Monday, 9 July 2012

Final Post. I'm Home.

I do apologize for the long time it has been since I posted a blog. To make a long story short, my time in Ecuador stopped being some big new adventure I wanted to write about every day and simply turned into living life. It was still awesome and I have tons of stories and experiences to share but I just stopped really wanting to get home and write about it. 

I think in my last post, I said that I had been sick for a while. Well that sickness lasted 2 weeks. I lost about 15 lbs, depleted all my gained muscles from the month previous and shrunk my stomach down to the size of a 12 year old girls stomach. The problem was a parasite and I know I said I had gotten medicine but it was the wrong kind apparently. Once I finally realized that and got the right stuff, the parasite was gone in just two days and I was back to normal. I began eating again only this time even more than I had before. I had to make up for lost time and lost food. As a result, I am now sitting on my couch in Kentucky and have gained back all the weight I lost but without the muscle. 

After my sickness lifted, school had ended and it was time for summer staff. Several new people came into Casa de Fe as the regular teachers left. We all went to Banos the weekend Kelcy left and had a great time hanging with her. My highlight from that trip was sitting in hot tubs at the top of the mountains overlooking Banos late at night. It was a fun experience and so beautiful. Once summer staff started, my schedule looked a little different. I only had a week left of work since I would be flying out the next Tuesday. Another reason I didn't write towards the end is because I was coming home 3 days prior to when I had told my friends and mainly Hannah. I wanted to surprise her so if I had written of my packing and saying goodbyes a week early, she would have known something was up.

Summer looked like this. I showed up at 8 for a staff meeting and short prayer time. At 8:45 I helped lead a small Bible time with the boys of the house. They ranged from ages 2 to 11. That was an adventure for sure. Then at 9, I tutored Javier and Wilson for an hour then played with the toddlers for another hour. At 1130, I ran free time for the kids until my lunch break at noon. After Alexanders, I would return and help lead choose an activity time then big activity time. In these times we would do everything from sports to crafts to walking to the park in the city. By the end of our staff meeting at 530, I would be free to return home. Every night though I would take a child out to dinner after work. I took Wilson the first night, Gilmar the second and Javier the third. It was a ton of fun hanging with those guys. 

On Friday of my last day, I went and took pictures with all the kids so I could remember all of them easier. I said my goodbyes on Saturday and then headed to Quito on Sunday. On my last two nights in Shell, we went to Puyo for dinner at two Americanized fancy restaurants that were so good. A lot of the summer staff went as well so it was fun hanging out with everyone before I left. In Quito, Melissa, who was flying out the same day, and I walked around and shopped. It was a really fun day and I was able to buy lots of gifts for family and friends back home.

Me and the boys during morning devotion. It looks like a posed picture
but this is actually a fairly close representation of how my mornings looked.
What a blessing! I love all those boys and that is only a few of them. From
left to right: (Back Row) Dennis, Wilson, me, Gilmar (Middle) Javier, Aleho,
Martin, (Front) Antony.

These were the awesome Maestros I got to work with every 
day for construction They were all so smart and so good at their jobs. 
It was a blessing to know them. From Left to Right: Me, Heime, 
Hernan (squatting), Eddison, Louise, Flavio or Puma 

All of the oldest girls were also a blessing to know. I really hope to stay 
in their lives and at least stay in touch as best as I can. They all have
amazing bright futures and know God loves them which is most important.
From left to right: (back) Julissa, Thalia. (middle) Rosa, me, Jenny, Abigail
(front) Maria, Ana, Maribel, Marcia

This is Nicole and Ruby, two of the middle aged girls. They are so sweet
and I can't wait to see them grow. I always loved how Ruby would say 
my name every time she saw me: "Mr. Cato" she said it not perfectly 
correct but it was always really cute.

