"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
~James 1:27

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sorry that I didn’t post this blog last night. I have been feeling ill so I didn’t get around to it. Yesterday was our last day of VBS! It is hard to believe how fast this week has gone by. I don’t think any of us are ready to leave in 2 days. It is going to be so hard leaving the adorable kids and the beautiful people of Ecuador. For the last day of VBS we took all the kids (about 60) to their local swimming hole. They loved it so much! We brought water balloons for them and their goal was to get as many of the adults wet as possible. When they ran out of the water balloons they resorted to filling water bottles and chip bags and pouring them over our heads and down our backs. I think that everybody ended up being more wet than planned! I didn’t planned on getting wet at all, but I came back completely drenched because I got pushed in!

Waiting for the bus to pick us up

The bus we took to the swimming hole

Ready to get in the water

Loving the water!

Drying off :D
Today the rest of the group went to visit 2 waterfalls including the largest waterfall in Ecuador. I’m still not feeling up to par so I stayed behind with Diana and Kevin. I’m sure that everyone is having a great time, and I can’t wait to hear all about it so that I can tell you guys.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This Week is Zipping By!

Sorry that I didn’t get to post a blog yesterday. The power was out in Borja for much of the day so I wasn’t able to get on the internet. VBS has gone well for the last 2 days!

Singing at VBS!

Working on crafts
We were able to pass out the toothbrushes and toothpaste that Cami and Grace collected at school and the kids really enjoyed their goody bags. Yesterday we were able to go to the local watering hole. The water was really cold and Tracy, Cami, and Grace where the only ones brave enough to actually go swimming. There were also some swings their too.

The brave ones swimming in the cold water!

Cami and Grace enjoying themselves

Swinging by the water hole
We are still loving play games in the park with the kids. When we are done with VBS, we go out to the park and many of the kids from VBS come out to play with us some more. They are so fun to be around!

Playing basketball in the park

Our soccer buddies- Brandon and Carlitos

These adorable kids in the park were fixing their bike
 Tonight we were able to go to a local restaurant and check out the good food there. It was a neat experience ordering off the Spanish menu. Please pray for the team as some of us have started getting sick over the last couple of days. Please pray for our strength and good health so that we can finish out the week strong. We're loving Ecuador!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

True Ecuadorian Experiences

The second day of VBS went great, but before I tell you about that I want to share with you about Elijah, Brie, Kaylah, and I’s evening last night. We had a true Ecuadorian experience that we could never have in the US or Canada. When we got back to our hotel last night, we decided to get ice cream and eat it outside in front of the hotel. While we were sitting out there 3 little boys- Israel, Brandon, and Carlitos- started playing soccer by themselves in the middle of the street. Now mind you this is 9 o’clock at night, and these kids are all under the age of 10. By themselves. In the road. So we decided to join them! What an awesome experience it was playing street soccer with those kids at night. Who knows if their parents knew where they were or what they were doing. Either way this is not something you would see back home. It was a true Ecuadorian experience for us.
For our second day of VBS we had about the same amount of kids as we did the first day.

Listening to the Bible story

Tracy with the kids

The VBS crew!
For crafts the kids colored visors and put stickers on it and the girls braided crowns out of ribbons.

Coloring visors

Braiding crowns
During game time we played different races with basketballs.

Tossing the basketball back and forth

Getting ready to all shoot the basketball
After VBS we went to a little restaurant where the ladies there will be cooking us lunch all week long. We got to try soup with chicken feet and chicken hearts in it. Not many of the group were adventurous enough to eat the feet!

Kaylah with her chicken heart and foot
 We had a pretty big rainstorm in the afternoon, so that was a great time for us to relax and work on crafts for the next day. I don’t think any of us want to tie shoes again anytime soon. (We had to tie shoes on paper people for tomorrow’s craft.) Tonight we are watching the movie “The End of the Spear”. It is a true story about missionaries to the Waodani people in the jungles of Ecuador. It is an amazing story!
I would also like to ask you to pray for a young man named Santiago who lives her in Ecuador. He is the brother of Nelly and Pedro who we have known for the last 2 years in Pifo. On Friday he was in a car accident, and right now he is in a coma. Anything could happen, but things have started looking up so that is very positive. Also continue praying for us as we minister to the children of Borja this week.

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Day of VBS

Today was our first day of VBS!  Whoot! We had about 60 kids at VBS, so we were able to split up into 4 teams. VBS started off with an opening of singing and prayer, and then Patty lead the Bible story for us. We are so blessed to have her with us to teach the Bible story. After the Bible story, the teams split up and 2 of the teams played games outside and the other 2 teams did crafts inside. For games we played some relay races, and for crafts, the kids colored space ships and space gerbils and made mobiles. 

Coloring space gerbils
 After about a half an hour they switched. After games and crafts, we ended our morning with snack time. Everything went really well and I think the kids really enjoyed themselves. We did too!

John, Kaylah, and Elijah hanging out!

