Thursday, July 18, 2013

A little piece of my heart is forever in Ecuador

I've postponed writing this post because I feel like it's a vulnerable one to write. Leaving Ecuador last Friday night was so difficult and bittersweet. Don't get me wrong, I was excited to come home and see my friends and family (and sleep in my own bed) but I loved Ecuador. I loved the people I met. I loved our host home and family. I loved the culture, the language and food. There is no doubt that I left a little piece of my heart in Ecuador. I also know why so many of the team members return each year! Writing this post is hard because I know I'm probably going to cry while writing it because my heart aches for Ecuador. (I hate crying!)

I'm so incredibly thankful that God put this trip on my heart and I'm also so very thankful for those who helped make the trip possible for me. Many of you selflessly gave money to my trip and it was paid in full, something I had been worried about. I was able to leave work for a week, I'm appreciative for a boss who not only allowed me to take a week of vacation but encouraged me to take the trip. This trip was a prime example of when you say "yes" God will do the rest. I've been raised in church my entire life and know this in my head...God will provide. I've seen Him provide but this trip made it so real and true in my life. For weeks I laid awake thinking about the trip. I daydreamed about the trip and one day I called about it and then literally everything fell into place. From my passport, to the funding, to getting into Ecuador with 20 bags of medicine...I can say that God had complete control over this trip. (I doubted it Friday before we left..thanks to the encouraging words of my mother, I still packed my bags and went!) I saw God move and work. We were there for physical healing but also spiritual encouragement. Also, let me state again, I was raised in church but something that never dawned on me before was how we are an encouragement to the churches we visited. Just like Paul visited the churches of the New Testament and encouraged them, we were able to go into small churches in Ecuador and encourage them. They are doing incredible things. One of the churches, Maranatha, is very much the hands and feet of Christ in their community. The testimonies they shared with us are amazing and they are not only winning people for the Lord but are actively disciplining them. We are fortunate enough to have our associations and organizations like the BGCO to encourage and rejuvenate our church leaders and we were able to go and help revitalize them. I found  that to be so refreshing. The reverse of that is we are also encouraged and revitalized through them. I'm so glad it works both ways.

I pray for the 3 churches we visited. I pray that although the clinics for the physical healing of the community are over, that the spiritual healing is just beginning. I pray for great revival in their communities and growth for their churches. I pray that the leaders of the churches be encouraged in what the Lord is doing through them for their communities and churches. I cannot wait to return next year (or hear from the team that goes next year) about the work that will be done in this coming year.

Writing a few posts about Ecuador doesn't do this trip justice so I hope we get to chat in the coming weeks about my trip and I have tons of pictures that I'd love to show you!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Quito: Day 4 of clinics

On our bus ride this morning I gazed out at the city and realized in 48 hours I'll be back on American soil. It's crazy that you can come to love place so much in just 7 days. Learning the language, the culture, the people and then sharing Jesus and encouraging the believers here, I have loved every minute of my time here in Ecuador. The whole experience has been amazing. I'm so glad God brought me to this place. It will always hold a place in my heart. I cannot wait to come back here. I want to bring my family here. I want to better my Spanish so I can be more effective here. Oh and the food here has been incredible too! I've probably gained 20 lbs! I figured by the end of the week I would be so ready to come home but my heart is so heavy as we make preparations to return home. I have love getting to know my team. We have laughed and cried together and had so much fun together! I got to make 19 new friends! (Not to mention all my Ecuadorian friends!)
I knew the church/school we were going to today was special. I had heard about Maranatha all week. As soon as we pulled up, I felt what everyone was talking about - instantly. Walking into the school that day, I felt loved immediately. Not only did they spoil us with coffee and snacks but God is definitely at work in this place and you could feel His presence among these people. We pulled up to the school with quite a crowd awaiting us. The church has advertised our clinic and people lined the block waiting for our bus. It's the closest I've ever felt to being a celebrity. As we walked off the bus  people smiled, took pictures and waved. (This is probably how Justin Bieber feels everyday.)

Today was our longest clinic. We saw 377 people and it felt like every bit of that! I just drank 4 cups of coffee which might be a bad idea but then again I do need to go pack. How is it already time to come home?

McKenzie, my BFF, for the week. It's crazy that I've only really known this girl for 8 days but am so thankful God put her in my life and crazy that we've been in a lot of the same places at the same time without meeting previously!

The Young Girls Room. My roommates for the week! 

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Quito: Day 3 of clinics

Today we head to Olmedo, a small village located at the base of a volcano. Each morning we pray together, share scripture and also get a brief of what to expect that day. Mark started the morning more somber than other mornings telling us that the community we are heading to today is a spiritually dark place and the presence of Satan is evident. Having two team members out sick is already discouraging but I know so many people are praying for us as we enter this village and I know God will do great things through us today.

