Well we have made it, and can I just say it is pretty unreal. The people here are so loving and trusting and I just feel so blessed to be here and see all the awesome creations of our one incredible God! Yesterday we started on a journey to the jungle unaware if we would even make it here yet our loving God cleared the roads and other obstacles, bringing us to the jungle safe, which I think is pretty awesome in it of itself. On our long trek here we got to stop at many sweet places but the coolest to me was the waterfalls. Feeling the air on your face as we flew across on a wire hundreds of feet in the air is a big leap of faith on the people running it and the equipment and this in a lot of ways reminded me of our relationship with the Lord. It really is a leap of faith trusting in the him and I just thank him for the strength to be here spreading his good word and love.
Tonight we talked about God’s creation and how his artistic talents are looked past but when we actually take a moment to step back and look at what he has created and the beauty in this world it is kind of hard to believe that there are non-believers. We did this pretty neat river guide tour today and as we chugged along this river you look out to the sides of the river and saw people from different cultures and communities and just lifestyles and yet a simple wave is so universal and can be so heart-warming and welcoming when they don’t even know who you are.
On our river tour we ended up stopping at a refuge center for lost and hurting animals in need, and if any of y’all know anything about me you know how much I would love to do something along the lines of helping animals when I grow up so this was right up my alley. We walked around with this guy from Germany and that was just was cool seeing someone from so far away working there and throughout the walk we got to see some crazy monkeys, a huge anaconda, some cute turtles, an ocelot and an alligator (apparently not called that but that is what it looked like) and a few more exotic creatures which you don’t usually get to see on a daily basis.
From these animals though I saw a connection between today’s sermon at church and the animals in this refuge center. We read from Luke 15 which is all about the grace and love that the defiant and ungrateful son received when he returned home to his father. Our God is so loving and knowing that even when we stray and get lost or hurt he will always be there to nurture us back to health which is what they were doing at this center and I thought was pretty cool! As we start our first day of VBS and work in the jungle tomorrow I just ask that you keep our team in your prayers but also the people of this community so that they hear what we are trying to convey and that they truly feel the love of the Lord through our actions because that is why we are here! Our God is so good and I can’t wait to come back and share everything that we have experienced throughout the week! Love Em<3
After we spent our final night in Quito we were already longing to get to the jungle and begin our work for the school. Once we were all up we were treated to an amazing breakfast cooked by Ashley , which only excited us more for our journey to the jungle.
We said our goodbyes to Boris, Ms. Wilkinson, and Rachel and headed off on our long journey into the jungle. About 4 hours in we made it to our first stop of Banos, which is another city located in the mountains of Ecuador. We stopped for lunch at a local pizza place, which did not disappoint.
While we waited for our food, most of us got out and went shopping throughout the streets of Banos.
Roasted guinea pig salesmen lined the streets, but we were told to avoid it (unfortunately). Once shopping and lunch was complete we made our way to the side of a mountain to go on a cable car type contraption. The contraption, despite its shady look, was very fun and gave us a great view of a beautiful waterfall.
Our final stop after the cable car was the Nick Saint house, which is one of the most historic mission sites in Ecuador. Nick Saint was a pilot who flew missionaries out to the villages deep in the jungle not accessible by car. It was very cool to hear about people doing the same work we are doing way back then.
The jungle was only a couple of hours away, and all of us were dying to get there. We made it to the jungle right before dinner, and we were greeted by other friendly missionaries from Memphis who were leaving Sunday (Today). For the rest of the night we reminisced with our friends we made in Ecuador last year and began new friendships with the team from Memphis. Although we didn’t do any work on this travel day, it was amazing seeing all of Gods creation in this country so different than our own. On top of that it was also very eye opening to see what the people here do on a daily basis, and how much we take advantage of the luxuries we have in America. We look forward to working for the school here and being the hands and feet of God as we spend the next week here. Adios.
Today started out at 7:00 as most of us got up ready to enjoy the day. We hurried through our breakfast of fresh eggs, bread, and fruit. Then we all packed our bags, loaded the bus, and went on our way to Misahualli, the town in the jungle where we will be working the rest of the week. We started out our long bus ride with a view of Quito as we left the city. You could see the miles and miles of buildings, surrounded by mountains and a volcano. It was really great to see so much of God’s creation in all of its splendor.
About halfway through our drive, we arrived at the town of Baňos. In this town by the river, we ate lunch at a pizza restaurant. While waiting for food, we got to go shopping in some of the many store that the city had to offer.
