First, an update on the sickness our team members are experiencing. Overnight the members with fever, altitude sickness and stomach issues all got better. They would tell you they don’t feel 100% but were all able to join the team shopping today. The team member with possible pink eye is still being watched, but it didn’t look worse. Unfortunately overnight we had 2 team members who spent a majority of the night vomiting and having diarrahea, and 2 other team members with stomach issues and diarrahea. 3 of these members chose to not go shopping today and stayed back to rest.
The rest of the team loaded a bus to Otavalo to shop in a giant open air market. The drive was beautiful and we were able to view some other parts of Ecuador. Once we arrived we broke into groups and headed off shopping. One group went in search of nice wool and alpaca yarn and the other 2 started shopping. It was a beautiful sunny day and it actually got pretty warm. One team member ended up not feeling so great because of the heat a d chose to sit on the bus for the rest of the shopping time. Once they rested and napped they felt better. The other team members finished shopping, ate lunch at a restaurant and loaded up the bus to head to Cotacoxi (otherwise known as leather town). We spent about 1 1/2 hours shopping there and having ice cream. Unfortunately several more team members had to make quick bathroom stops due to stomach issues, and as we loaded the busses another team member informed is that their throat was so sore they couldn’t drink water!  We have never before experienced so many illnesses before, so please keep praying for our health. We were happy to see that the team members who stayed back were looking better and all stated they were feeling better than when we left this morning, but still had a ways to go to feel 100%.
Tonight we were able to host the Lanchimba family at our hotel for dinner. This is a family that Mark and Sue have become friends with over the years (the daughters used to teach in the school near Lote Tres) and try to visit each time they come to Ecuador. One of these women has even named their daughter after Camilla, and these two girls embraced like they were long lost sisters when they arrived. The father of this family has an amazing story of coming to faith during a time when Christianity was not accepted by the indigenous people. He and his wife were persicuted greatly as young believers, and even almost killed. His wife even shared about how a missionary helped them to change how their community members viewed them as Christians by helping them to buy a tractor that they used to help others in the commjnity. They have both been through some very horrible and hard times but give all credit to God for where they are at in their lives now. They both still work at spreading the gospel through their church.
Our very tired, exhausted and sick team headed to bed as early as possible tonight in order to be ready for another busy day on the mountain. Please keep praying for our health!