Once Tuesday rolled around and it was time to go, I woke up at 3 in the morning to head home to my unsuspecting girlfriend. All went well with the travel and I was in Lexington by 6 that night. My whole family picked me up, handed me the flowers I had requested and then we went to get Hannah. It was great seeing my family and being able to catch up after two months. After we got to Hannah's street, I had my parents pull away and I just sat out on the street with my little flowers waiting for her to drive up from work. She did eventually come and I surprised her and gave her a big hug. It was kinda awkward because her neighbor was trying to back out of his driveway and she stopped the car when she saw me right in front. No worries though, it was a good moment. 

We all went from there to dinner at Abuelos which was so good and then after that we returned home to debrief the fam. I went through all my pictures and told all my stories and was just really happy to be home. Below are some of my pics from the trip.

In reflecting on my trip, I recognized how much of a true blessing it was to have gotten to go. I learned a lot about myself and grew in several areas that greatly needed growth. I learned a lot about patience and flexibility which very much needed in my life. Not to say I am patient and flexible now but I am definitely working on it and am a lot better now than before. It was so much fun getting to know the kids and I know this is said a lot but they really did help me more than I helped them. I learned that my calling as of now is not overseas but rather here in the States. With that being said however, the trip did spark a desire in me to travel and to serve abroad in some other forms in the future. I gained a greater appreciation for missionaries and I truly do hope that someday I can return to Casa de Fe even if just to see the kids again. I built relationships with a lot of kids there and I really do hope to keep them up. It was such a blessing to go and I am so thankful to God for the opportunity. If anyone is ever looking for a place to go short or long term, I could not think of a better place to recommend. Thanks God and thank you for reading. God Bless you.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Beach Trip!

Before we left on the infamous trip, we were first paired up with a kid. Now just to make sure we are on the same page, the beach trip is not a vacation but rather another form of fun ministry for the kids. My job, which I was blessed to have, was to hang out with Javier the entire time. He is the oldest boy and has so much energy. I was blessed because in many ways, he is the type of boy that I feel called to witness to and mentor in the States so it was good practice playing with him. 

After a very long 10 hour bus ride starting at 3 am, we arrived at the Beach. Once moved in, we did what we had to do, go get in the water haha. It was so much fun swimming with Javi. He could swim really well and just needed me around every once and a while for a steady arm. It was a blast and oh my goodness, it was so beautiful. I can't describe the scenic view we had so I wont even attempt except to just say it was gorgeous. 

During the 5 day trip, we played in the ocean for several hours every day, had three great meals, craft time, lesson time, and cleaning time. It was a well run trip and the best part was just seeing the kids have fun. I know you would probably like more details but unfortunately, I was sick the entire time and am still now. Thus, I have no energy to write a large post. I did have an amazing time and almost all of my stories have to do with how awesome God is and how I can see God through the joy of children. Hopefully I can post more later but for now, I am hitting the sack. A 10 hour bus ride while taking care of an 11 year old all while not eating anything because you are sick can really take it out of you. 

Thanks for reading and I'm sorry there isn't more. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Poison!!!!! Ivy. Haha. 

So all this weed eating got me poison ivy, surprise surprise. I was weed eating in wet amazon bushes that are all over 5 feet tall with all kinds of wildlife, random plants and a bazillion rocks in them. By the end of every day, I am covered in cuts, bruises, and little speckles of all kinds of plants. I feel disgusting but good as I know I have completed a good days work. Dwight told me why I was weed eating the other day. He said "we need to weed eat so that there aren't as many snakes and bugs . . . " That didn't make it any better knowing that I was standing in probably hundreds of snake holes. I hate snakes, bugs are okay but I hate snakes. Lucky for me, I oddly still haven't seen any and as of today, I am almost done with my project. I wish you could see how much I have done. Not that it is impressive by any stretch, it is just a lot. I have pretty much weed ate the whole property. So poison ivy or not, I am almost done and that is a great feeling. I wont remind myself that the weeds grow faster than the plants and that I will probably have to start back from the beginning once I reach the end.

