Saturday, July 18, 2009

Goodbye Ecuador

It is now saturday morning and we left El Refgio where we have been for the last 3 days. We are now helping at our last ministry site called La Red. After we finish here we will be going to a local market to purchase a few items and then off to the airport. We will arrive in Los Angeles at midnight tonight and then spend the next 2 days for some R & R and some final debriefing with the team. This has been a trip of a lifetime for us and we are so excited to come home and tell everyone what God has shown us. Thanks again for your prayers and support. We will see you on Monday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Off to the highlands

Yesterday was our last day in the village of Shandia. It was very hot and rainy, with morning fog covering the jungle floor. We spent the morning interacting with the kids from the village; learning spanish, teaching english and giving piggy back rides. We also built concrete forms out of trees that were cut from the jungle and mixed concrete for a second floor in the pastor´s home. The concrete is mixed on the ground and moved by means of a bucket brigade into the house and up ladders. Others of our team were involved in digging trenches for a septic system as well as helping to paint the outside of the house.
In the afternoon we hosted another day of VBS for about 30 kids. They are so enthusiastic and ready to be a part of anything with the gringos.
After the VBS we walked down the river to the house where Jim Elliot lived while he was in Shandia. A local lady (who was there while Jim Elliot lived there) told us very emotional stories of his ministry while in the village...quite a sobering experience after knowing the story of his love and sacrifice for the people.
Now the dreaded time had come. Time to say goodbye. We all had at least 1 or 2 kids who have adopted us and wait for us when we get of the bus. More pictures were taken in the last 30 minutes than at any news conference in the U.S. Lots of hugs and kisses and sad hearts as we boarded the bus to drive back to Tena.
The people in Shandia have won our hearts, and we will not soon forget them.
When we returned to our hostal (as satan likes to do) we found that some items from our bags had been stolen while we were gone. However, our spirits are still good and we are focusing on people and not things!
Today we will go to El Refugio which is 6 hour bus ride into the highlands (11,000 ft) where we will be for the next few days.
The team has been amazing!! They have worked incredibly hard in whatever they are doing, and have all gotten out of their comfort zones in amazing ways. I can´t say enough about your kids and how proud I am of them. Thank you for letting us embark on this experience together. We have grown closer together and to a new appreciation of how God works.

Until the next post. Goodbye from Brian for the team!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

In the jungle the mighty jungle

Well we made it to the jungle (Tena) on Saturday night after 6 hours on the bus driving through the Andes mountains. Roads that are not for anyone who gets car sick with narrow bridges a few mudslides and views that can only be described as breathtaking! Saturday night we went to Shandia to meet the people and kids who we would be working with for the next few experience we will not soon forget.
Sunday we went to Shandia which is the village where Jim Elliot was based. We were a part of the service on sunday at the church singing in spanish and the indian language of qichua. They sing from their souls in a way that brings a smile to anyone who hears it. After church we drove 2 hours to the Napo river and road in 2 wooden canoes to a wildlife sanctuary where monkeys ran wild and we were introduced to animals of the Ecuadorian jungle. This was truely an amazing experience.
Today (monday) we drove back to Shandia and spent the morning helping the village with a couple of work projects. Part of the team sanded the outside of a building that was to be painted and the other half of us dug sand out of a river with buckets and then used wheel barrows to deliver it to a construction site 1/4 mile away. After lunch we went swimming in the Napo river with the kids from the village which was quite an envigorating experience. Then back to the village for VBS full of songs in spanish (songs about cold frogs in the river), bible stories and crafts that the children loved.
This village is full of welcoming people that mob our bus every time we arrive and depart. Goodbyes take 30 minutes every time.

We are truly having the trip of a lifetime!!! We have seen so much and the team has done so well. We are all learning more and more spanish and some Qichua; we have given more piggie back rides than we can count. We saw a grasshopper today the length of your hand, a spider the size of your hand and held a goliath beatle ( something that can only be described as looking like a small rino).

Everyone is healthy and happy. Thank you for your prayers and support. Addios from Ecuador.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cultural Day in Quito

We began our day today with an orientation to the ministries of Youth World to learn about all of the ways that they are ministering to the people of Ecuador. After that we had lunch at a local resturant then were off for an amazing day taking in some of the cultural sites of Quito today.
We went to tour the Basilica del Voto Nacional which was began in 1892 and is actually still under construction. This quite the experience, as we were able to climb to the top of the bell towers which were 250 feet above the ground below.
We then walked through old town which has so much old world architecture and streets that make Summit Park seem like a walk in the park. Our walk ended up in a plaza that is surrounded by yet another church, city hall, the palace of the arch bishop and the presidential palace. After some history about the country of Ecuador we walked up to the presidential palace to take a picture with the guards and we were asked if we would like to tour the palace. This was the first time that any group with youth world has ever had this opportunity, and it was incredible. This palace has been in existence for over 400 years and was filled with history and culture.
Tomorrow we will get on the bus with our driver Julio and he will take us 6 hours into the jungle to the town of Tena where we will stay for the next 5 days. We may not have an opportunity to update the blog while in the jungle but will try do so when we get back.

On the right side of this page are a few more pics of the last 2 days. Thanks for praying for us, we are learning a lot and having a blast.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

We are here!

We have arrived in Quito. Almost 24 hours, 3 flights, 2 fantastic airline meals, 1 nearly lost bag. Most of us were able to get some sleep on a couple of flights, but are looking forward to a bed tonight. It is very cool and cloudy here which we are told should be the norm. We just finished getting settled in the hostel where we will be for the next two days and will be having dinner at a leadership training center for former street kids. Cell service is not quite working how we had anticipated so posts might be less frequent...but we are here and we are safe. thanks for your prayers.

fun fact of the day: The Quito runway is the shortest international runway in the world, which translates to a very, very fast landing! Fun, Fun.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 8, 2009 They're off!

The team left this afternoon at 3:45pm after prayer and good byes.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Permission Form

As was included in the letter last week, we just found out that you need a letter from both parents that is notarized stating that you can leave the country with me. Kevin and Debra have the letters - make sure and have that done next week and give it back to Reeses.