We all got to ecuador well and you have already heard. Things here are not rough at all really. Even without my luggage, life here isn’t difficult for us except for the altitude. You can pray especially for Matt Tweedie and Marie. They are doing well, but having some headaches and tiredness. They are troopers and you can’t even tell they are feeling sick.
The city we are staying in is Cayambe. It is located about 2 hours outside of Quito which is the capital and main city. We are staying in a hostel that has four floors and we take up about half of it. There aren’t too many other guests, so it is a nice base of operations for us. I think the ladies that work there like us too cause we give candy to their kids and Sheila always gives them some of the breakfast we buy to eat back at the hostel. Cayambe, itself, is not a large town. In an hour, you can walk across the entire town, south to north. I will send pictures when I can. This internet cafe doesn t have what I need to load pictures or video.
Ecuador is beautiful. It makes me want to backpack the country–green hills full of trees, rivers, and there are the flowers everywhere which the country is known for. You see horses and sheep roaming free everywhere.
Good Samaritan Church
The church is located 10 km south of Cayambe and is called the Good Samaritan Church in the town of Guachala. The church is at a crossroads and looks like houses spread out on the hills. There are no major buildings.
The church might be the biggest building there. The church has the sanctuary which is a simple building, the fellowship hall which they are building, and a cement field which has an unforgiving basketball court where they play “equivolley” (Ecuadorian volleyball), basketball, and soccer. The fellowship hall is what they are trying to finish. The building is something they want to use to allow people who miss the bus at the crossroads there to sleep cause if they try and walk up the hill to where they live, they might get robbed by hill bandits. And you can see why, cause it is pitch black up those hills.
The first contact we had with the church was on Saturday and it was great. The people here are really warm and friendly. They are so servant-like to us that it is humbling. We came to serve them, but they are serving us so much. There are about 50 people that come to the church of all different ages.
The first day (Saturday) we spent hanging out and getting to know the people of the church. We played a little soccer and played games with the kids. The kids are ridiculously adorable just like the IBC kids. Later on Saturday night, we had a service. At the service, they had this band of guys who played some amazing music. I think IBC’s praise band needs to look into getting a pipe player! And the guy who was playing drums – more like a bongo drum – might even be able to teach Gabe a thing or two. I will try and upload some video of it, so keep checking the site.
At the service, Gary taught about the necessity and importance of Scripture. It was amazing how the church was paying attention and able to understand. Steve Runyan did an awesome job translating, with people laughing and helping if there was a word he was searching for. Even with my limited knowledge of Spanish, I could tell the people were paying attention cause of the questions they would ask, particularly when certain words didn’t have exactly the same meaning. This time, Gary taught for an hour and a half.
Just to show you how commited the Ecuadorians are, there was one member of their church who worked from 1AM to 6PM and then came to church to listen to Gary teach. Now, if I was working from 1AM to 6AM, I might have a hard time even coming to hear someone speak for an hour. but for someone who worked from 1Am-6PM… Amazing!
Afterwards, they fed us cuy – guinea pigs if you didn t know. We each got half a cuy. They even showed us where they grew them and how they cooked them. The pen where they kept the cuy had only two cuy left because they fed them all to us. They cooked like 8 of them to feed us and to cook the cuy, they have to hold it over an open fire for an hour, turning it by hand on these sticks… by hand for an hour! The ladies were nice and let us try for a few minutes, but I think I would have gotten blisters after an hour.
After the service, they fed us first and had us sit at tables while the rest of the church would sit on benches without table tops. We realized that while we were eating cuy (which took two months to raise), the rest of the church was eating chicken. Truly humbling how the Ecuadorians gave us the best that they have and all with great joy and service. I know we came out to teach them, but there is so much we can learn from them about service and hospitality.
OK, I got to go eat lunch, but will try and update later today if Pastor Dave gets rid of my curfew, but to end this email, we have found there are four things which are universal:
1. Taxes – Jenn was trying to explain accounting and Sheila told her to just say taxes, they totally got it.
2. That one “Single Guy” – The pastor was asking which of the ladies were single and telling them that their praise leader was single. I think he was joking, but maybe not. I think they should consider thinking about it cause he was good looking, could sing, and probably pretty godly.
3. Chinese food – We ate at a chinese restaurant last night which was pretty tasty. They didn t have everything, but they had won ton soup which was good.
4. Hillsong – The Ecuadorians know some english songs and requested that we do the praise for next sunday. So, we are getting ready for that with both spanish and english songs.
We started VBS, so please pray for the hearts of the children who have been very receptive to us. There are about 60 of them on the first day which was yesterday. Today, we think we will have a lot more.
We miss all of you and keep you in our prayers as well.
Your Ecuador Team via Mark Choi, IBC’s “Single Guy”