Alright…so here’s the thing…today was a big day for us! Today was a day of firsts for sure! We started the day off at Rey Sabio Salamon spending time with the teachers and students. They showed us many cultural games that were so much fun to play! We even played a four on four soccer game and won against them! After playing the games with them they put on a goodbye show for us. It was amazing to see all of the talents that God has provided those children with. They danced, sang, played instruments and even did some miming! It was so incredibly hard to say goodbye to them.
After saying our goodbyes, many more firsts began. We went to the center of the earth (both the real and fake one). We attempted to balance eggs on nails, watched water drain different ways, and tried to walk in a straight line with our eyes closed…talk about a fail. That was a really cool experience, though. We learned a lot about it from our tour guide. Then, we we drove through the clouds to get to the top of a volcano!!!! When we got there we walked through the clouds to see the top of the volcano and then walked into it!! Ahh!!! Lastly, we had the chance to practice our bartering skills in the market. That was an adventure in and of itself. Overall, it today was a really fun day. It was a day full of firsts and a day we will never forget.
It was so amazing to see God’s creations up close and personal. For me, it was breath taking to drive up the mountain into the clouds. When we were standing at the top of the volcano you could feel the clouds around us. It’s simply amazing to see the little details to His creations.
Also…we have passed through all the checkpoints without any problems, and we are now just chilling at our gate in the Quito airport. We can’t wait to see you guys and tell you all about our Quito adventure! Hasta manaña!!
Today was our last day of teaching in Rey Sabio Salomon. Our goal was to finish with a big bang and from what I heard we did just that. Unfortunately I was unable to join the team this morning. It was so great to hear about everyone’s lessons. I was able to vividly imagine the expressions of the children through my team’s descriptions and excitement. God has been so good this week. I can see his presence growing everyday in my team.
Tonight we had an appreciation dinner with the teachers from the school. The team spread out and sat amongst the teachers. Tonight was so great to just relax and attempt to talk to each other in our broken languages. We were able to laugh with each other at our attempts in speaking each other’s language. God was present tonight (as always) as we had the opportunity to get to know our brothers and sisters in Christ. The love and appreciation the teachers showed us as we came into their school and messed up their schedule was amazing. It was completely the work of God through them as well as the children. Tonight there was pure joy in all of us. A joy that lasted even after dinner when we got back to the flat. A joy that will continue onto tomorrow as we spend our last day together. A joy that will remain in our hearts everytime we think of our family in Christ here in Ecuador.
Today we had the opportunity to teach the students of RSS for the very first time. Despite the language barrier, everyone’s lesson went extremely well. We all felt like God was with us from the beginning to the end. He gave us a peace of mind by calming our nerves so that we could present our lesson to our best ability. I am so thankful for the patience of the students, teachers, and translators. God has allowed us to learn so much from each other. The diversity that we face throughout the week will prepare us for the future as teachers. We are very excited that we have the chance to teach and inspire these young minds again tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for the days remaining.
Today was our second day of observation in the classrooms. The kids and teachers were more engaging with us. Our language barrier is, of course, still there but not inhibiting us from forming friendships. Lorri and I helped the 8th grade class work on learning a worship song in English. That was a great honor for us to help them learn proper pronunciation. What struck me most today was the sense of God I felt. Everywhere we go, His presence is felt around us. I am constantly in awe of our Creator here. I see His hand on the kids and staff at RSS and He has given me such a love for this city and the people.
Today was the beginning of getting involved in the school. We started the day by getting up by 6:00am. We did our morning routine of breakfast and a devotion by our team member, Mason. We then were on our way! Once we got to the school we got settled in and met the faculty of the school. The teachers and other faculty were just as excited as we were for us to be there. Each of us introduced ourselves and then we headed into the classrooms. We experienced recess with the students and were able to become childlike with them. The school day ended by 2:00pm, and then it was time for lunch and professional development. We finally finished our day by going to a bakery and convenient store.
The people of Ecuador are so kind and loving. It has stood out to me the past two days. Today, though, working with the students amazed me; they will come up to anyone and just hug and love him or her. Coming from the U.S. where we all have to have our own personal space, it was a shock to experience it. But, it was such a wonderful feeling of love and acceptance.
The love God has for us is especially shown through these children. God has such a huge heart, which was shown through these children today. They could have been frustrated that we came here and messed up their routine but they were so loving, as were the faculty. I feel so blessed and loved to be here even though I may be thousands of miles from people I love dearly myself.
Today was our first day to truly experience the culture of Ecuador. In the morning we had the opportunity to experience worship at a church in Quito. The people were extraodinarly welcoming and kind. The worship was cheerful and upbeat. Even though songs were in Spanish, it was clear that everyone was able to feel God’s presence during this time. They graciously provided us with a translator for the sermon so that we could continue to feel included in their service. We were also given the opportunity to participate in communion. Overall, church was a great experience. It allowed us to see God at work in the community of Quito.
