Skip to content

Divine Encounter In Ecuador

by McKenna Clements

During spring break, 45 music students and several faculty traveled to Ecuador to mentor and worship alongside a recently established children’s orchestra in that country. After two flights and a 12-hour layover, the group landed in Quito ready to get started.

Within each moment of laughter, tuning instruments, loading trailers, long bus rides, and conversations over great food, the Pioneers began to form strong connections with their Ecuadorian counterparts.

“Our relationship was really cool,” said student Malachi Wasson. “I got to meet the children’s parents, and even now we continue to communicate with each other. Seeing the kids grow as musicians and the patience they displayed with the language barrier was great.”

Each night students represented MNU by performing with the children’s orchestra and by performing separate pieces under the direction of professors Dr. Luke Johnson, Dr. Christopher Smith and Katina Bilberry. In addition to performance, the students shared music through corporate worship at all six concerts.

Student Olivia Meehan said, “On the last night, people were singing and just praying and shouting. That brought me to tears for sure: the way the Holy Spirit was moving in that moment.”

Another student, Saira Juarez, was especially moved by the bilingual nature of worship in Ecuador. “It was awesome to see how much our students were moved through Spanish. They took the time to learn and to praise in Spanish, and I think that meant a lot to the people there,” said Juarez.

Students say this trip is best described as a divine encounter. From running up the volcano Chimborazo to visiting the remote Indichuris (Children of the Sun) tribe in the Amazon Basin, students were able to broaden their worldview while participating in their passion for music.

Johnson, chair of arts and humanities, co-led the trip, which was sponsored by Pioneer Trek.

“Many of our students haven’t traveled outside of the states, and so seeing how the people live was really eye-opening. The experience we had can change how students interact and view their lives,” Johnson said.

mnu quarterly publication
stay connected


Get connected with
MNU Alumni


Keep all your info up to date to stay connected