Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday, June 22nd

Farewell Ninawachi (for now!)

Thursday evening after a wonderful dinner we once again met in the choza, this time not only for worship but also to take time to encourage each and every student and staff member at Ninawachi. One by one, a Daybreak team member would kneel before a student or staffer and affirm them, sharing with them what we saw God doing in them during our time together this week. It was a moving and emotional time for each of us as we got to speak into the hearts of our new friends. Following that, we had our final team debrief in the choza - which brought even more tears! - before heading off to bed. 

Friday morning at breakfast, the Ninawachi team surprised us by returning the favor, affirming each of us one by one as we had done for them the night before. Each of us was blessed and encouraged and we truly felt the love of Jesus flowing through them as they spoke to us. It was a magical time that left us all in tears!!

The rest of the morning was spent hurriedly cleaning up and packing, as a heavy downpour was likely to cause road blockages on the way back to Quito. We said our final tearful goodbyes and were on the road by 10:30AM. Sure enough, about 2 hours into the trip we were forced to take a looong detour due to a road closure, and we did not roll into Quito until almost 8PM. Huge thanks to Mark and Shawn, our drivers, for keeping us safe! We had some take-out pizza (which was divine) and then off to bed!!

Saturday morning we had a beautiful time of worship and Brian led a heartfelt devotion before breakfast. Then it was off to Otovala for some shopping in the market there. We all got some goodies for our loved ones back home! Afterwards Mark and Cheryl took us to a lovely restaurant with an amazing view overlooking the city for a late lunch, and we returned back to our hostel for a quick rest. Tonight we’ll be heading out for a little bit more shopping and dinner, and then we’ll have our final team debrief at the hostel. 

We wake up at oh-dark-thirty tomorrow AM for our early flight out. We are all so anxious to reunite with our families back home, but leaving Ecuador - and all the children, families, and Ninawachi students and staff - behind will be bittersweet for sure. Each one of us has had a life-altering experience this week, and we look forward to sharing with our loved ones at home in the days and weeks to come. If all goes as planned, we should be rolling into Daybreak in about 24 hours from the time of this writing! Please pray with us for safe travels!

See you soon!!!

Friday, June 21, 2019

VBS Pics

A couple of pics from VBS yesterday :)  Such a wonderful time with these kids and families.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thursday, June 20th

Thursday, June 20:
Yesterday was a long and tiring, but a powerful day for our team here at Ninawachi.
The AM tasks included weeding, fixing the chicken coop wiring, continuing to help with the new construction, and prepping food.
In the afternoon, we split up into teams and were partnered with missions school students and staff to visit children and adults in the local communities. We were humbled to be able to share our testimonies, pray with the people, and play with the students. There were even opportunities to be prayed over by the Ecuadorian Christians. 
Finally we attended and participated in a Worship Service at the local church in Ninawachi. It was another incredible time of worship with our brothers and sisters in South America. 

Today, we have had unique experiences in serving. Amanda, Brian, and Dale harvested cocoa and coffee beans as well as some other vegetables and fruits like yucca and bananas.  They got to taste fresh cocoa pulp and get some experience with a machete!

The cleaning team of Justine and Kristin were put to work washing windows, cleaning  floors, and other miscellaneous duties in the upstairs worship center.
Kelly was the kitchen helper today. She learned how to manually pluck corn kernels! No knife required for this task for the new sous chef.
Somehow Maureen got the bonus task of going grocery shopping with Cheryl. A trip to the nearby town of Loredo was productive and amazingly inexpensive by American standards. Fresh fruit and vegetables, local coffee, rolls and pastries and queso blanco were a few of the grocery items purchased at various market shops. 
Lastly we think Joe can now get employment with Gutter Man as he worked hard with the students to repair the gutters. The construction experience he has had this week will certainly be put to use back home!
We are getting ready to welcome back Angie, Laura and Shawn from their trip into the jungle. We are hoping the intense rain last night will provide high river waters to make their canoe ride home quick and safe!
We are packing our bag one last time with bubbles, crafts, lollipops, songs, jump ropes and other fun items for a VBS tonight. The smiles, hugs and energy from the children are just what we need to fill our souls and give us a last boost of energy for our final night at Ninawachi.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Tuesday, June 18th

No more bricks!!!

So thankful to God for the many ways he has blessed our team so far on this trip. Not the least of which is the blessing of finishing off the brick moving this morning!!! It was a total team effort! (Wait until you see pics of the enormous stack of cinder blocks we moved from one end of campus to the other BY HAND - ok, and maybe some wheelbarrows - but mostly by hand!) This was just one of many examples of the way in which our group has grown tightly together over the last few days. We watch out for each other, we support one another, and as we reach the midway point of our trip I think it is safe to say that God has established some deep bonds between us that will last far beyond our return to the States. But I think I speak for all of us that we are relieved to not have to carry bricks tomorrow! 😝

This morning in the choza Kelly led a fantastic devotional to set our minds on chasing after God’s heart today and everyday. After breakfast we hit the bricks, again working alongside the Ninawachi students and staff, who we’re all really starting to love. After lunch we were off to another community for VBS. Today’s VBS experience was a bit more challenging than yesterday's, with God granting each of us opportunities to show His grace, patience, and love to some wonderful little kiddos. 