The last couple days have been swell. I have slowly come out of my sickness and am gaining more and more energy with every step. I worked a full day yesterday and today and almost feel at full strength. I also ate all of my lunch for the first time today which is a good thing considering I was eating all of my lunch as well as the rest of everybody else's haha. Yesterday, after work and a little basketball with some of the missionaries, I went over to Megan's house with a few of the new summer staffers. We made homemade pizza which was pretty good and then watched Courageous which was amazing. It was the second time I had seen it and I loved it still. The acting is so so but the message is clear and right on. If you haven't seen it, do. It was fun cooking and hanging out with people. The new staffers are all really cool too.

Today, dinner was different. After some more basketball with the missionaries, I went by Johnnys and got a burger. It was pretty good but I think I like the other place in town a little better. For dessert, I stopped by the lady at the park and got a maduro. It was a good filling end to my burger. Oh yeah I forgot. Avocados are my favorite vegetable. I'm going to have to start buying more. I got one on the way to make pizza and just ate it on top, oh it was so good. I love avocado on pizza.

So now I am just sittin on my bed waiting for the NBA playoffs to start. I think Maria has cable so hopefully I can get it on there. I'm pulling for the Thunder but will be okay if the Heat win too. What a blessing it is to be here. I am very much looking forward to the beach trip coming up on Thursday. I have gotten a lot closer with Eddison who is deaf and Boris who is all smiles. Eddison likes playing rough and every time we hit and push, I end up hugging him which he likes too. Our play time goes like this. Rough up for 3 seconds then big long squeezing hug then repeat over and over. Boris is fun too and always wants me to just give him a hug. I am really looking forward to getting to hang out with both of them on the beach trip. God is great!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

1 Month Down

So the tickets didn't end up working out. We had a couple different sources saying a couple different things so we ended up not going. It was a bummer but it just means I'll be able to go another day and it will be that much better. Friday, I was still sick so I didn't go into work until after lunch to teach PE. It was raining a ton so we stayed in the multi use building. Melissa had her class watching a movie there though so I had my PE class join in too. They were watching a musical called The Happiest Millionaire or something like that. It has the guy in it that played Moses a long time ago and came to Asbury to speak this semester. I can't remember his name but it was cool watching it now that I have met him. It was cool watching it anyways though because he is a good actor.

Saturday was a chill day as I started to climb out of my sickness. I still didn't eat much and stayed in my bed most of the day but come dinner time, I was feeling a little better. Kelcy, Jenae and I walked around town buying groceries to make chicken avocado burritos. We bought the little skewers of chicken sold on the street so we didn't have to cook the meat. It was a good idea and turned out great. I ate two gigantic burritos and all in all probably two whole avocados haha. It was super good and considering my stomach had shrunk recently from bing sick, I was stuffed. Afterwards, me and the 5 girls . . . played some Dutch Blitz and then I got a real treat.

Kelcy noticed that game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals was on. I haven't been able to watch much basketball since I've been here and I love watching the playoffs so it was a treat to see that they were on. We called up Patti Sue and headed over to her house to watch. The Heat won pretty soundly which means it is going to be a Heat vs Thunder playoffs. I am going to try to watch some of the games because I think they should be pretty good. My prediction is the Thunder in 6.

Today I have been able to sleep in, eat some breakfast and read my Bible. It is really cool reading right now. I have been reading through the Bible over the past 2 years haha. I know you are supposed to do it in 1 but I'm not the best reader haha. Anyways, I am in Corinthians now and it has been really cool reading through all of Paul's writings. I guess I just haven't read through these chapters before at this current state in my Spiritual walk so God is showing me a lot of things I haven't seen before. I'm not necessarily getting a bunch of revelations, just a lot of stuff I have never thought of before and questions I've never had before. It's cool to think about too because when I am finished, I can just start again and when I get to the same spots, I will be at a different Spiritual maturity so I will get different or more things out of it. I am looking forward to it and have really enjoyed reading what I have so far.

For now, all is well, my bug is dead, my energy is slowly coming back along with my appetite and tomorrow I will be ready to start a new week. I am ready to come home just because I miss a lot of the things about home but I am also thoroughly enjoying everything here and don't want to leave. I am still trying to live in the moment and thank God for every day here because again, I know I'll miss it when I'm gone.

