Before I even begin to talk about our amazing trip to Ecuador, I have to tell you that I have really missed blogging and I have been so excited to tell you everything!
Now that that’s out of the way.. let’s get to the good stuff. I traveled in a 20-person group from our home church to Quito, Ecuador, where we met up with Jon & Shirley Fischer. Jon & Shirley are wonderful people who are Nazarene missionaries working in Ecuador. They helped to plan and arrange all of our activities for the trip. You can learn more about them and their ministry as Work & Witness Coordinators here.
During our stay, we had two big projects. We helped to complete a new church building in a residential area of Guaranda, Ecuador. This included building walls on the second floor with cinderblocks and mortar, constructing a roof, and connecting the building’s water line to the street’s water line. This church will be a Compassion International center when it is finished. Our group was part of a huge project through local church pastors, Compassion International, and Samaritan’s Purse to build 12 new churches in the near future, and so far there are over 3,000 children who are registered to begin receiving services at these churches when they are finished. That’s 3,000 children in the Bolivar province who will hear the Gospel, and who could possibly bring their parents to church too! It’s amazing to witness and be a part of the work that good people are doing in the church in Ecuador.
The second project was hosting a vacation bible school (VBS) for children at another church. Our VBS program included singing praise and worship songs, memorizing Bible verses, performing skits of well-known Bible stories, playing games, and making crafts together. Some of the crafts we did included making small canvas bags, painting clear crosses, and making salvation bracelets. The kids and the parents loved all these and were so proud of their work when it was finished! We worked on both projects each day, and both of them went great! We accomplished our construction goals are the job site and the children (and some parents too!) had fun while learning more about who Jesus is. What more can you ask for? 🙂
We did spend some time doing “tourist things”. This included going to the markets in Otavalo, visiting the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo’s Equator monument (home of the “fake” equator), seeing the Intiñan Solar Museum (home of the real equator), and visiting Cotacachi, aka Leather Town. It was fun, and very interesting, to see all the products that locals hand-make and sell at the Otavalo market every day! The market is a huge feast for the eyes of vibrant colors and festive patterns on blankets, scarves, and beautiful tapestries. It was quite the experience, even if it is slightly overwhelming!
Overall, this trip was amazing! Ecuador is a gorgeous country, and we experienced wonderful hospitality from both friends and strangers during our stay. We ate most of our meals at two churches – one church is the same one we did VBS at, and the other was a couple blocks away from our hotel. At the VBS church, Marcia cooked us chicken & rice, fresh guacamole, spaghetti, potato soup with cilantro, beef empanadas, and (my personal favorite!) Perro Caliente Colombiano, or Colombian Hot Dogs! It’s a hot dog on a bun with pineapple, mayonnaise, ketchup, and potato chips on top. It sounds pretty American – minus the pineapple – but Pastor Andres swears this is a native dish! All I have to say is that it’s delicious. Seriously.
Thanks for reading my very long post about my time in Ecuador! If you can’t tell, I absolutely loved this trip, and I would go back in a heartbeat! A couple of my very favorite parts of this trip was spending time with Craig (my father-in-law), and Kate (my sister-in-law), getting to know all the new people on our team, hearing the story of Jon & Shirley’s ministry, and and playing with all the children at VBS. If you have any questions for me about the trip, or if you’d like to hear more in-depth stories, just ask! I would be so happy to tell them, because I have tons of great stories. 🙂 Take a look at the photo gallery below, and if you have any, leave your responses in the comments! I would love to hear from you.