Carolyn practicing her Spanish!
 We were planning on having a second VBS in the afternoon in Baeza, but that didn’t work out so we are just seeing where God will put us in the afternoons. This afternoon Elijah, Brie, Kaylah, Cameryn, and I were able to share God’s love with more of the children. We took a couple of children to the hotel and sat outside and colored pictures and ate lollipops. What a treat for them!

Coloring pictures and eating lollipops!

 Later in the afternoon we went for a truck ride on some of the back roads in Borja and went down to the river again and of course saw more cows and a horse.

The river is cold!

Sitting by the river
We ended the day with a devotional and we each shared our favorite story about Jesus reaching out to others. It was awesome to see other people's perspectives on some of the stories of Jesus. It was a great day!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sundays in Ecuador

Sunday has been such a nice and relaxing day! Our team was privileged to be a part of the first church service that the McKeen’s have had in La Borja. They have been having a Wednesday night Bible study, but this was their first Sunday service. There was a small group of 5 Ecuadorians plus our team. It was such a special time singing songs and worshiping God with people from half way around the world! It is amazing when we think how our lives can be so different from these people, but we still worship the same God! In the afternoon, after church we were able to play basketball in the park as a team and then with some of the local kids.

A hilarious game of basketball!
 When you are playing games with the kids, you don’t need to know any Spanish.

Brie, Me, and Janelly

A smile and a laugh are good enough.

Naida and friends
Adorable Esteban

 Later in the day we took a very adventurous walk into some of the unknown parts of Borja. We saw a graveyard, a snake, some birds, and lots and lots of cows. There are cows everywhere on the back roads in Borja.

Cows grazing in the hills of of Borja.
Tonight we have had the pleasure of having John and Patty, 2 Ecuadorians, come to the house in Borja. They are going to be with us this week helping in VBS. That is going to be a huge help to us and such an addition to the VBS program. We have known John for the last couple of years so the trip veterans are excited to see him again. Pray for our team and the Ecuadorians helping us as Vacation Bible School starts tomorrow!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Great Ecuadorian Day

We made it safely to Quito, Ecuador last night, and then we drove about 3 hours to La Borja. Today has been a great first day for us! We had a short orientation in the morning with prayer for the week ahead and some singing. We were able to check out the local market and the ladies made lunch for us. It was delicious!

Cami with her yummy lunch!
 We were able to go down to the river and Borja as well. It was beautiful.

The team at the river!
 We drove around some of the back roads and also saw a dump truck corralling cows which was an unexpected experience.

Isn't that Cool :D
 Later in the day Grace, Kaylah, Cameryn, Elijah, and I (Hilary) got to practice our Spanish with some of the neighborhood children as we colored, and played with these children who were so starved for attention. They loved having people who would play with them and give them a little love.
Loving on the kids!
Aren't they sweet?

Playing with the kids!

 Today we were also to make a lot of headway on getting our crafts and the plans for the week set. VBS is going to be a great week, and we are excited to get started! Loving Ecuador!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ready or Not Here We Come

We are now in Boston! We (Tracy, Cameryn, Kaylah, Terry, Carolyn, Grace, Wanda, and I)  left around 10:30 this morning and got into Boston at our hotel at around 4. The trip went smoothly thanks to our amazing driver Troy. We picked up the final 2 people in our group, Bree and Elijah, at the airport, and now our group is complete! We bonded over Dominoes pizza, and are having fun getting to know each other. We are all excited to get to Ecuador, but it will be a long trip tomorrow. Please pray that we have a safe trip, and that we make all of our flights on time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ecuador Here We Come!

Wow, I really haven’t been keeping up with this whole blogging thing. Summer is supposed to be about rest and relaxation, but I always end up running around like a chicken with his head cut off, wondering what day it is and where I’m supposed to be! I guess my blog has suffered because of that. I will really try to be more regular with my blogging.
I just wanted to keep everybody up to date on the Machias Valley Baptist Church mission’s trip to Ecuador that I am taking part in. it is hard to believe, but Thursday morning we leave on the first leg of our adventure. It is amazing to me how the summer flies, and that Ecuador is almost here! On Thursday 8 of our group will make the 6 hour trip to Boston. In Boston, we will meet the other 2 members of our group. We will spend the night in a hotel there, and then fly out early in the morning to Miami, and then on to Quito, Ecuador. Once in Quito we will drive around 3 hours to get to the town of La Borja where we will be staying with missionaries- Dan and Diana McKeen.
Half of our group, including me, has been to Ecuador before and for us this trip will see us deepening the relationships with the friends we made before, and again being reminded of how blessed we are. And for the first-timers it will be an eye opening trip as they discover a new culture and a new way life they have never experienced before. Either way, this trip is going to be full of memories as we share Christ’s love with the children during VBS, and encourage the Ecuadorian Christians in their ministry.
I can barely wait to see those beautiful brown faces and be able to share with them the love of Christ that they have been waiting all their lives to hear about! I will try to write a small blurb each night in Ecuador about our day and some of the special experiences we have had. I can’t promise that it will be every night because I’m not sure of the reliability of the internet, but I will try. I would appreciate all of your prayers, and I hope you enjoy hearing about my trip to Ecuador!