Thursday, 7 June 2012


I know I haven't posted in a couple days but that is because I have been busy laying on my bed doing absolutely nothing. Tuesday night after I got home from the dance thing, I tried to do a P90X workout. For some reason, I was not able to do as much as I normally would have. I wasn't sure quite why but I quickly found out as I woke up the next morning to a call from the restroom. Lets just say I visited there frequently that next morning. I decided to stay home from work at least for the morning so I could figure out what was wrong with me. I felt tired and worn out, my stomach felt awful and worst of all, I wasn't hungry.

I forced myself to eat and decided to head to work a little late. Upon arrival, I was pretty tired from the walk over but decided since I only had an hour til lunch, I would try to work anyways. I weed ate for an hour and became more and more tired so after lunch I headed home to rest. Upon waking up, I tried to eat a little something but afterwards, it just felt like it was going to come back up. It never did but it definitely could have if I wouldn't have been holding it down. 

So to make a long story short, I have been laying in bed all day today and most of the day yesterday because there is a small bug living in my stomach. It doesn't let me eat and it drains my energy also giving me head aches when I stand. The worst part is that I am bored out of my mind. I have tried to do a few things like get out and walk to get breakfast this morning but anything I do just drains my energy super quickly. After a long conversation with Hannah last night, she finally convinced me to get some medicine. I got the meds and will start tomorrow so I am sure I will be just perfect by the end of the weekend. Prayers are always appreciated though.

For the weekend, assuming I am well, we are going to try and go see an Ecuadorian National Soccer game in Quito. We don't have tickets yet but we are going to go up early Sunday morning and try to get some there. Sorry for the quick and not very detailed update but believe me, you don't want all the details of what I've been doing the past couple days. God Bless.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Long Weekend = Long Monday

The weekend was a ton of fun but as you know, I did not get much sleep. On Sunday, I slept in until about noon but it was on and off sleep so I woke up not feeling very rested. To add to my fatigue, I went and played ultimate frisbee for an hour and a half followed by basketball for an hour and a half. Afterwards I was toast. I tried to go to bed fairly early but did not get as much sleep as I would have hoped. This meant that todays work day dragged on very slowly. It was a lot of fun don't get me wrong, I was just dead tired all day. 

Work wasn't bad, I did some more weed eating from about 9 to 12. It was so much easier when I had my phone to listen to music with. Even without it though, it is still not that bad. It beats shoveling rocks. No, it was just fine. I needed a good lesson in being a servant. I had a lot of time to think as I ate weeds and I thought that helping and serving are two different things. Helping gives you some type of entitlement and makes you feel good about yourself, at least for me. It makes me feel like I am offering something that I should be thanked for. As a result, I feel entitled to pick and choose what I want to help with. Serving is much different. There is no entitlement and for me in service. I am simply doing whatever is needed with a good attitude and gracious heart. When serving, I am thankful and am receiving a blessing from being allowed to do whatever it is I am asked. I am here to serve, not help.

Around lunch time on my long walk to Alexanders, I walked beside Eddison. He is the youngest Maestro if you didn't remember. I tried my best to ask him and his family to dinner some time to which he understood and responded that tonight would be a good night for them. After a long time trying to tell him where to meet me, I finally had Heidi, who was walking close by, translate. He didn't know where Tablitas or Johnny's was which was weird because it was one of the most famous restaurants in Shell. I think it is probably because he doesn't ever eat out. Anyways, he knew where Alexanders was so we met there at 6:30. I went a tiny bit early expecting them to be like typical Ecuadorians and be 20 minutes late but as I arrived, I was proved incorrect. Eddison, his wife, and their beautiful little girl were waiting for me even a little early dressed up a little bit and ready to eat. 

I introduced myself to the Mrs and we sat down to eat. I knew little Spanish and they knew no English but I blessed the meal and we had a great time eating and talking together. The talking was a little rough but I think we did okay. It was such a blessing for me to be able to eat with them. I really wish I could speak more there language but I would rather be able to take them out to dinner with only smiles than nothing at all. I had to urge them to get what they wanted as they seemed very hesitant to order. It was a wonderful blessing buying them food. They were super respectful and I could tell they didn't want to make me spend a lot. Once we were done eating, we said our goodbyes with huge smiles on our faces and I left being better off because of it. I don't know if half the stuff I said at the table translated correctly but I hope the love of Christ made it through. 

