. It is frowned upon for a man to be helping with cleaning in the home or doing laundry or cooking. Because of this reality, many women either are unemployed to work in the house, or the families hire a family employee to help fulfill this role. Often in the United States, we think of people who have help in their home to be upper class individuals but in Ecuador it is more weird if the family doesn’t have someone helping in their home. Finances are not a factor in the equation.

Growing up in my home, Saturday mornings were dedicated to “job lists.” Given the fact that my siblings and I always dreaded them, I realize how important this aspect is in being part of a family. In Ecuador, all of the household chores are for the wife/ mother/ maid to take care of so that the man of the home and the children can rest. If you are a working man, earning money is your only responsibility. If you are a child in a family that has given you the opportunity to study, your only responsibility is to study. Children and young adults in Ecuador do not learn how to work or save money, and this becomes problematic when they themselves get married and move out. (A quick side note on when “kids” move out of their parents home in Ecuador: it is normal for kids in their upper 20’s up until 30 to be living with their parents). They move from a world where everything was given to them, literally everything, to a world where they are on their own without any phase of transition. I was talking with a woman yesterday who was talking about this issue who told me that this is a problem because she got married at age 30 and had no idea how to do a load of laundry, clean, or cook anything. My parents have always helped and supported me and my brothers tremendously, but they also taught us to be responsible by giving us specific responsibilities that had to be carried out from a young age. Wow, am I so thankful for that now!

Hellos and goodbyes are also of incredible importance in Ecuador. This goes for family especially, but really applies to every aspect of the culture. One cannot enter or leave the house without saying hello to everyone and giving them a hug with a kiss on the cheek– it would be considered very rude. This same custom is important with friends and anyone you meet. The first day I got to school I was so thrown off by everyone greeting everyone, (including professors). The first time one of my professors greeted me, I was so thrown off by what was happening and I felt like a rude gringa. I greet my friends and family at home, but not so formally. Physical contact is also not always required when meeting up with friends and family at home, but in Ecuador they explain that they are very affectionate.

It has been very interesting to learn and experience these different cultural dynamics within family. I have learned about the aspects that could benefit the family culture of the United States, but also some of the difficult cultural realities that Ecuador faces within familial roles.

Lili & Edwin

This week I began my service learning placement in a small town called Lumbísi. This small village is only about 15 minutes from where I live and here I met two shining lights for Jesus! I am serving in a business run out of the home of an indigenous family. They work in agriculture, off of the land that they have inherited from their family to produce Chocho (a locally grown healthy protein) and a large variety of fruits and vegetables.

Tuesday was my first day. After meeting the couple and getting to know a bit of their story, I worked with Lili to harvest avocados for this week’s sales. As we were harvesting we got to know each other a little bit and she was glowing the entire time. She played worship music and spoke truth over me as we were in the garden… it was exactly what I needed.

Before Tuesday, I hadn’t met any Ecuadorians who were Christians. There are many Catholics here, few Christians, and many who don’t practice any sort of religion. I quickly found out that Lili and Edwin, the sweet couple I have the opportunity to learn from, were hurting from these facts as well. They choose to live out their faith daily around people who don’t appreciate it. They choose to live their lives following God’s Word, despite their community’s rejection. They choose to live out their faith, knowing that God has a purpose for them exactly where they are at.

Thursday was day two at my placement site. We spent three and a half hours sorting through the chocho, (see attached picture), to make sure that all the broken and impure chochos were taken out. Though this task was long and monotonous, I loved it! We just sat and talked for the duration of these three and a half hours, sharing about our lives and listening to worship music. The couple was elated that I was there to help them make this process, that takes them at least 6 hours together, take 3.5 hours instead! It is amazing how even the simplest things can bring so much joy and how much you can learn by simply taking the time to talk with people.

I know that I needed this time with Lili and Edwin this week, and it feels good to know how appreciative they were of my presence as well! Knowing that I get to spend my Tuesday and Thursday afternoons with people who love Jesus, care about people, and are passionate about healthy living gives me feelings of joy and hope for what this semester will bring. I am ready to cultivate the harvest the Lord has abundantly set before me this semester!