While working on our newsletter, I came across this draft that we wrote after our first week and a half in Ecuador. We got so busy with Love Extreme preparations that I forgot to send it. So, here you’ll find our account of our first days in Ecuador.
Stringers in Ambato!
Good morning from Ambato, Ecuador! It is a beautiful day here in the Andes. We have settled into the Missionary House here, and are getting oriented with the city and the ways things work here.
We know this is exactly where the Lord wants us to be, and we see more and more each day how it is that we can make a difference with the missionary team, in the Puerta Abierta Church of Ambato, and in the city itself. The weather has been mostly cloudy, breezy, and cool, with highs in the low 60s and lows in the mid 40s. It is truly a beautiful place and we are blessed and honored to live here.
The girls are enjoying their space. They have a room to share, as well as a loft area for arts and crafts on the top floor of the house. They are playing dress up, using some newly purchased arts and crafts supplies, and acting as good shopping helpers for Anndee and I.
Week in Review
We woke up at 3am to get to the airport by 4:30am. We flew standby, so there was no guarantee that we’d be on any flight that day. There wasn’t space on the first four flights from Northwest Arkansas to Dallas, but on the last flight to Dallas that would get us there in time to make the Miami flight we needed, we made it! Then we made the flight from Dallas to Miami that got us to Miami in time for the last flight to Quito. With some moving around by the gate agent, we made the last flight to Quito. We were so grateful!
We arrived in Quito, made it through customs and met our van to Ambato around midnight and arrived at our new home at 2:30am. While our flights went smoothly, our luggage didn’t fare so well with our flying standby; it came on Thursday morning.
We made beds, settled in and went to sleep about 24 hours after getting up for the airport.
Juliana woke us up at her new normal time of 7:00am. That was a short night! We started to get our bearings, went shopping for first things and started to settle in, which wasn’t difficult since our luggage hadn’t arrived yet. (Photo: the girls in front of our neighborhood park.)
Our luggage arrived in the morning! We started getting unpacked. We ate lunch and had a meeting with Pastor and Pastora. Thursday afternoon we called our first team meeting. It was good to have everybody together and talk over some team logistics. In the evening, the group from 40 Days came over to meet up with our missionaries in order to attend their in-home Bible studies. The 40 Days Experience is a program through Extreme targeted at students that teaches them both to be a disciple of Christ and disciple others to do the same. They are based in Ambato this year.
We had planned to go shopping on Friday, but our bodies demanded rest. So, we stayed home and rested, unpacked and worked on logistics for Love Extreme.
Pastor Lenilde met us and we had a day of shopping. We went to the center of the city and shopped for a printer, as well as got prices for some furniture items. We also went to the home improvement store, a plastic goods and home goods store, and the grocery store. In all, we spent a good eight hours shopping.
We had the honor of attending the morning worship service at the Puerta Abierta Church of the Nazarene here in Ambato. Lunch was with the 40 Days crew and then they came over for the afternoon/evening to hang out. We served th em pancakes. A good time was had by all.
We took Monday as another day to be home and focus on preparing for Love Extreme. Chris grocery shopped and then we spent afternoon at home. Monday evening we enjoyed watching a few episodes of Andy Griffith.
Tuesday, we got on the bus for Riobamba (an hour bus ride south on the PanAmerican Highway. One of our missionaries, CJ, met us there. The intent was to go to La Pampa, a family fun park. The park was inaccessible due to road repairs, so we took the opportunity to explore two other parks in the city. While not what we planned, we had a great day hanging out and spending time as a family.
Another day to do email work, have meetings, and do more to prepare for Love Extreme. Pastor and Pastora’s children (Bruno and Jemima) came over to play this afternoon.
Below is a photo of the house we live in with the Missionary team. The lower levels are accessible from the door in the yellow wall on the street. Our part of the house is the upper four floors, accessible from the street on the other side of the house (up the hill). Our girls are in the top floor, which is the landing at the top of the stairs and their room. The next floor down is where Anndee & Chris’s room is as well as the two bedrooms and bathroom of the missionary girls. The next floor down is the street level on the other side of the house and holds the kitchen, dining, living rooms as well as office and powder room. The boys live on the next level down (four sets of windows from the top on the right). They have two bedrooms, a bathroom and a small room they use for prayer. We are grateful to have a nice amount of space for everybody.
This day by day detail brings us up to the week before Love Extreme.