After church, we ate lunch with a few church members at a local restauraunt. Despite the extensive language barrier that we faced, we enjoyed attempting to get to know each other. God was definitely at work, as he gave our new companions great patience as we communicated through our limited Spanish! We all enjoyed creating these new relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our most exciting adventure of the day occurred when our new friends took us on a community walk. We observed what community life is really like in Quito. Along the way we saw many children and families enagaging in various different sports competitions, which is something that brings the whole community together. We hiked up one of the steep hills along the mountainside and listened to some of the kids from the church talk about their neighborhood. I was astounded by the profound way in which many of the children spoke about their relationships with God. They gave me a fresh perspective of what is really important in life. God has shown us today the importance of faith, trust, and love. We ask for continued prayer as we go to school for the first time tomorrow. God is at work here!
This post is very short yet long enough to let you know that our day of traveling was uneventful (thankfully!) and everyone is asleep in bed. Sweet dreams, to All, near & far.
We have been “busy bees’ pulling together the final details and securing and understanding our roles while in Quito. We have been preparing to become teachers, mentors, roommates, community members, tourists, friends, and God’s vessels during our busy week. I have seen how acquiring these roles has been challenging, especially since we have had only a few months to prepare. But, I have been a witness to the fruits of the challenges as we are melding together, seeking the best interests of the team. I have no doubt that our actions will be God-centered and will speak volumes to those who we meet. And, I know that our actual words to the children and staff at Rey Sabio Salomón school will be an encouragement as they echo Proverbs 16:14, which says, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul & health to the body.”
And, truthfully, as I look out on the snow and experience the cold, I also look forward to milder temperatures at the equator! 🙂
Hasta más tarde!
Dr. Sarah Hamsher
P.S. If you haven’t noticed, our flight itinerary is posted for your reference.
2600 CLEVELAND AVE NW
CANTON OH 44709
SERVICE DATE FROM TO DEPART ARRIVE
DEPARTING FLIGHT INFORMATION:
DELTA AIR LINES 28FEB CANTON AKRO OH ATLANTA GA 1107A 1253P
DL 5248 SATURDAY AKRON HARTSFIELD JAC
X ECONOMY TERMINAL S
NON SMOKING NON STOP
RESERVATION CONFIRMED 1:46 DURATION
FLIGHT OPERATED BY EXPRESSJET DBA DELTA C
AIRCRAFT OWNER: EV EXPRESSJET AIRLINES
AIRCRAFT: CANADAIR REGIONAL JET 900
DELTA AIR LINES 28FEB ATLANTA GA QUITO 545P 1111P
DL 673 SATURDAY HARTSFIELD JAC MARISCAL SUCRE
X ECONOMY TERMINAL INTL
NON SMOKING SNACK NON STOP
RESERVATION CONFIRMED 5:26 DURATION
AIRCRAFT: BOEING 757
RETURN FLIGHT INFORMATION:
DELTA AIR LINES 07MAR QUITO ATLANTA GA 1229A 546A
DL 680 SATURDAY MARISCAL SUCRE HARTSFIELD JAC
X ECONOMY TERMINAL INTL
NON SMOKING BREAKFAST NON STOP
RESERVATION CONFIRMED 5:17 DURATION
AIRCRAFT: BOEING 757
DELTA AIR LINES 07MAR ATLANTA GA CANTON AKRO OH 900A 1036A
DL 1190 SATURDAY HARTSFIELD JAC AKRON
X ECONOMY TERMINAL S
NON SMOKING NON STOP
RESERVATION CONFIRMED 1:36 DURATION
AIRCRAFT: BOEING 717
Welp! Today is our last day in Quito, Ecuador. We are getting ready to head to the airport in just a couple of hours. Today was bittersweet. The children from Nuevos Amigos performed a goodbye program for us. It was amazing! We sat in the middle of the church while each grade came up one at a time to perform. The children were adorable. They danced to songs, did a human video, and sang for us. At the end of the program, every single student stood in line to give all nine of us a hug and kiss on the cheek! Many of us cried. I tried so hard not to cry, to just be strong, and say goodbye to each child. Then one of the students that I was privileged to teach these last couple of days, said, “Chao, Tia Kristina!” And he held on to me so tightly. It was so meaningful and authentic. I could tell that he truly did care and was sad that I had to leave. That was when I started tearing up. I have really enjoyed this week. It has been heartwarming, heart changing, and (today especially) heart breaking. However, I know that God is in control of my time here, and even though I’m sure most of us would love to be able to stay here another week and keep playing with and teaching these children, it is the time for us to leave. I only hope and pray that we will forever keep in mind all that we have learned this week and will continue to bless and be blessed by those who are different than us. Because in truth, these Ecuadorians are not as different from us as we originally thought. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and it brings a smile to my face when I remember that one day I will see these children again in Heaven!