We knew leaving the house that Satan would try to stop us and that he did. We got halfway to the location when our bus overheated. The bus was smoking on the inside! So we went to the restroom and got a snack and loaded back onto the bus. About 15 minutes down the road we had to stop again and the bus was smoking again! We finally got to our destination and The Lord provided for us. We had no idea how the clinic would work at this location. The church was one room but the pastor had transformed the room into small consultation rooms and the layout worked out wonderfully. The people in that area are Quechua people. They are much more traditional and dress in a lot of clothes they make themselves! They were an interesting people group. Very hard-workers but very healthy people. Most of their complaints are pain associated to years of hard manual labor.

Seeing Satan's many attempts to stop us from getting to the clinic that day we knew God was going to work in mighty ways and He did. This day was probably one of my favorites so far. The view from the clinic was incredible and it's so evident that we were an encouragement to the believers in the church there.
Also, I'm so glad a smile is the same no matter the language.

When our bus broke down!

If you look VERY closely behind those clouds and above the visible mountains there is a snow covered volcano, Cayambe, in the distance. It was cloudy that day and we never got a clear view of  Cayambe but I've seen pictures from team members from last year and it is BEAUTIFUL!

This was the church where the clinic was located. 4/5 consultation rooms were set up inside and right of the building - you'll see a wooden add-on...that was the pharmacy! What you can't see in this picture is the outhouse!

my pharmacy!

She doesn't look it in the photo but she was happy to take a picture with me. 

This woman was 92 years old and her friends/family carried her to our clinic. 

The view was absolutely breathtaking..from every angle. I couldn't get over it! 

This couple was ADORABLE. I was taking picture with a lady next to them (see above photo) and she asked if I would take a picture of them. (So I did) When I showed them the picture they were tickled pink and kept smiling and laughing!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Quito: Day 2 of clinics

Today was the second day of clinics. It was our last day this location. We got to the clinic and had quite a few people waiting for us! Apparently the word had gotten out around the neighborhood! Over the course of the last 2 days we saw over 600 patients. We have been extremely busy and I'm exhausted. Today was a full day for me. Yesterday was my first day as a "pharmacist" and then today I was thrown a new challenge - working the pharmacy alone. The lady who has been working in the pharmacy for years and has been helping me this week got sick and had to go back to the guest house. Luckily someone was able to come help me for the remainder of the day! It made the afternoon run much smoother, but I left the clinic feeling so exhausted! On the bright side my spanish is improving wonderfully! I have been able to write most of my labels without help from my translator! She even told me she was impressed!

We have a clinic in a community almost 3 hours from here tomorrow so I'm sure we will all head to bed early.

But first I have to go prepare meds for tomorrow! That's a quick update from today. Also, please pray for Phyllis my pharmacist helper to have a quick recovery!

This little girl asked me my name and then told me she named her new toy cat "Jennifer"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, July 8, 2013

Quito: Day 1 of clinics

Today was our first day of clinics. I could hardly sleep last night because I was so nervous. I had no idea what to expect but once I got there it all came together and we established a good flow.

I'm obviously not a pharmacist. Which would matter if we were in America..last night we went through an express pharmacy licensing process. Thanks to the "5 Minute University" and about an hour discussion about meds we were trained for our clinics. That refresher course was beneficial in the pharmacy today.

(Follow this link for the 5 Minute University!)

My translator saved the day! She was so quick to learn things and starts medical school in the fall and will be amazing! She also helped me on my Spanish. "Mi espanol es muy malo."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Quito: The first few days

As I stared out the window of the plane coming into Quito looking at the lights of the city I knew that my life was about to change forever.

20 people. 24 bags. All of which were filled with medicine or medical supplies. Not one problem in customs which is a first in the history of the groups trips to Quito. (Roughy 8-9 years)

We've been doing a lot of touristy things this weekend. We went zip lining in the rainforest on Saturday. I was absolutely amazed at the how beautiful it was. We went to this reserve and did a zip line hike that consisted of 6 different lines. It was unreal and such an adventure. The crazy part was it only cost $20!

I'll also mention that I am loving the food! So many different types of fruits! They are all so delicious. We went to church today. That's a whole separate blog post though....
Just a little update! We start clinics tomorrow. We finished counting the last of the medications tonight and reviewed the process and workflow for the newbies. I'm extremely nervous because I have no idea what to expect and partly because I'm not a pharmacist and feel like I have a lot of responsibility. Oh and that whole - I don't know the language thing. I'm sure it will be "fantastico"...once we are there and I get into the swing of things but until then let's hope I can get some sleep!!!
I will try to post again tomorrow. Thank you all for your prayers!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Off we go!

And we're off! Well not really.... the first team has left for Houston and I'm sitting at Will Rogers and will board around 2:30.

Last minute packing!

I'll be turning my cell phone data off. Please email me jenniferbaker87[at]gmail[dot]com or Facebook me!

If you have an iPhone with iMessage feel free to text me!

