Waking up to a hazy skyline and watching it gradually fade away into the terraced cliffs of Quito, surrounded by clouds feet away from our heads, is our team’s daily reminder of the beauty and power of the God whom we are here in Ecuador to serve. After an early start, we had our usual delicious breakfast and morning devotional time. Then, we boarded our bus, excited about our first day in the school. Venturing into Quito exposed a part of the city we had not yet seen. Tourist attractions and tall buildings faded into a patchwork of small houses stitched onto the mountainside. After tumbling down what felt like nearly vertical streets, we arrived at Fundacion Amor y Esperanza, the school operated by our mission partners Pancho and Pitty. We were herded into the school’s playground (an empty lot surrounded by tall walls across the street from the school) with busloads of children, and were greeted with a banner exclaiming, “Welcome Christ Journey!” In a similarly welcoming fashion, the children ran up to greet us, smiling ear to ear and eagerly asking for our names. After some brief introductions and morning songs, we joined the children for their Spiritual Emphasis session, which occurs specifically for Santa Semana (Holy Week). We then set up our respective stations (English, science, and recreation) and welcomed in our rotating groups of third, fourth, and fifth grade students. The children were beyond delightful to work with. They eagerly threw themselves into our planned lessons, smiling and chattering about. My friend Xochitl put it perfectly – “they show how black and white it is to follow Jesus, and how fulfilling it is for every small thing which He places in our lives”. Their joy in Him is pure,simple, and passionate – evident to us all! Though we were sad to say goodbye, we boarded our bus after a brief lunch to start our second portion of the day. It was incredible to see the new school which Pancho and Pitty are building, largely made possible because of support and donations from Christ Journey! Though the view from the unfinished second floor was beautiful (sorry parents) we quickly got to work moving cinder blocks and mixing cement, with which we then began building walls. The work was difficult but fun and rewarding, thanks to the efforts of our team. We returned to our lodgings, ate, and then had devotional time. Incredible and inspiring as always, Pancho and Pitty made us truly think about what influences control our lives. Jesus was present and we were all impacted in different ways. Our first full work day was beyond amazing. I truly hope this blog encourages those back in Miami: your donations and support help here in Ecuador more than you can imagine. Pancho and Pitty are building the kingdom of Christ here in Quito, and this is evident in every part of their ministry. I ask that you continue to pray for them and their ministry, as well as our team for the rest of this week. I am sure more blessings and eye-opening experiences await. Thank you for your continued support!
Estelle Erwich & Team Ecuador