Finally in ecuador! It is beautiful here and I know I will love it. The people are so friendly and I can not begin to decribe the view. I wake up everymorning in the middle of the andes surrounded by the most beautiful mountains you could imagine. It looks like a painting and I don’t think its quite sunk in yet that its real.
I got to Quito on the 16th and the head of the rotarians from emmaus who has given mountains of hope grants came to visit. My 5th grade spanish immersion teacher , Eddy, came as well to visit for three weeks. Its been so fun to see him after 13 years! Because Rodger came for only 4 days the first few days of my trip here have been quite chaotic to say the least. Our days have been incredibly packed with taking trips to villages and showing rodger all that mountains of hope does. I have been lucky if I get 8 hours of sleep a night. Roger went home today so hopefully the schedule will slow down a bit but sue and paul (the people who run mountains of hope) seem to be the type to go and go and go and never take a day off. I am quickly realizing I will have to be very intentional about making some alone time to rest and recover. Eddy, paul and sue went to quito today to take roger to the airport and were going to make a bunch of stops to villages on there way. I asked if I could stay back and have a day to rest and recover as I have been feeling completely exhausted from all the travel.
I was supposed to have a small appartment here but that fell through 2 days before I arrived so I have been staying in the only hostel/hotel in all of pimampiro. Its nice to have my own room, however, last night was Saturday night when apperantly the pimampirians party it up and the hostel has a little kareoke bar right next to my room (which has paper thin walls) and they were singing and dancing till at least 1 am. Needless to say I slept little last night. Luckily I had a relaxing day and had time for a little nap.
Today I moved into my permanent home for the next month and a half (paul and sue are going back to america in a month and a half and then I will move into their place). I am stayin with rosie and her family. Rosie is one of the teachers at the textile school I will be helping at. She has two daughters and a son. Her daughters moved out of their room and are sleeping in with their parents for the next month and a half! I feel horrible but they are insisiting that I stay with them. They are really excited to have me stay with them. There house is very nice in comparison to most of the homes I have seen. There are quite a few dirt floor homes with 6 kids and a single mom in one room. I feel so blessed to have my own room and a hot shower. I am a bit worried about having no place to be alone though. Already when I was there the girls just sat in the room with me and watched me unpack. I don’t think I will have much privacy or a place to be alone, which after being with people all day, will be hard for me. Im realizing im more introverted than I had thought and reach a point where I just feel emotionally exhausted and want to be alone for a little. I am going to quicikly have to learn to manage as I don’t think I will have much alone time for the next three months. I am excited about all of the relationships I am building though. Everyone is so kind and affectionate here. I cant walk down the street without a girls arm around my waist or getting a hug. I love it and im definitely not complaining but I just know in order to keep it up and love people well I will need some down time.
My favorite thing here so far, food wise is guanabana icecream. It’s a type of fruit and its amazing. Im sad though because there is no where in pimampiro that sells diet coke. The food here is not too bad. Its similar to what we eat in america. Lots of rice, veggies, fruits (lots of fun tropical fruits), and chicken. I wish I was not so weird about my food though. When I was up in the mountains yesterday they made us soup. The dishes were cracked and filthy and they killed a chicken for us (this is a big honor) and they don’t waste parts of the chicken. I honestly felt naseous trying to eat the soup and was praying the hole time for strength to eat this. I was so touched that they made us this food but it was so hard to choke down after seeing her clean the feathers off the chicken. I ended taking a few bites and then switched my chicken for sues bones as she wanted more and I wanted far less.
I went to a church today and that was in interesting experience. I found one church that did not have services today but I talked with the pastor. They are pentecostal and speak in toungues which I expected most evangelical churches would be like here but he also does not believe in the trinity. He believes God is one God and that he can manifest himse lf in different forms at different times. He wanted to stay and debate theology for an hour and I did not. Is incredibly difficult to talk about theology in another language. I talked with him for a little and went to another church. The second church was great in a lot of ways. They are also pentecostal but there was not any toungues in the service. They also don’t believe in the trinity but when I talked to the pastor about it he was so kind and told me i was still his sister and that he wanted me to feel at home here. That we both believe christ died for the sins of the world and that its far better to talk about christ than our differences. This was a good enough answer for me and I could not agree more. But I know there are a lot of things I don’t agree with (they were saying in the service that non-christain music is satanic and should not be listened to). At least I found a place where I know they really love jesus though and I have have a little fellowship even if I disagree with a lot is awesome to worship with brothers and sisters in a tiny town in the andes. There is an asseblies of God church that is also pentecostal but believes in the trinity that I would like to check out next week as well as I think there docrine will be a bit closer to mine. Im excited to meet with some people who love the lord though. It was refreshing and the sermon today was all about prasing and worshiping God with our lives and im definitely on board with that.
I think the hardest think for me is that there are a bunch of issues that the kids at the school here wrote down that they are having and paul and sue want me to talk with the kids and address these issues. Because mountains of hope is not christian and does not want to be affliated with a religion I can not talk directly about christ in any of the things I will talk to the kids about. With things like why you should not be getting pregnant at 12 years old there are practical things I can talk about and this is not a problem. Some issues though, I do not know how to talk about apart from the gosple. Self-esteem for example, is impossible to talk about apart from christ. I believe we are made in Gods image and because we are image bearers and because christ formed us in our mothers woumb and are fearfully and wonderfully made that we should have confidence in who we are and realize how valuable we are. But if there were not a god and we were all just going to vanish after this life than why would life have value or meaning? That value would be subjective. There is no foundation to talk to kids about how valuable they are appart from christ and I cant sit there and lie to them coming up with worldly reasons they should feel confident. Im just struggling to know how to approach these issues in many ways. If anyone has any insight after reading this please share!!! Im excited though, because the church I went to today wants me to spend time talking with the youth there as well. Im excited to have relationships with these kids where I can be an encouragement to them and they can encourage me as well as we share about christ. I can tell so many of the kids that were sitting there today were just there because they had to be. I hope I get to talk with some of them. I hope Christ can become real to them and not just a bunch of rules like “don’t listen to secular music”.