Today was our shopping day, so we were allowed to sleep in a bit later than usual, and eat a seim-leisurely breakfast. We loaded into a rented “school bus”…and by “school bus” I mean van somewhere between the size of a mini van and a 15 passenger van, as well as our coordinators vehicle. We headed to the city of Otavalo to shop at the market. Our team had a great time purchasing goods (scarves, blankets, sweaters, backpacks, wood carvings, hats, etc.) and trying our best to communicate while bartering with the vendors. We ate lunch at a new restaurant because The Pie Shop didn’t open until 1:00, and we had to catch the bus by 1:30. The food was excellent at this new restaurant too.
After lunch we had a bit more time to shop, and load the bus by 1:30 to head to Oiyacachi (the leather town). We spent about one hour shopping for anything you can think about that is made from leather (shoes, boots, purses, wallets, etc.). We headed back to the hostel after this.
Shopping purchases were unloaded, water bottles were re-filled, Jim took a cat nap, and many team members had fun on the new swing at Pastor Jose’s house. At 6:00, we headed into Cayambe to visit the home of Blanka (one of the teachers from the school at Lote 3). Blanka invited our whole team to her new home to have tea and biscochos. We arrived and met her whole family. We were shown around her home, sat down for tea and biscochos, and were allowed to hear Blanka’s father’s testimony (his name is Ricardo).
Ricardo was one of the first people Jaime Lomez converted to Christianity in the town of Cangahua. There were only 7 others in the town who were Christians, and these people became highly persecuted. One time Ricardo and 7 other men were dragged from their homes in the middle of the night by many men from Cangahua and surrounding communities. These men knew that the Christians did not drink alcohol, so they forced them to drink alcohol. After they made sure they were drunk, they dumped the alcohol on the men with the intention of burning them alive. Before lighting them on fire, they decided to beat them with large sticks. The men were being hit in the head multiple times. The whole time they were being beaten, Jaime Lomez was preaching the gospel to them to encourage those 8 men to stand strong in their belief. Before they could be lit on fire, a truck full of soldiers showed up and asked what they were doing to these men. The soldiers told them to leave those men alone because they had done nothing wrong. The 8 men were released to go home. The most interesting thing about this story is that the indigenous communities are in charge of their own laws, so there was absolutely no reason for a truck of soldiers to be driving through Cangahua in the middle of the night. Ricardo is sure they were all angels that God sent to save their lives.
Their son Johnny shared his story about being a small child and finally becoming a Compassion child. A couple from Rochester MN sponsored him through Compassion International. Johnny talked about what a difference it made in his life. It paid for his schooling, and everything he needed to continue attending all the way through high school. He even received leadership training after he turned 18 and was technically finished with the Compassion program. Because of Compassion, he was even able to attend college, and will graduate soon. He now feels led to reach out to those in need, and spends time riding his motorcycle up into the poorest communities and befriending children. He recently had a birthday, and took a bag of candy he received as a gift and gave it away to the poor children. He said it was the best birthday he ever had.
This was an incredible end to another wonderful sunny day here in Ecuador. Our evening was spent eating dinner, having a team meeting and planning details of the rest of our work week in Lote 3.