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. Today I got to play with a different Eddison at Casa de Fe. This one is quite a bit younger and he is deaf. We became friends because I played with him today. We played with squirt guns and he loved spraying me with water. My heart goes out to him I think partly because my sister was deaf. I couldn't communicate with her but smiles and attention always did the trick. The same was true with Eddison. For the rest of the day, every time I saw him, he smiled real big, squealed to get my attention and then waved. I have gained a new friend, another of which I can't wait to play with in Heaven where we can communicate better.

What a blessed day!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Quito Trip! (Long Post, Dig In)

Abby’s two week stay here was now officially over which meant Kelcy was heading to Quito to drop her off at the airport. At first, I did not want to go at all mainly because a 4 hour bus ride both ways for one day in Quito did not sound much fun. However, after considering that Kelcy would have to do it by herself and honestly, I wasn’t doing anything else with my Friday and Saturday, I decided to accompany her. It was a good decision and much adventure followed.

After dinner and youth group on Friday night, I quickly cleaned my entire apartment and packed my bags ready to move out. I was not yet sure where I was moving too, all I knew is that a new team was coming in on Saturday and a couple summer staff girls were taking my current domain. I had everything clean and ready to go for the arrival tomorrow; I even took a shower to clean myself haha. Once all was done, I packed a quick bag with a couple things for Quito and then Kelcy, Abby, and I headed out for our adventure. It was around 10 o’clock when we boarded our first bus. This one was headed to Ambato which is a town about 2 hours away from Quito. We chose to take this route because we thought it would be easier to catch a bus from Ambato rather than Shell.

We were correct about that but did not think that we would have to stand in the rain in Ambato waiting for 45 minutes for a bus to arrive. No worries though, it was fun bonding time and sure enough, our bus did come eventually. We loaded the bags and now around 1 am, I fell right asleep.  I had slept a little on the first bus ride too so by the end of our riding; I had a total of about an hour and a half of on and off bus ride sleep (not the best kind). Upon arrival to the bus terminal in Quito, we then grabbed a taxi and took our 30 minute drive to the airport. I really enjoyed getting to know Abby these past two weeks and it was a sad moment for us when she had to leave but since we could not pass through security with her, the drop off was rather quick and painless. She said goodbye, took her bags and was in.

Now the adventure begins! 

So after dropping off Abby, Kelcy and I now had a few hours to kill before the new team came in and took us to Shell with them. They weren’t flying into the Quito Airport until about 10 on Saturday night and since it was only 3 o’clock in the morning on Saturday morning, we decided not to stay and wait. Instead, we decided to start walking . . . (This was probably not the best decision once we realized we had no idea where we were going). We decided where to go by playing a game (my idea). We started with my name: C-A-T-O- and since C was closer to the L in Left rather than the R in Right, we took a left and then since the A was also closer to the L in Left, we took a left at the next street too. This game, which was very short, lived by the way, lasted until we were quite a ways away from the airport and walking through who knows where in Quito at 3:30 in the morning.

We were now lost, not that that is any worse than being at the airport because there we were lost too. Kelcy said she knew her way around a tiny bit but that was only if we started at a place she already knew, which the middle of random streets a 45 minute walk away from the airport was not one of those places she knew. We found a really nice guy walking along the street and asked for directions to anything that was open. He gave us some directions that neither Kelcy or I understood but he did tell us the name of a place in down town where we could go. He said it was a long walk so we should probably get a cab but we were into walking so we did. We kept walking for a while, still lost until we decided to ask some other people for directions. This time, we asked to middle aged guys sitting in a dark alley smoking at 4 in the morning. Haha, they were super nice and told us we had to get a cab because it was way too dangerous to walk.

