Our travel was uneventful except for a very slow security process in Orlando. We were at the TACA Airlines counter as soon as they opened, and they handled our 45 duffle bags efficiently, but still had to run, escorted by a TACA official, to board our flight. Once we arrived in Ecuador, we boarded the bus and as soon as we left the crowded streets of Quito, we were surrounded by breathtaking beauty. We arriived at the Ecuador base in the evening, unloaded the bus, assigned dorms, and went to bed exhausted. We took it easy on Wednesday, June 30. We set up the kitchen, and worked on becoming acclimated to the altitude and cool weather. The weather changes rapidly. As soon as the sun begins to warm up, the clouds quickly return, the cold wind blows, and the jackets, hats, and gloves go back on. We’ve had rain almost every day, but for short periods. On Thursday, July 1, we dismantled failing clay tile roofs off several buildings, Several team members battled altitude sicknes, but they were well the next day. Different jobs were handed out on Friday, July 2. Most involved moving dirt. A septic tank area was prepared, and we got to meet the pigs (much dirtier than Lily). Our appetites grew, and but the amazing spaghetti bake satisfied us! Also, space heataers were put in our rooms! Saturday, July 3rd – Although we were given a later wake-up time, we were wide awake by 6:30. We used the extra time to play guitar, work on Bible verses, and finishing GG assignments. After four hours of work, we completed our skit and played the game “Never Have I Ever” and had a blast! After group devos, we received our Secret Prayer Partners. Sunday, July 4th – Happy Independence Day! We got up early and headed to church. The music was incredible. We recognized all the songs and were able to follow along in Spanish. We performed two songs and presented our skit. During the sermon, which was about how to share the gospel using the four spiritual laws, many of us understood enough to participate. Many church members hugged us as we left. Driving home, we sang worship songs and waved at people out on Sunday strolls. Back at the camp, we practiced our Bible quizzing, and played soccer. Then we straightened up our rooms and went to sleep.
Rachel T. writes:
It was not my decision to come to TMI. I wanted to stay home, hang out with my friends, and enjoy a relaxing summer. But knowing that I had no choice in the matter, I tried to make the best of it knowing that it would be a wasted summer. The first few days of BC were horrible. Getting ready in five minutes, being constantly reminded to walk in a single file, and having no free time because of the Piggy award contributed to my poor attitude. During the latter half of the first week, I slowly changed. Getting to know everyone showed me that I wasn’t alone in the struggles I faced. Eventually I learned to listen to my leaders and began to enjoy the summer I thought I would hate. Commissioning night was incredible! BC felt like home; I was comfortable there and didn’t want to leave. God had equipped me with His word and I felt ready to take it out into the world. Since arriving here in Ecuador, God continues to work in me. Daily devotions have gone from a joke to something that I crave. God has shown me that I must obey Him and give up my old habits to become a servant for Him. He will challenge me with verses and clearly tell me things I need to do. As hard as it is to clearly follow Him, He uses everything for good, and His plans are always in my best interest, whether I know it at the time or not.