Ecuador Is Up, Down, Up, Down

…when it comes to Miss Piggy, that is!  In spite of experiencing the refreshing reward of coming in first place for Miss Piggy on the first day 70 Ecuador(swimming in the pool), Ecuador dropped all the way to last place the second night!  We did more instruction on what constitutes “Miss Piggy standards”, and by the third night we were back up in first…only to drop to last place yet again last night!  As Elijah said to a teen from the Dominican Republic team (who was helping some of our guys get the hang of bucket laundry), “It’s like after we come in first, we just relax and let our guard down.”  So we’re back to cleaning the bathrooms and any other chores we get assigned during our free hour.  The good news?  Your kids should be expert bathroom cleaners, floor moppers, push-broom sweepers, and trash can emptiers by the end of the summer!

If you were not able to tune into the live web stream of Sunday night’s combined rally, you can watch the archive and see Ecuador’s great team cheer (and our other two “awards”).  During the rally, an offering was taken to help the ministry, AIDS Orphans and Street Children (AOSC).  Each team had taken an offering at their own site earlier in the day to hand in at the evening rally.  Faith went up on stage for us and handed Mr. Bland Ecuador Bike’s offering which totaled over $600!
The team just finished their last Blocklaying Class today (Monday) and are looking forward to using their new skills on the field.  They continue to do extremely well in Music Class, especially on songs that require separate boy and girl parts.  For some reason the boys sing out loud and strong when they know it’s just “their” part.  🙂  Andrew did a great job teaching the team “Fill Up My Cup”, and it quickly became a favorite.  In fact, they sounded so good  that it became the melody for our first two team cheers.  We’re looking forward to Alex accompanying the team on his ukelele once we get to Ecuador.
Yesterday we celebrated Berea’s birthday by decorating her chair and our team’s area of the Big Top with a sign and balloons.  She wore her Happy Birthday crown while serving dinner at KP, and after dinner the team sang Happy Birthday to her while she blew out candles on her gluten free “birthday pancake” (which one of the lady leaders made for her in cooking class).
On the OC, more kids are getting over the Wall each day.  Parker got over for the first time today.  Kymberly continues to “take one for the team” and jump for the rope (and go for a dunk!) at the Slough each day so she can swing the rope back to a team member.   Last night I told her she should take a break from jumping for the rope so her boots had a chance to dry out, and she was so disappointed!
Ecuador is really beginning to gel as a team.  It’s so heartwarming to hear them encouraging each other throughout the day, whether it’s a boy struggling on the OC or one dealing with homesickness.  (So far our five girls haven’t struggled with either!)
 “Boot Camp is awesome.  The OC is epic, and I’m doing great!!!  I’m ready for the cold of Ecuador!”  ~(An)drew
“Hi, Mom!  Hi, Dad!  Boot Camp’s a lot easier the second time.  I’ve learned not to make the same mistake multiple times, like the judges.  They made the same mistakes multiple times and God said since they turned away so many times He wasn’t going to deliver them anymore like He had done before.  But then they repented, so He did.”  ~Seth
“I’m learning to appreciate what I have at home…like washing machines.”  ~Jeremy (right after he finished doing bucket laundry 🙂
“I think I’ve learned to appreciate being clean and tidy.  And patience from sharing a tent with a messy person.  What I’m still learning is to trust that everything’s going to be okay, no matter what happens.”  ~Silas
“I learned to let other people go first in the slough.  And I appreciate the wind!”  ~Alex
“I’m learning how to take care of myself, like if I was out in the wilderness without a lot of stuff.  And I’m also learning more about Christ, and learning how to teach it to other people.  ”  ~Garrett
“I’ve learned how to do laundry in a bucket!” ~ Elijah
“I’ve learned Jesus always comes first.” ~ Bada
“I’ve learned to be grateful for what I have, because you’re teaching us to prepare to go to countries that don’t have as much as we do.  Things I thought were little actually turned out to be a big part of life, like flushing toilets, taking a shower, and having a bed.”  ~ Cheese (Josh)
“I’ve learned that other people have less than we do.  Yesterday I wanted to go home because my feet hurt.  But then I reminded myself that I’m doing this because other people need to hear the good news of Christ.”  ~John
“God’s teaching me that Jesus was resurrected from the dead.  Like John 3:16…I’m learning more about it.  Before, I would just read it but there wasn’t any meaning to it. Now it has  meaning.”   ~Abraham 
“The Lord is teaching me how to be an overcomer in difficult things, like the Wall and the Slough.”  ~Joelle
“The Lord’s teaching me to focus on Him, because while at Boot Camp, we all focus on God.  We don’t have things we usually have at home to distract us.”  ~Payton
“I appreciate my parents for making me vegetarian meals!”   ~Berea



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