We graciously said thank you and then finally did decide to get in a cab. After some short debate with what the price of the cab should be, the driver finally agreed and took us on a 30 minute car ride to the middle of down town Quito. We were so far off from where we were trying to get, it was embarrassing. Anyways, the place he took us was a big square with places on all corners and streets. Nothing was open except a really cool coffee 24 hour coffee shop. Since that was the only open place, we decided to eat some early morning breakfast. So around 4:30, we ate a good breakfast and then decided to go find another place to explore. There was really no place open but there were people out walking around.

After we walked around several blocks and was offered some cocaine, we turned the corner to a guy getting mugged. They were about a block in front of us and there were four guys kicking and punching this other guy. They all looked Ecuadorian I guess but the four guys were totally ganging up on the one. We stopped for a second as my first instinct was to run and stop them. 4 on 1 was not fair at all and my sympathy automatically went to the 1. Kelcy asked if I should go help too but once I got past the unfair numbers, I quickly made what I think was a wise decision. I decided that although I was bigger and stronger than the guys doing the jumping, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to get involved. I just imagined for a moment what would happen if 5 guys were in a fight and all the sudden a gringo came running in punching people not knowing how to speak Spanish. Haha, that would have been a disaster. I thought of it if it had been turned around and I was in the states. If some random foreigner came in punching me and my friends and yelling random non English words, everybody in the fight would probably just start punching him, hahaha. So I just said no, let’s turn around and go back the way we came.

We did and after that, we decided maybe it was a little smarter to stay in a more public and well lit area. We then saw some motion up in some windows that looked like an art gallery. It looked like they were having a party, like a party where only super rich people are invited so we tried to play the gringo card and invite ourselves. They did not buy it and kicked us out, haha. So then, we went back to the coffee shop and found some guys standing outside working. We asked them a few questions of things to do and they were so helpful. They told us nothing was open, which we had already figured out, but then they said that anywhere we would go would be way too peligroso (dangerous) so we should just stay there. That was way too boring so instead we decided to grab a cab and go to the Equator. The working guys standing their heard us trying to describe to the cab driver where to go so they helped us out and made sure we got to the right place.

The cab driver dropped us off at a corner near the metro station which didn’t open until 6. It was now 5:30 so he yelled out the window to a guy selling tea on that corner and asked him to watch out for us until the metro opened. They guy agreed so we got out and waited. The cab driver left with wise words to not go anywhere because we would get mugged, so we didn’t.  Once the metro opened, we paid our 25 cent fee and headed to the town where the Equator was which was about an hour drive. Too bad the actual Equator tourist spot didn’t open until 9, haha. So we walked around the town there from about 7:15 to 9 just looking around and talking. It was light now and we were no longer in Quito so there were no worries at all about getting mugged there. We stopped in for our second breakfast at a small restaurant that was really good and then returned to the entrance at 9. While waiting for them to open the gates, we met a Chinese guy and got to know him for a little.

Once the gates opened, we walked in took our pictures straddling the line and then headed back to the metro. By this time, we had been up all night traveling so once we got back on the metro to head back into Quito, we both fell asleep. Unfortunately for us, we passed the point where we were supposed to get off. We were looking for the big market so we could do some shopping but we had passed it by a long shot. Kelcy asked around how to get there but nobody was giving the best directions so we finally got off and asked some cops. They told us of a better market (not even close though) that was nearby so we walked all around Quito for the next 2 hours trying to find it. We never found the market we were looking for but we did find a couple other markets. We found shoe heaven! It was like 37 different alleyways all covered and turned into shoe vendors. There were literally 500 different vendors all side by side packed together each with about a 10 foot by 10 foot space lined with knock off shoe brands. Everything from 100 dollar fake Nikes to little plastic shoes for 5 dollars. We got lost walking around there and once we finally got out, we decided that the market we were looking for had to be far away because nobody could direct us to it. We grabbed lunch at this huge fresh fruit and veggie market and then headed to the metro again to head back the other direction.

