We started our day bright and early today with breakfast at 7am, followed by team devotions led by Ethan and Mark M. 3 members of our team left before devotions to go to a hardware store and meet with people from Lote Tres and purchase supplies to do the work that was planned for this week. Our planned projects are going to be building tables to seat 50-60 children for their Compassion International Program and to install flooring in the church sanctuary (which to our best understanding is going to be a vinyl plank laminate).
The rest of the team loaded into the truck taxis and headed to the school where we were able to spend time with the children there. The entire school came out and greeted us dressed in their very best clothes (traditional to that mountain) and sang us some songs. We were able to sing “head, shoulders, knees and toes” with them in English and Spanish and then we brought out some fun activities we had brought with us to play with them. They all had fun with sidewalk chalk, soccer balls and jump ropes.
We got word that the team was done at the hardware store and wrapped things up and headed to Lote Tres to begin our projects. The first order of business was getting 75 boxes of vinyl plank laminate hauled off of the delivery truck and into the church sanctuary on the second floor. Our team and a lot of church members formed a line and passed box after heavy box upstairs. Mark and Jim worked with a church member named Juan Ramone to teach him how to build tables. Once the flooring was upstairs Levi helped the 2 Maestros (something like a master tradesman that the church hired) with the flooring.
A big group of our team helped to haul materials and mix concrete to cover a new septic tank they had just finished, and other members of the team headed into the kitchen to help with lunch preparations. About mid morning we realized that we had made a mistake with our schedule and that we needed to run a VBS program this afternoon during the Compassion Program and had left all of our supplies back in Cayambe! Esther (our facilitator) was able to make some phone calls and have the materials picked and delivered to us. We all worked hard and enjoyed our lunch of a beef and potato soup and a native cirtus tea.
During lunch we also realized that the computer we were planning on using to show a kids Bible story in Spanish was still sitting back in Cayambe plugged in and had not made it in the truck from delivery to Lote Tres! With some quick thinking Emily, Camilla, Adam, Sarah and Sue we wrote a skit of the entire book of Esther. We even had some extra time to practice it before performing for the kids. Pastor Adam was a great king and Emily played a darling Queen Esther with Ethan in the role of Mordecai. Nikki and Sarah played all of the other supporting roles and the kids loved it. We broke the kids into 2 groups and did some coloring with one while the others played gamed outside…. And then we switched. They were all served a hot meal by the church at the end.
The floor installment and table building continued their progress during the VBS, and by 4 pm when the truck taxis arrived we were all tired, a bit sunburned and ready to journey back down the mountain.
We made a quick stop for some ice cream before heading back to our hotel.  Dinner was served and it was AMAZING! Magdelina made us fried chicken, French fries, fresh tomato slices and passionfruit juice.
After dinner the team had a chance to talk and reflect on our first day on the mountain. Our first time team members commented on how friendly the people were and how much the children openly embraced them. One person talked about how they were impacted at the school. Sue had been given an app for her phone that had Bible stories and pictures being read out loud in Quicha (the native language on the mountain). Sue shared this app with one of the teachers at the school who was delighted to hear God’s word in her heart language. This teacher was so excited to be able to use this technology within her classroom as the Ecuadorian government wants the community schools to be teaching Quicha still and materials in Quicha are hard to come by.
The evening ended with a lot of our team members playing a couple rounds of Uno and enjoying their time together, planning tomorrow’s devotions, taking hot showers or just going to bed early.