This morning started a bit earlier than usual because church “begins” at 9am in Lote 3, so we planned on having our team devotions while we waited for church to actually begin. However, they were ready to begin church shortly after 9 so we never got to have our devotions. Church began with some worship songs led by Graceala and Jose. Danielle and Melissa led a children’s time in the front of the church. They were able to use the flannel board and pieces we left them last year, and told the parable of the birds from Matthew 5:34. The children and adults alike were fascinated.
Beth and Nikki both gave amazing testimonies in the front of the church that left both Americans and Ecuadorians in tears. Pastor Todd gave a sermon that originally was going to be translated into both Spanish and Quichua, however by the time he began, they realized that this would take a long time, and opted for just translation into Spanish. At the end of his sermon, the entire team sang the doxology to the church in Lote 3 as well as another Spanish worship song. The women’s choir sang traditional Quichua songs for us, however this time some of the men joined in on stage with them.
Our team presented several gifts to the church including 5 mp3 players with external speakers for those who can not read to listen to the Bible in Spanish for a quiet time, yogurt making supplies, several Jenga and Mancala games, and some supplies for Sunday School and the milk house. The team was called up one at a time and the men were presented with hats and the women were presented with shawls.
Once church was done, the team was sent to eat our traditional farewell lunch which included potatoes with peanut butter sauce, corn, cheese, aba beans, chicken and que (guinea pig). Don’t get all grossed out! It’s almost like a Christmas dinner to them, and cost them a lot of money to feed it to us. Most of the team tried at least a few bites. If really just tasted like chicken.
After dinner, we had only about 15 minutes to say good bye to our family in Lote 3. Many tears were shed by both our team and the church members in Lote 3. We headed down the mountain to Cayambe. He headed straight to the clinic that is part of the Santiago Partnership for a tour. Several members of our group headed to a rose plantation to purchase roses for the rest of the team to take home. We learned the clinic is doing very well, and the number of patients they see yearly continues to increase. They also showed us a new addition that is currently under construction that will house some specialists including physical therapists and occupational therapists.
From there we headed to the home for troubled children called Casa Hogar (which translates “house home”). They are currently open and continue to receive children that have been taken away from bad situations. They offer things that a house does including food, shelter and clothing, but also offer things that a home does like love, caring parents and the good news of Jesus.
After our tour, we took a quick ride to the down town area of Cayambe to grab some last minute souvenirs from the grocery store and one last ice cream stop. We went back to the hostel for some last minute packing and one last dinner at pastor Jose’s home. We loaded a bus and headed to the airport in Quito where we said good bye to our wonderful MERGE staff. Everything went smoothly catching our flight…Sarah was pulled aside for a random TSA security check at the gate.
We arrived in humid Miami for a 3 hour layover this morning, grabbed breakfast, and boarded our flight to Minneapolis. We will see all of you soon!