Well, we made it! A week in Ecuador! There are so many things to tell you. Let's start with:
Monday, after we arrived we went to the market in Quito. It is an amazing place! There are rows of artisans selling their goods...tons of jewelry, panchos, t-shirts, bags, purses and more jewelry! We had a great time. Then we got on the bus and drove to Camp Chacauco...four hours! It was a really crazy ride. The lines on the roads are merely suggestions, there is no true speed limit, no use of blinkers or brakes for that matter...CRAZY! When we arrived at the camp we got to walk around on a tour and it is absolutely gorgeous, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. As we drove into the camp we saw the city of Ambato, a city of about 250,000. It is a beautiful city in the valley just below the volcano, Tungurahua. Tungurahua is the most active volcano in the world right now. It spits out puffs of steam regularly through the day and you can see the lava glow from the crater at night. It is a truly amazing sight...to see God's creation in that way.
Tuesday, we went to visit the Quichua people in Apatug...a truly wonderful people. They are an Indian people who live off the land and the missionaries at Camp Chacauco have begun a Christian work in their community and God is moving in a mighty way. After we visited the Quichua people we went back to the camp for lunch and then headed out again to a town called Banos. There we went to Pailon del Diablo, the Devil's Cauldron. It is an incredible waterfall. We walked about 25 minutes down to the bridge and the base of the waterfall...of course since we walked down...that's right we had to walk back up! Forty five minutes later we finally got to the top! It was a rough hike! The altitude was the worst part it winded all of us very quickly! After we hiked back up we went to ride a cable car. The cable car was built by the townspeople as a means to move their goods from one side of the river to the other. They still use it for that purpose today. Tuesday was a long day and we were exhausted, but it was still a true gift from God to experience it all.
Wednesday, we went to a town called Pelileo to a school the missionaries are involved in called La Paz. The children are beautiful. They enjoyed hearing Paul TRY to speak Spanish...hilarious! We took the kids pictures so that the missionaries can print them out and take them back for the children's families. We also sang and played games with the children. God does an awesome work even when we don’t speak the language. He communicated through us His love and compassion for a people that we couldn’t even speak to. I am truly, truly amazed at His ability to transcend all language barriers to communicate His love. After we left the school our leader took us into downtown Pelileo for some Quy…that’s guinea pig! Yep, I said guinea pig. It’s a delicacy in Ecuador…and it tastes like chicken…no, seriously! It tastes like dark meat chicken…a little more greasy, but still chicken-esque! That was fun! The Lord proved Himself again as we went that evening to what the missionaries call a Mission Point. It was a Bible study in a town called Poatug. We met there in a small one room church with a group of people hungry for the Word. A man named Freddy, who is part of the Camp Chacauco staff, led the worship and bible study. Freddy started with How Great Thou Art in Spanish…of course, but we (the gringos!) sang in English. How AWESOME! Here we were singing to Jesus in two different languages…the same song. It was a wonderful experience. We serve such a Holy God that He can hear the same song in two different languages at the same time! I’m not sure why it was such a surprise, but it was beautiful.
Thursday, we woke up and drove to a town called Quisapincha where there is a leather market. They have some beautiful handmade leather jackets, wallets and purses. After the leather market we drove to the Equator. How awesome is it to stand in the center of the Earth? Let me tell you…it is amazing. There is literally a line drawn down the middle. It is pretty cool to think that we were literally standing halfway between the North Pole and the South Pole! After the Equator we went to the Sol del Quito, our hotel until Friday morning. That is where I am now…so I will leave you with all of that info and a few pics and I will blog again when I get home!