Thursday Recap! (Pusano + Basketball Tournament!)

Greetings All! Another eventful day in the jungle here! We had the chance to partner with a small school in the Pusano area. We helped them with construction on a new classroom and did activities and simple lessons with some of the most precious students on the planet. Then we joined the Antioch Basketball Club for an afternoon of basketball games at Antioch School! It was a beautiful day! Please find some student testimonials and pictures below!

Cami Malone:

Hey y’all it’s Cami here! Ecuador 2022 so far has been one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever had. All the way from the mountainous terrain, to the food, to the Ecuadorian people – everything here is so different from the bubble we live in back home and I am so grateful for the opportunity to see it. Now, I could go on and on about how I have seen God in the girls at Dunamis and the children from JKC but one of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned actually came from my mom. After a devotional one night when we were discussing our day, she had a wise piece of reflection that has stuck with me all week. We as Americans often come into a third-world country thinking we are the saviors, and we are going to help these people tremendously. However, when our route into the jungle got turned around late in the evening, we became the orphans, desperately needing a place to stay, and were graciously welcomed in by the Ecuadorians. Twenty-seven hungry, tired, and stressed-out people were fed immediately and given a place to rest our heads. If that’s not God, I don’t know what is. Looking back at this time of desperation and disappointment, it would be a shame to not see how intentional God was through it all and that He always provides.

Catie Weatherford:

I would say that today was the most eventful day for me. First, I started off with my best day working on the construction portion because I was more motivated to get the job done today more than the others. The job that was assigned was to dig a ditch large enough to fit a pipe and then we were told to cover the pipe back up. I really enjoyed todays work because digging is fun, and I didn’t care about getting dirty. Then, we got the chance to do a few of the teaching activities with some kids. And that was very exciting because one of the reasons why I wanted to come on this trip was to see the kids and grow connections with them. I think my favorite thing about today was going with Brittany and Charlotte to see their sponsor kids. We went to go see Brittany’s first and it was his birthday today. That was probably the sweetest thing I ever saw because seeing his little face bright up when he opened his gift from Brittany was so precious. And then we saw Charlotte’s kid when we went to his family’s store in the square and his family was just the sweetest and so welcoming too. This experience and this whole trip have really opened my eyes to what these kids live like, yet they are always smiling and always so much energy that fills my heart.

Kellen Fain:

Throughout our 2022 Ecuador trip and my second Ecuador trip, I have had the luxury of being reminded of the power of a simple smile. Today we had a unique opportunity of going up to a school for some of the indigenous kids in the Misaualli area. Some of our team was responsible for painting one of the rooms in this two-room schoolhouse, while the other was hanging out and teaching the school kids. I was part of the painting group, which was good because I was able to use a combination of my height and reckless abandon to get to some of the tough parts of the wall we had to paint. If a picture of this painting is released, I’m sorry Mom, but I can’t promise that I won’t do it again. After this successful day of painting, I was blessed with the ability to hang out and play with some of the students. Throughout a solid 40 minutes of soccer, I struggled to even communicate a word to most of these kids as my horrible Spanish, and their limited Spanish, due to it being a second language, resulted in very little common ground. I struggled to understand how I could try and love on these kids without the luxury of language, but after about 10 minutes I decided to just wear a smile and see what would happen. Throughout the rest of the time, I was blown away by the shear power of this smile and energy. I have realized in writing this that one of the greatest connections we have with the world is the love and kindness that we can share with other people. As I move forward, I hope that I can always remember the power of a smile and the ways that I can use is to show love to everyone around me.

Nancy Malone:

Hey everyone!  Nancy Malone here.  First of all, can I just tell you all that we have some pretty amazing kids / young adults serving from Alpharetta Methodist?  I have witnessed (and experienced) incredibly HARD WORK and have heard literally ZERO complaining!  You should be very proud to have such excellent representation here in Ecuador. 

Now, to give you part of my personal experience on this trip.  I can sum it all up by a single word:  TRUST.  This entire trip has been a reminder of God’s protection and a deepening of my trust in the Lord.  We started our trip with a blown tire on the church bus on the way to the airport.  We were protected.  We came to Ecuador knowing there was some unrest in the country between the indigenous people and the government.  We had no idea how it might impact our trip, but trusted we were making the right decision to come.  We were stopped on the way to the jungle by a couple of blockades.  We were protected.  We turned around and unexpectedly found ourselves in Baeza.  The people of Baeza agreed to feed and house us for the night.  We were protected.  We made it into the jungle without issue the next morning.  We were protected.  We worked hard at the school each day.  We were protected.  As of this evening, it was determined that we will not be able to drive back to Quito for our flight home because the unrest has been escalating.  We have secured a flight to Quito to avoid all roadblocks and unrest.  We will be protected.  Every step of the way, we have had “God Wink” moments reminding us that He is here working ahead of us and He is asking that we lean in a trust Him…

NONE of these things are in my control.  ALL of these things are in God’s hands.  I choose to TRUST in Him and His plan.  In the meantime, I’m working and sweating A LOT, playing with beautiful Ecuadorian children, and chasing adorable monkeys (and some not so adorable ones were chasing me).  

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