|Yost finds purpose in Ecuador jungles|
|Written by Darci Tomky|
Many people have yet to find their purpose in life, but for 21-year-old Kaitlin Yost, her purpose is clear.
Missions in Ecuador, to be exact.
Three months in this South American country was a time of discovery that probably changed this young woman more than the people she traveled there to serve.
From Feb. 23-May 16, Yost was a missionary intern with AG World Missions in Sucúa, Ecuador. She and two other college-age girls teamed up with full-time missionaries Joil and Leah Marbut, who work with short-term jungle missionary interns during a couple sessions each year.
Jungle life wasn’t new to Yost. She had traveled to Ecuador for a 10-day AG World Missions trip in March 2013 with her school, South Carolina School of Leadership, to build a church and host kids’ programs in the dense jungle.
Since finishing school a year ago and staying in Columbia, S.C., Yost knew another trip to Ecuador was in her future. “The Lord really spoke on my heart that I was supposed to go back,” she said, noting she loves the jungle and the people in that country. “I was made for it.”
It was a humbling experience for Yost to be a part of something bigger than herself—getting the chance to sacrifice for God and let him change her heart.
She was reminded of the Bible verse when Jesus said, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
Kaitlin Yost, pictured second from right, interacts with some Ecuadorian children during ministry in a small jungle village. After a three-month internship in Ecuador, Yost embraced a passion for this South American country and has plans to return.
While in Sucúa, Yost built relationships with 23 girls ages 10-22 living in the Hope House. These girls were rescued from abusive situations in the Ecuador jungle because, as Yost explained, at age 10, girls are expected to either get married and have children or serve in what is basically slave labor. The Hope House is there to give them hope and an education.
Yost also did a variety of jobs, like helping out at church services or working with kids’ churches in smaller villages in the interior of the jungle. She also worked at a medical clinic that served 2,000 people in one week.
She experienced much of Ecuador while in the country for three months, including a hike at 18,000 feet at the base of Chimborazo, both a glacier and volcano that, at over 20,000 feet, is the point on the Earth’s surface that is the farthest from the Earth’s center.
Now back in the U.S., Yost is making adjustments to the very different culture—like hot water and huge department stores.
She learned some Spanish while in Ecuador, so she wants to continue Spanish classes in South Carolina while also finishing some classes for her pastor credentials, which she began working toward during her biblical studies/leadership classes at South Carolina School of Leadership.
Ecuador is still on this young woman’s heart, and the plan is to return there in one and a half or two years. Yost said she wants to serve as a missionary associate for a span of one or two years. Since the beginning, she has felt drawn to Ecuador, its people and the jungle life.
A 2011 homeschool graduate, Yost is the daughter of Brad and Kala Yost of Holyoke.
Holyoke Enterprise June 19, 2014