Day One

Day One: A day of traveling
We met at the church at 7:00 a.m. Once all 21 of us were there, with some of our family members there to see us off, Pastor Todd met with us and, and he led us in prayer. We packed up three vehicles and one trailer and made it to the airport, (thanks to Dan Pearson for driving the van and Terri Pearson and Craig Amundson for the use of their vehicles and for transporting our team). But we were very surprised to be met by a great wave of people who were traveling. It seemed like a million people were headed out of Minneapolis to destinations unknown—the start of spring break.
Needless to say, it took us some time to get up to the ticket counter and check all of our 22 bags (most of the checked luggage was carrying work supplies, such as tools; medical supplies, for Julie’s medical screenings; and school supplies, for Sue’s teaching and our Sunday morning children’s program).
Our flight to Atlanta was delayed about an hour. I must admit that we were just a little nervous about catching our connecting flight. But God was faithful, and we were in Atlanta in plenty of time to catch our connecting flight to Quito. Even Melanie with her broken ankle was doing quite well. She was able to get around by wheelchair with the assistance from some of the people who work for the airline.
The flight from Atlanta to Quito was just under five hours, and without incident. It took only about an hour to get through customs and to pick up our luggage. Once we were out in the “public” area, we were met by our facilitator for the week, Chris Hopkins. We also were met by a friendly face, Cadie Boyung, who went on the previous missions trip and is now in Quito working to complete her internship. (She will be joining us on Thursday evening and spend the weekend with us.) We also met our bus driver, Nelson, and our two interpreters for the week, Mario and Reuben (Mario is from Mexico and went to CBC in Canada. Reuben was born in Cuba, moved to Spain and then to California at 17 with his family. Both are volunteer interpreters for Merge, the organization that provides facilitation for missions teams.).
It was a short trip to our “hostel” for the evening, reaching our evening’s destination around 11:00 p.m. We were given our room assignments and all welcomed sleep.
One of our team members is Kasey Manche. Kasey says her favorite verse is found in 1 Corinthians. I thought she summed it up beautifully: Your foundation is your relationship with God and you can either build on that with hay and straw or gold and silver, and each man is going to be sent through the flames and those who build with hay and straw, they will come out but will be burned, and they have to start building again, but those who use gold and silver can escape the flames with a secure structure and keep building on God…
Another of our team members is Mark Gillis. He says that he feels very close to God when he is on a missions trip. He doesn’t worry about his car, house, job…he can just meet God in this place. He also gets a chance to meet his brothers and sisters in Christ. His favorite verse is: Prov. 15:15 “All the days of the oppressed are wretched; but the cheerful heart enjoys a continuous feast.”
(A note for our readers (written on day four): This trip has been much different from our other trips in that because we are eating our dinners at the Lomas home, I have been unable to get to the internet café as often as I would like to get you these updates. Because of the time constraints that we have been facing, I have limited this blog to just words for now. I will try to get you some photos very soon. But I would like you all to know that we are all doing well, we have remained healthy to date, Melanie is doing wonderfully despite her broken ankle, and the worst we have been suffering is the sunburn from the beautiful weather that we have been experiencing at Lote Tres.)

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