A fantastic spaghetti dinner hit the spot after a long day, and then it was time for our evening choza session. Just like last night with Dale’s testimony, tonight it was Brian’s turn to use his story to reach into the hearts of both our team as well as those of the students. Our evening debrief was a beautiful time of affirmation and encouragement for all of us, and we head to bed this evening anxious to see what God has in store for us. 

Thankful to report that we are all still doing great, but we definitely earned a good night’s rest tonight! Please continue to pray for us, as well as for our brothers and sisters who are serving deeper in the jungle. We miss them dearly and can’t wait to hear all about their experiences when they rejoin us!!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Monday, June 17th

Monday, June 17:
Today we continued to help with the construction of a building at Ninawachi Missions School. Carrying blocks, dirt, and even peeling yuccas with the students and staff of the missions school helped build our physical and spiritual muscles! To serve in the beautiful environment of the jungle makes our work go quickly. We have experienced all the weather patterns of the jungle: rain, heat, cool/cloudy, and heavy rains. 
Our team is ready to continue our work bright and early tomorrow morning. 

In the afternoon, our multi-talented team members traveled to a nearby church to host a Vacation Bible School. From blowing bubbles to singing songs and making crafts, the smiles of the children crossed any language barriers. 

Our team has enjoyed the experience of gathering with the students and staff at Ninawachi in a prayer hut (the choza) located in an unbelievably, breathtaking part of the jungle. It has been amazing to see how the student testimonies and our team member testimonies have correlated.  In addition, the  worship songs, and prayers have brought us together in a way only God could have orchestrated. 

We are missing our team members that to go serve further in the jungle. But we know that God will be using them in purposeful ways.

Your prayers are valued by our team and the work here at Ninawachi. Please know that we are all doing well. You are lifting us up!


Ecuador Missions Team

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sunday, June 16th

Day 3!

After a long day of flying on Friday, we had a good night’s rest at a comfy hostel in Quito, and woke for a lovely breakfast on Saturday. Afterwards we loaded up a van and a pickup truck with all of our gear and headed out for Huaticocha. The ride through the Andes is long but breathtaking, and we arrived safely at Ninawachi by mid-afternoon. For those of us who have been here before, it was sooo good to see Mark and Cheryl (and some other friends) again, and also to see the updates and improvements made to the campus by the students and missionaries here. The rest of Saturday afternoon was spent unpacking and settling in before attending the church service here. Angie and I were blessed to be asked to help lead worship, Amanda shared her testimony, and “Pastor” Shawn delivered a great sermon about preparing our hearts for Jesus. It was the perfect message for the night before the big celebration: the wedding of Santiago and Venita on Sunday!

So, today was wedding day!! After an early breakfast, the team got to work turning the campus - where during this time of year it rains  A LOT - into an outdoor (albeit undercover) wedding venue! Tasks were numerous and time was short, but the team worked incredibly well alongside the students and missionaries, and God held off most of the rain for a lovely ceremony! Afterwards we all got to serve the reception meal to 100+ guests, another daunting task at which our team performed admirably!

A bittersweet moment came when we said our temporary goodbyes to Shawn, Laura, Angie, and Mark as they headed out for the canoe trip deeper into the jungle, to bring the word and love of God to the un-reached villages there. They will reunite with us Friday afternoon. Please join us in praying for their travel and that God would give them each an opportunity to shine the light of Jesus for the people they encounter. We miss them already!

After another hard push to clean up the campus after the reception, the team got some downtime to recharge before dinner. Then it was time for our first time of worship and prayer in the “choza” (prayer hut) along with the Ninawachi students and missionaries. It is so moving to sing familiar worship songs alongside people singing in a different language! Wow! Justine shared her testimony and we heard the testimony of one of the students here as well. From now on we’ll be doing morning and evening sessions in the choza every day, and these times are always among the most meaningful experiences of every trip. (YOU should come see for yourself next year!) 

End of day 3! Tomorrow morning we’ll do some work at the school, where construction is underway on a new building, as well as the reconstruction of a large hut that should be very familiar to the 2016 Ecuador team! In the afternoon we will have our first experience doing ministry in a nearby village. Can’t wait to see what God has in store for us! 

We’re all plenty tired but everyone is doing very well. Please continue to pray for us, we covet your prayer support!!! Back with another update soon!

Joe (on behalf of all of us!) 

Arrival to Huaticocha and Wedding Preparations

Good Morning!
The Ecuador Team made it to Huaticocha last night around 6:00 p.m. and had a good evening together getting settled in.  Everyone is doing well.  They are busy this morning helping to prepare for Santiago & Venita's wedding.  Kelly said she will try to send another update later this evening.  Thank you for continuing to pray for them!

Robin (on behalf of the team)