Immediately after Commissioning on Saturday night, we excitedly boarded our bus for the airport in Orlando and our team “party” with all the wonderful goodies parents had sent in and dropped off. We quickly claimed a quiet, cozy corner where there was literally no foot traffic…except for the Maintenance Director of the entire airport, whose office was nearby. All our duffels were lined up and the kids camped out in their sleeping bags when he came by to see if we needed anything. I explained where we had come from, where we were going, and that just being in AC and getting to sleep was enough! He said he would inform one of his managers to reset the timer on the AC so it would stay on all night for us. He also said he would try to do something special for us. The next morning, we awoke to a cart with two bins filled with ice and ice-cold bottles of water! What a treat! Sunday flew by as we prepared to fly out at 4 PM. We discovered that Faith is an organizational whiz, and she was very helpful as we re-organized some supplies before checking our bags. Before long we were in Bogota. There was a flight delay in Bogota due to weather, which gave us a little more breathing room when eating dinner. After that, it was a short 1-1/2 hour flight to Quito! It was 2 AM when we finally cleared customs with all 47 bags and NO issues. Big answer to prayer! Due to a time mix-up, we were at the airport longer than expected, so we just camped out like we did in Orlando to await the arrival of our bus . During the day, the kids kept themselves entertained with creative games, and we also got to explore the shopping area of the airport. Devotions (“devos”) were delayed until noon or so due to not getting to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. Afterward, we had a time for team members to share prayer requests, followed by team prayer, including prayer for the bus to arrive SOON. I shared with them the verse in James that I had just read during devos, about the testing of our faith producing patience, and how waiting for the bus was a great chance to learn patience. When we were done praying, Kymberly helped me teach the team two new verses to “Fill Up My Cup”, including the last verse which is made up entirely of “Hallelujah”. It was while singing this verse the second time through, that Benjamin (the coordinator of the TMI base in Ecuador) walked up! The whole team broke out into a spontaneous cheer! It was obvious by the kids’ reactions that the timing of Ben’s (and the bus’s) arrival–right after prayer and praise–was not lost on anyone. I know it brought tears to this leader’s eyes!
Ben took us to an Ecuadorian fast food restaurant for a late lunch where we had our fill of delicious chicken, hamburgers, and Ostrich burgers! We arrived at the base just after dark, and the kids finished unpacking all the duffel bags of food and moving their own belongings into their rooms a short while ago. From where I’m sitting, I can hear their excited voices chattering as they settle in and have a light, late supper. They were very excited to learn they have a toilet in their room that doesn’t require a bucket of water to flush (like at Boot Camp)! So only having to throw away (rather than flush) their toilet paper is an improvement over the last two weeks. 🙂
It was about 61 degrees when we arrived in Quito. It’s MUCH cooler now at 9:00 PM, but no one is complaining! It’s such a refreshing change! The kids are now in bed and will get to sleep late tomorrow (7:30 wake-up compared to 5:30 at BC).
There are a couple kids with colds, but nothing serious, and we’re praying it doesn’t pass through the whole team. We’re continuing to push water just like we did at BC since there is still a danger of dehydration from the high elevation. It might prove to be a little more challenging, since they won’t “feel” the need like they did at BC.
Please pray for us as we adjust to the high altitude and recover from the long travel and little sleep. Next report I will share a little bit about our leaders so you’ll know more about who your kids are spending their summer with. I only have one quote to share today, and it’s from the youngest member of our team, Travis (Spark Plug). He sat in my row on our flight to Bogota, which also happened to be his very first time on a plane. I wish I’d had my camera ready to capture the look on his face when we lifted off the runway. It was priceless! When we were at cruising altitude, he announced, “I just LOVE it up here!” 😀
Thank you for all your prayers…they are FELT! ~Celeste