Different people told us different things of where to go but to make a long story short, after a lot of confusing directions and help from the police; we got on the right bus and headed back into down town. Once we thought we were close, we hopingly hopped off the bus and to our surprise, Kelcy saw the market. Praise the Lord, we had found it. So we spent the next 2 hours from there bartering which was soooo much fun. I loved it. My parents always told me I would like it because I like arguing, I always laughed but did not realize how much I would like it. I bought a lot of stuff and although the ending prices we got down too were still probably more than what it cost to make them, it was way less than they asked and still way less than I would pay for in the States. It was just fun piecing together the small
Spanish I knew to act super offended at certain offered prices. I liked arguing only with numbers then walking away and getting urged to come back and keep going. The day was a big success as far as shopping goes and I got a lot of stuff for very little money.

One cab ride later, we ended up at a big very Americanized mall. We ate dinner at a Sports Planet (very similar to Applebees), got  Tres Leches for dessert (a very Ecuadorian moist cake) and then watched a Spanish Subtitles movie at the theater. We watched Snow White and the Huntsman which was pretty good. Then again, anything would have been good because all I had to compare it to was Milo and Otis on my computer hahah. After the movie and some more walking around, we headed out of the mall to another Americanized restaurant called Old West. We had just eaten like 3 hours ago so we weren’t that hungry yet. Ecuador was playing Argentina in soccer though so we sat around drank some fresh juice the restaurant had and cheered for with the locals for Ecuador. They lost 4 to nothing. By the time the game ended, we were hungry again so we ordered a Billy Bob Pizza and chowed down. 

After all of that, Kelcy and I were so tired but since I had two huge glasses of fresh juice (Mora and Coco) I was on a sugar high. That quickly ended once we got to the airport around 9 to wait for the team. We found a nice poll to sit against and just sat for an hour almost not moving or talking haha. Finally, around 1020, the new team from Tulsa Oklahoma arrived ready for their week in Shell. Also, Heidi and her friend showed up ready to escort us and the team. Heidi has been here before apparently and was in Quito for a week before meeting us at the airport. Heidi and her friend were the ones moving into my apartment. Status update on that by the way, we couldn’t find me another place so we ended up staying in the apartment I am in and just locking a door in the middle to make it two apartments instead of one big one. I am still in the same place, just a different room now. The girls and I share a living room and kitchen but I we have separated rooms and bathrooms so it ended up being nice that I didn’t have to move all my stuff completely.

We met the team, all became friends, got on their privately rented bus, stopped by McDonalds on the way and then continued to Shell getting in around 4. We dropped off the team and then Heidi, her friend, and I all went home. I showed them around, took a shower and was in bed by 5. More will come on the team later but for now, I just want to give God thanks for how much of an amazing day it was. I was so glad I went. I had a blast exploring, eating, walking, and talking in Quito. Kelcy was fun and put up with me the whole time which is very impressive by the way. No, just kidding, we had a great time and more than anything, I want to thank God for keeping us safe. We met so many people and openly talked to everybody. We got lost, got offered drugs, saw a mugging and through everything, we were always protected. Everyone we talked to was super helpful and friendly, even the two guys smoking in the dark alley at 4 in the morning. I know the whole day could have turned out so differently but God watched over us and I am thankful.

We were never scared either which is another thing I want to thank God for. In my devotional this morning, I read Romans 8 and in Romans 8 I think verse 31, it says if God is for us then who can be against us. That truth is what I felt all day and night walking around Quito. I don’t care where I am or what I doing, I literally have no fear and that is only because God is for me and nothing else matters. Thanks God for an awesome day. I praise you for your promise of always being on my side. Thanks for keeping us safe amongst not so wise decisions maybe and thank you for letting us have fun. I praise you in Jesus name. Amen

One quicker story before I end this three page monologue. For our lunch at the fresh fruit market, we sat by a really old Ecuadorian couple who we talked to for a little before we ate. They were finishing as we were sitting down and after we prayed for our meal, they stopped and prayed with us. I prayed in English so they didn’t understand what I said but they knew we were praying to God. Then as they left, they told us how awesome it was that we thanked God for our meal and they blessed us and said may God be with us that day. So it was really fun meeting them and it is always great to meet strong believers and see those encouraging random strangers even here in Ecuador. Thanks God.