Today we ate breakfast quickly and loaded up the trucks. We had a stop before heading to Lote Tres for our Covid tests. We were able to do those tests at the clinic in Cayambe that is run by missionaries Joel and Kim Delp, and the headed to Lote Tres for church.
We arrived on the mountain top on a beautiful sunny day and were greeted by many (now very familiar) faces.
The church service started a bit late but that’s OK because nothing is run on a strict schedule in Ecuador. There was singing by the people of Lote Tres and singing by us. The women sang for us again and then invited us to join them on stage for a song or two. Everyone was presented with roses and freshly boiled potatoes which were meant to be a sign of God’s providing for the needs of all.
Pastor Brian and Neil gave a sermon together and then the team was called up to receive gifts. Pastor Brian was presented with an extra special gift of a poncho and hat and the rest of us received a stocking hat and scarf. There were lots of hugs and pictures at this time. The milk association presented Pastor Brian, Mark and Jim with beautiful wooden bowls, and we presented the church with several other gifts.
Church was incredibly long today because of all of the presentations, and the fact that every person who received a gift needed to give a thank you speech. Our team closed the church service by singing a The Blessing to the people in the church. When church was finished the team headed to a quick lunch of lamb, potatoes and corn. We were able to say some quick goodbyes and had to load up the trucks to head back to Cayambe because we were over an hour late on our schedule for the day.
When we arrived in Cayambe the team was able to walk to the children’s home. Most of the team got to play woth the children at the home and 5 team members were taken to see the site of the Future Flowers. Future Flowers will eventually grow roses and alstromeria to sell. The profits from these flowers will help to support the operation of the children’s home. It was incredible to see the beauty of a different place in Ecuador as we drove to the flower farm location. The team members who stayed at the children’s home were able to sing a song with the children and the children sang for them. After this they all spent the remainder of the hour playing outside.
Our team met back up at the hostel and quickly worked at packing the rest of our things and changing for our flight home. Some team members scrubbed boots and others packed roses that had been purchases and all worked on getting the rest of their personal belongings packed again. Our facilitator Esther ordered pizza and soda for dinner and we had a big pizza party. Unfortunately several of our team members were not feeling well at this time and spent as much time as the could resting in their rooms. Our Merge team les us in a closing reflection and prayer time and we were pleasantly surprised when out bus load up time was changed from 7 to 8 and had a whole hour to just visit and relax after dinner. Most of our teens headed to the roof top patio to hang out one more time and lots of the adults took the opportunity to visit.
We loaded the bus at 8 for an hour drive to Quito. We said quick good byes to our wonderful Merge facilitators-who have really become a part of our team. After checking in and going through immigration we had a bit of a wait for our flight. We boarded our flight and took off from Quito at midnight. Our team is feeling very exhausted yet very satisfied with our trip. There were tears shed over having to leave and so many new friends made.