On our way out of town, we took a mountain car across a canyon and back, we took a stop at the house of the original missionaries to that part of Ecuador, and then we continued on our journey across Ecuador to Misahualli.
Shell House, Missionary Air Service established in 1948.
As I am typing this, we are finishing our journey and arriving in Misahualli. It has been great to see how God has started to bond our team and prepare us for the work to come. It has also been amazing to see the cultural and landscape changes as we moved through Ecuador. As we continue on this mission trip, keep us, and more importantly the people we are serving, in your prayers as we finish this journey that God has laid out for us. I can’t wait for the rest of the work to begin!
As soon as our plane touched ground in Quito on Friday night, I was ready to go to work. I was so excited to return to the sounds and sights of Ecuador that I had fell in love with last year. On the flight, I made sure I focused heavily on clearing my mind of any expectations for our first day of work, since I knew God had been planning a whole new experience for me and my 27 team mates. As I lay in my top bunk at the hostel in Quito, although I had no idea what we were going to be doing the next day (unawareness is the Ecuadorian “way”), I excitedly said a quick prayer and went to so that I could be fully prepared for the big first day ahead of me.
And that brings us to yesterday. We spent the first half of the day doing some much needed exterior painting at Boris’s ministry, Dunamis. We transformed the exterior walls from a dark brown and dirty white to a vibrant lime green and fresh white, which I know will make the building more welcoming to young women coming out of the darkness of human trafficking and abusive family homes.
The teamwork here was incredible (which excited me for the rest of the week) and Boris’s cute puppy named Princesa made the perfect painting companion.
After getting a nice coat of paint on the house and on myself, our crew got ready to go journey through the hustle and bustle of Quito. We went to a monument at the top of the city that overlooked everything, and let me tell you-It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. There were millions of little homes and buildings crowded along every fold of the mountains, which rolled on as far as you could see. I felt so little but so big as I stood on top of a monument that overlooked everything even more. After spending some time there, we trekked over to the food court at a local mall in Quito where we ate a wide variety of typical Ecuadorian food court foods. Like all food courts everywhere, this one had a McDonald’s so I got myself a big mac and chowed down.
We spent the rest of the night here just chilling and people watching, although I’m pretty sure they were more fascinated with us giant, Chaco-wearing Americans. Looking back now, yesterday was an awesome, adventurous, fun-filled first day in my favorite place in the world. It was nothing like the previous year and I know it will be nothing like any of the other days in store this week. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in the jungle!!!!
When the team left this morning for the jungle, Boris took Rachel and me to our host home. Monica, Boris’ mother-in-law and her husband Fernando are our gracious hosts. And Monica speaks English – thank you, Lord! She teaches the girls at Dunamis how to sew and make jewelry. With our shared passion for jewelry (and chocolate), we really hit it off.
Though we brought about 150 pounds of clay and 50 more pounds of tools and supplies, we still needed some more – things like baking sheets, paper towels, plastic bins, and some other items that were easier to buy in-country rather than transport in. It took us more than 5 hours, but we got everything we need and were able to experience the non-touristy side of Quito.
Jacqueline, an intern at Dunamis who is here for 6 weeks, is also staying here with Monica and Fernando, so we’re sure to have fun and be well taken care of. An answer to prayer for both of us since Rachel is the Spanish speaker for us and I’m supposed to be the leader!
We’ll also be posting every day on my RWD blogsite with more pictures and updates about what we are doing. To check it out, visit http://robinwilkinsondesigns.blogspot.com/
Hello everyone back at home! I hope all is well in the States.
It would be an understatement to say that today was a fabulous Friday! To start off the day, we got to sleep in a little which was a true blessing and then headed to Dunamis to help Boris and the crew out. We cleaned and scraped the existing exterior walls of their building and repainted the whole thing! Originally, it was red/brown, white (more like a super light yellowey color), and black. We painted the once red/brown accent parts an extremely pretty minty green color and then repainted the white to give the building a whole new face! It was, in a strange and fulfilling way, very cleansing and refreshing! As I worked, I couldn’t help but smile thinking about how excited the girls are going to be to see the new building! I think it will offer a little bit of hope and a sense of rejuvenation within the girls and Boris’s family. I almost felt like we should’ve been featured on an HGTV show mission work edition for extreme makeovers! Anyways, all in all I think we all would rate the day a solid 10 out of 10. The most rewarding part of the whole thing was seeing how excited Boris was to see the finished work. Hard work paid off today on Fabulous Friday!