Saturday, January 31, 2015

(Saturday) After a nice breakfast at Esmeraldita's, we went to walk along the river, Sacha Runa. We met Chris and Mandy and their family, an independent missionary family, and Manuel, a local native minister. The area we were to visit is remote and tourists are not normally invited.  Manuel is well known and often provides the introduction and guidance needed for this trip. We hiked along a narrow rock path to arrive at the lovely home of Pedro and Maria and their family. The home might be considered primitive by some of us, but it was very neat, clean, self-sufficient, and beautiful!
We sat at their fire and enjoyed fellowship, songs, and some amazing ministry provided by Manuel. Most of us visitors could not speak the language spoken by Manuel, Pedro and Maria.  Non the less, we found ourselves understanding the message from Manuel, and communicating with each other with laughter.  We all agreed this visit is going to be one of the most memorable moments of our trip.

After the home visit, some of us retraced our steps back to the road.  Others continued along the river for a more adventurous walk with Manuel as guide:

(Saturday) It must be said that we have found meeting other missionaries, no matter from which organization, a sense of family is inherent.  Chris, Mandy, and their children, Journey, Alexis, and Christian, have been a great treat. It feels like we have known them for a long time, and they have been so helpful and informative.  Their stories are fun to hear.
(Saturday) After the river walk, Lexie, Andrea, and Dave went with Chris and his daughters, Lexie and Journey to see an 11-story tree house and nearby cave system:

A short while later, the rest of us walked to the Nate Saint house, a museum dedicated to the mission of Nate Saint and his team's mission:

Then, supper at Johnny's:

The treasurer of Casa de Fe, Laura, received the check from Cormorant Lutheran Church and Trinity Lutheran Church for $16,000.  The timing of the gift was appreciated. $3,240 is also being given in support of the six children Cormorant Lutheran Church currently sponsors.Trinity also sponsors 3 kids for a total of $1620 annually. Over $21,000 has been donated to Casa de Fe from the joint efforts of Trinity Lutheran Church and Cormorant Lutheran Church in the past year.

(Friday afternoon) At the Casa, the veteran missionaries of our group were impressed with the progress on the stone wall. We have been informed that we will be working on the gates to the wall some time during the week. 
There were some strong reactions when some of the girls recognized Rae:

We had a short bit of "baby time", meeting some of the children and staff at the Casa:

They told me, no, I can't keep her

After our meeting with Mark on Friday afternoon, we headed out to walk to Casa de Fe. We picked up some pods the locals call guava; it is probably an "ice cream bean":

All luggage was received with no trouble! The bus ride was of course very scenic. Thank you to our driver, Mario.

We stopped for the famous ice cream at Mikos outside of Salcedo:

Lunch at Esmeraldita's, the hotel we will be staying during the rest of our visit:

This is upstairs at Esmeraldita's.  We are having a short meeting for brief information about the area and our agenda. From the left are Jeff, Mark, Carol, David, Andrea, Jon, our friend from Calvary Chapel of Fargo, Alexis' legs, and Rachel.

Friday, January 30, 2015

After rushing for each flight connection, we arrived in Quito at 1:00am Eastern time.  We met Mark, who is director of operations at Casa de Fe, and our driver, Mario. They are very friendly guys!  Our hotel in Quito is very pretty.  Two large dogs are keeping us company.  This morning, we're enjoying delicious fresh mora juice, made from a blackberry found in Ecuador.
Next on the agenda, we will be taking a long bus ride to Shell, Ecuador.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

We're waiting in Fargo, and our first flight is delayed... We're enjoying getting to know each other as we wait!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Packing Day (finally!)

Tonight we met at the church to pack donations for Casa De Fe. We shared supper with the confirmation first. Our team is a great mix including two of our youth, Lexie Gehrig and Andrea Rezac. Other first-timers are Rachel Hole and Carole Skalsky. Repeaters are Jon Moore, Dave Barr, and Jeff and Rae Holte. Everyone is anxious to be on our way. Keep us in your prayers.

Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”