After a long overnight flight for the UK team, and 5 hours waiting in Quito for our team from Guatemala, we all made it to Ecuador smoothly and easily.
Our first Ecuadorean experience was taking the public bus from the airport to the bus terminal – our suitcases rammed into the door as we flew round a corner, and we were surprised at the number of people jumping onto the moving bus! Despite this, our trip to Santo Domingo was fun and we arrived safely.
Our first day was spent with Abby, our Short Term Coordinator, learning more about what we’ll be doing here. Our second day has been the highlight for many. We visited a small village called San Pedro, around an hour from our apartment, and several of us got to ride in the back of the pick up truck. Here we visited some people from the San Pedro church plant, and got to explore the finca where they were growing oranges and cocoa beans. Everything was delicious, and we followed it up with a swim in the river. By that point we definitely needed to cool down, so a swim was the perfect way to do it.
Everyone has been so hospitable to us, we’ve been very well received and welcomed. This is particularly true for the church plant in San Pedro, where we enjoyed a meal together after the service. It was clear to us that God was working in the community as the church is steadily growing in attendance. His presence was even there in our game of football which had more players every minute, not just from the church but from the local community. He was also with Genoveva as she preached to the church about the importance of unity.
On Friday we explored another part of Ecuador – Santo Domingo city centre. The city was very unlike places in the UK, but similar to many in Guatemala, so we all had a different experience. Something we all had in common was our enjoyment of the frozen yogurt! It really was delicious.
We’ve also really enjoyed bonding with the kids in the church through an English lesson, led by Tori, and lots of games thanks to James’ bouncy ball. On Saturday we took part in the church’s youth group, playing lots of games and listening to Lily share her testimony and a message. God has really helped us make these connections. Despite the language barrier faced by most of the team, we haven’t felt limited in our interactions. Our team devotionals have also helped in this respect, and given us valuable time to discover more about God-like qualities we should try to channel.
Our first Sunday church service was exciting as we were able to see the site we’ll be constructing on. Additionally, through God’s work some of us were able to get involved in the worship team, with Beth (P) on the drums for every song. Music has been a valuable connection between our team and the church. They have a really great worship team already, so we’ve been able to learn from their cohesiveness and get inspiration for our own churches at home.
We ask that you’ll pray for our continued protection during our time here, and that God will give us strength for our upcoming construction work. Overall, our first week has been filled with laughter, fun and good memories. It’s been a really blessed time for everyone.