March 22, 2008

Dear Friends,

…early morning hot tea and honey writing at my desk. Out beyond my window the pond and woods are alive with signs of Spring. I feel so blessed and so grateful for my life. It is this gratitude I wish to offer you ….share with you.

Each of you reading this letter has been a part of my life journey and I yours. Lives are like that …. we meet and walk together and for a time we share our dreams and hopes and perhaps pursue a common goal together, each giving and receiving our own unique strengths from the other. And in this joining we spawn a greater effect, a greater impact on the world than we ever could alone. And we learn along the way that it is within this interchange that we truly come alive.

Each human contact contains within it potential beyond our imaginations. Each time we reach out to someone, each time we share a concern or a kindness, we impact the surface of creation like a pebble dropped into a still pond… the ripples of our actions continuing out touching countless lives in unknowable ways. How it all works is beyond knowing, but accepting our place in its perfection is not. Our very purpose is to share in the experience, and more … to use our talents and free will to co-create with the Universe in its infinitely abundant and beautiful design.

Last summer Wendy and I led a mission trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon. I can’t begin to explain to you how it all happened … but it has changed our lives forever. Not because of the money we raised or the work we did there. That is just the vehicle - like most of what we do each day, our jobs, our work – the what that carries us forward. But it is never the whatbut the how that matters – how we touch and how we share ourselves as we do whatever we do. Wendy and I traveled to a place and a people of incredible poverty and richness. We went to teach and in turn were taught, we went to give and in turn received gifts of open love and acceptance that filled our hearts to bursting. Barriers of language and culture melted away. Caring is what mattered - that we cared enough to travel to their village so far away, to hear their story and to join our lives with theirs. That, far more than the shelters we built, is what mattered to them.

Wendy and I are returning this summer. And we offer you this opportunity to join us in spirit. It is not easy to stop the business of our lives, to raise the funds, and to attend to the overwhelming logistics of organizing and leading a group to another part of the world. Through my work with the Episcopal organization, the Seabury Deanery, it has become clear to me that this is something I am meant to do. Each day in our lives, each one of us is given opportunity after opportunity to express our highest selves.

But Wendy and I need your help to do this.
We must raise a minimum of $15,000 to pay for our travel, our incountry expenses, and the cost of building materials and medical supplies we will need. Our dream is to create housing, a small school and job training center, and a medical clinic on the 33-acre compound known as La Finca at the edge of the Amazonian village of Puyo. Last summer we cleared jungle, dug septic systems, built houses and roads all by hand. Our hope is to eventually develop La Finca into a self-sustaining community, employing displaced indigenous people to staff a medical clinic and retreat center, and to farm an agricultural plantation. Wendy and I saw first hand the deforestation by Shell and other oil companies that is displacing entire indigenous villages on a daily basis. These people are forced from the jungle and thousands of years of the most precious heritage and culture – to live in squalor, begging at the edge of villages – their traditional means of providing for themselves stripped away with the rain forests.

And yet, despite years of American industry exploitation these same people welcomed us, worked along side us, laughed with us and shared all that they had. They wanted only for us to know and to honor who they were as a people. Their leader, a very old Keechawan Chieftain’s last words to Wendy and I as we left her village to return to America were… “do not forget us.”

Your gift in any amount in support of our Ecuador mission work is welcome and fully tax deductible. Checks should be made out to “The Seabury Deanery” notating “ the Warner’s ministry” below. You will receive a tax accreditation at the end of the year. And Wendy and I will share our journey with you through my journal entries and photography. You will see and feel the magic of Ecuador and know the love of the people and children your gift has helped us to serve.

I pray my writing and photography speak to you of the wondrous joy and beauty that continually fills this world we live in.

Peace,

George & Wendy Warner