Most importantly pray for our team!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


It's here. It is finally here. Tomorrow I will be on a plane to Ecuador. I'm starting to feel a little bit overwhelmed! We had our packing day on Tuesday and the reality set in. Doubt and fear tried to crowd its way into my head. "I'm not a pharmacist." "I'm not properly trained for this." "I have no idea what I'm doing." All of these thoughts and oh a thousand more have been circling around in my mind. That's where you come in...please pray for me. Pray that the doubt and fear will be gone and I can remain confident in my knowledge and be able to fully love on these people for Jesus. Pray that my nervous jitters fade. Many of you know that I am a planner and there are so many unknowns for me in this trip and that's where my nerves come in. God has already reminded me that He is in control and I just have to say "yes"...He takes cares of the rest.
Also pray I can fit all this in my carry-on.....,,,Yikes!

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:14-19

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ecuador bound

Me holding my sister's donation to the trip!
For the past 3 years I have sat on the back pew. I've been what pastors and church leaders call an "attender." I've been attending Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee for roughly 3 years. I've dabbled in a few Sunday School classes but primarily, I've made excuses. 
"Oh, I just can't get connected. " 
"The singles class is old people." 
"The young adult class is married people." 
"I was in a long-distance relationship and never around."
 Those are just the top excuses. None of those excuses are really the problem. I was the problem. I was wanting the church to cater to me and connect to me. Some recent events in my life have made me realize that I have to make the move. The church isn't there to cater to my every need. I'm called to be connected and involved and to serve. So I decided to do something about it...and this is where I try to make a long story short.

Have you ever gotten a thought in your head and couldn't shake it? That's how I felt about this mission trip IBC does to Quito. I saw it in the bulletin and couldn't stop thinking about it. One afternoon I decided to call the church and ask for more information. I casually mentioned I worked in a pharmacy and come to find out - they needed someone with pharmacy experience and had been praying that someone would feel called to go. (I suppose I should thank them for all those sleepless nights!)
So I think it was pretty much determined at that very moment - I'm supposed to go to Ecuador.

Get out your tissue, folks. I later called my mom to explain to her my decision. I also told her about the cost and how I was a bit hesitant and that I'd be missing a week of work. My 5 year old sister overheard parts of the conversation. I get a text message from my mom that contained this photo:

My sister had asked my mom to get her piggy bank because she had "20 dollars and some cents for my mission trip" that she wanted to give me. Tears were flowing. God was working. If my sister could give me all the money in her piggy bank than I could make a few sacrifices myself and go! So that being said -
  I'm going to Ecuador! 

I ask that you pray for the preparations being made for our team. I'm technically signing up late and still have to get a passport! So pray that all of that type of stuff goes smoothly and QUICKLY. {Update: I received my passport! I was told it would take 2-4 weeks to process. I leaned on the side of 4 weeks. My passport came in a week and a half. Talk about a God thing. I know only God can make a government agency work that quickly!} The cost of the trip is $1,800. My 5 year old sister has made the first contribution to my trip (which touches my heart more than I can every really express in a blog.) 

If you feel led to help, I'm asking that you match my sister's donation ($21.58) to help me get to Ecuador!

You can make checks payable to Immanuel Baptist Church and be sure to write "Jennifer Baker - Ecuador trip" on the memo line. You can mail checks to me or to the church - 
Immanuel Baptist Church -1451 E. 45th Street Shawnee, OK, 74804

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mediterranean Pizza

Sometime you crave Little Caesars but know that's a terrible idea. (even if you aren't worrying about eating healthy- that's not even real cheese! um gross?) So what's a better alternative - this guilt free DELCIOUS-NESS.

Mediterranean Pizza

Thin Crust Whole Wheat Pizza
¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
¼ cup diced tomatoes
2 T olive oil
1 cup mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup spinach
Italian seasoning

Heat olive oil with minced garlic on a low heat for just about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor.

Brush oil on pizza crust.
Sprinkle feta, tomatoes and mushrooms on pizza.
Chop spinach, sprinkle on top of pizza. 
Drizzle with oil
Top with some Italian seasoning.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 425. 

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

I rarely blog anymore. I mean, it's a been a year since my last post so that's pretty obvious. In the last few weeks, I've really tried to start eating healthy and cooking more at home. It's really me challenging myself to use my Bountiful Basket items. I've used a lot of great recipes in the last few weeks and wanted to to catalog them somewhere - mainly so my mom can find them easily! :) They are all pretty veggie-filled, so if you're a steak and tater kind person - ignore the food posts! 
Also, I often forget to take pics of my food or they are terrible quick photos. I'm cooking how am I supposed to remember to take pictures too? Seriously, Pioneer Woman - HOW DO YOU DO IT!?

I took a picture pre-baking but forgot to before we devoured it. 

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes

1 Anaheim pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 orange bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
2 medium baking potatoes, cut into chunks
1 can of corn kernels
1 cup of mushrooms
1 cup of spinach
3 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
½ cup cilantro
2 cups salsa
9-10 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese

Sour cream and scallions for garnish, if desired.

1.       Rinse and chop vegetables
2.       Roast in oven at 425 degrees with oil, cumin, s/p for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes
3.       Mix salsa and cilantro
4.       Layer salsa, tortillas, spinach, veggies, cheese
5.       Bake again, covered with foil at 350 for 20 minutes
6.       Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until cheese browns
7.       Cool for a few minutes and ENJOY :)