Friday several members of the team finally got to use the skills they learned in the cement class at Boot Camp as they mixed and poured cement for part of the Obstacle Course. Elijah was excited to get pulled from a job to help Mr. Chris with welding some beams for another part of the OC. By Saturday, all the work on the OC was done except for filling the slough with water….one bucket at a time…which they did today (Monday).
Saturday was our sightseeing day, but we spent the morning visiting Compassion International’s base in Quito and learning about their ministry there. We came during the last day of a soccer tournament they were hosting, so following an outdoor puppet presentation, the team kept busy making balloons for the lines of kids, passing out Gospel coloring books, and having balloon “sword” fights with the kids. Parker, Garrett, Joelle, Rachel, Cheese (Josh), Payton, Jeremy, Bada, Abraham, and Payton made balloon “sculptures” for the very first time. Faith learned how to make dogs, Berea figured out how to make teddy bears, and Rachel figured out how to make flowers. (Miss Tisha was dubbed the “balloon doctor”, as she tried to fix partially deflated balloons!) Balloon swords were definitely the hottest item of the day! Matthew and Darin were recruited by Compassion staff to pass out food and cold drinks to visitors. John showed his generosity by using his own money at the snack shop there to buy candy to pass out to the kids. Kymberly, Joelle, Alex, Elijah, Payton, Silas, Darin, and Abraham were chosen to play a pick-up soccer game with some of the Compassion kids. (They were divided up so North Americans and Ecuadorians made up both teams.) Silas, Darin and Payton all scored goals!
Saturday after lunch we headed to Mitad del Mundo (the equator) and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon souvenir shopping at the many shops and posing for pictures with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one foot in the southern hemisphere! We noticed “vegetarian platter” on the sign at one of the first restaurants we passed, so Berea’s travel group made sure to take her there for dinner. (Berea is the lone vegetarian on the team.) Bada was the only team member to order guinea pig for dinner, and he says it was great! Almost everyone else chose to order cheeseburgers and fries from the place next door. (Speaking of burgers, the kids wanted me to mention something we should have shared in our first update from the field: When we stopped to eat on our way from the airport to the base, Garrett, Seth, Travis, Silas, Andrew, Abraham, Rachel and Payton enjoyed their first ever ostrich burger!) Knives seemed to be the most popular souvenir bought (all of which were promptly handed in until after Debrief) though some of the team also discovered a music shop at Mitad del Mundo. Matthew has been “serenading” his dorm with his new recorder, though he hasn’t been persuaded to play for the rest of us…yet!
Sunday we did a presentation at another church in Latacunga which was very well received. The woman who arranged for us to come the church is the host of a Christian TV program in Ecuador which airs every Sunday. She also happens to be a Former Team Member and BMW student, having gone through Boot Camp here at the base in Ecuador. She is bringing her TV crew here tomorrow to film the Ecuadorian teens who just arrived for Boot Camp Sunday evening. Our kids are very excited about getting to serve as judges and encouragers as the teams start running the OC this afternoon. It’s been fun for the kids to see their Ecuadorian counterparts going through the Boot Camp classes today that they themselves went through only a few short weeks ago.
The kids were excited when Miss Celeste and Miss Tisha opened up a camp store where they can buy treats like cookies, crackers, and juice boxes, as well as necessities like toothbrushes, toothpaste, chapstick and water bottles. We continue to enjoy lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and eggs from the local market. So far the team’s favorite meals have been spaghetti with salad and garlic bread, tacos, and taco soup. And bacon! Bacon for breakfast, bacon in BLTs and leftover bacon in pretty much anything! The team is in for a treat when they find out Miss Tisha, Kymberly and John are making cinnamon rolls to go with our hot chocolate tonight. 🙂 Our kitchen is a large one-room building with windows stretching all the way across all four walls (which are wonderful both for the amazing view and for keeping an eye on kids!). Last night the lady leaders and KP kids had an amusing sight while making dinner. Bada, Matthew and Silas stood outside peering in the window just beyond our stove, holding up signs such as “SOS” and “Save Our Stomachs” as they waited for dinner to be ready. They were quite entertaining!
Mr. Chris, Mr. Erik, and some of the team have been working to put in a hot water heater today so we might finally be able to start taking showers! (If the drains cooperate.) Or, at the very least, we’ll be able to get hot water directly from the bathroom for our bucket baths instead of having every burner in the kitchen being used to heat water all day every day!
Our bikes came back from the repair shop today so the team is looking forward to getting back to pedaling instead of hiking!
Please pray that we will not grow weary but will finish well the race that’s before us. One of our Bible studies last week was on Esther. The kids participated really well and seemed to grasp the importance of our being here for “such a time as this”, just as Queen Esther was. We don’t want to miss out on anything the Lord wants to do in us or through us while we’re here. Thank you for your continued prayers! ~Celeste
“Wednesday was my favorite day because I got to translate and several kids accepted Christ. And we got to play basketball with them!” ~ John
“Going to church and doing the presentations are fun. Standing on either side of the equator was too!” ~Kymberly
“I’m learning patience ‘cuz I’m normally really scheduled, and here every day can be different. But then I realize it’s not in my hands, so I just put it in God’s hands. I’ve learned that you can share anywhere. Our mission isn’t only here. Our mission can be our friends back home.” ~Rachel
“I think it’s interesting that you can be driving and be in a poor area and then a few minutes later, you’re in a wealthier area. But it seems like the poor have more than the rich in a way.” ~Andrew
“I’ve learned that I can do things even though they might be hard. God has taught me that I don’t need to be homesick, because if I’m a believer I don’t have to be afraid. He’ll take care of my family and me and everyone else’s families. That’s how I got over homesickness.” ~Dean
“I enjoy the view and going to villages. I’m excited that we’re going to run (judge) the obstacle course.” (Did you like the OC at Boot Camp?) “Yeah….but I fell in the slough a lot!” ~Matthew
“I enjoyed my cheeseburger and fries!” ~Garrett
“I’m learning that we have it a lot easier in America–in pretty much every way.” ~Seth
“The Lord has taught me it’s a lot more work here. In America, it’s pretty much easier to get work done because we have more money to buy machinery to do work. It’s fun here. I liked the sightseeing day and I like all the BMW students here. And I like evangelizing the kids, seeing all the kids with smiles on their faces. Even if we’re making fools of ourselves and they’re just laughing at us, it’s nice to see smiles on their faces!” ~Darin
“God’s spoken to me because I’ve been thinking about that sermon from Boot Camp where he talked about ending relationships that have a negative influence on us. I thought about the fact that, like being a missionary overseas, I can be a missionary at home. You don’t have to go far to change people’s lives.” ~ Cheese
“One of my favorite things was building the OC. I’m looking forward to getting to judge it. Mr. Ben said I might be able to judge the slough or the 5 D’s, which will be the funniest parts!” ~Spark Plug (Travis)
“I’ve learned that basically, we’re helpless. We’re sinners and we can’t do anything on our own. In the comfort of our houses in America, we don’t realize we need Him because of all the luxuries we have. We’re very ‘gourmet’ at home, but here we’re ‘spartan’. Here we realize that even with our luxuries at home, we still need Jesus.” ~Faith
As kids were discussing the difference between life at home and life here: “We rely more on technology than the Holy Spirit.” ~Cheese