Thursday – This was our last day teaching at the school. We taught our baseball lessons to 7th-9th grade. These grades enjoyed learning new baseball words in English, some symmetry concepts, and a craft which involved the students using their handprint to create a baseball. These students also really enjoyed learning to play the game of baseball. They understood many of the rules that were taught and had fun playing outside. After teaching two classes, we had a break before lunch. We walked down the street and bought some drinks to try. For lunch, we enjoyed a traditional Ecuadorian meal and some conversation with the staff. The staff had a surprise for us as well – they prepared presentations for us in English. They have been learning from the English teachers at the school and decided to teach us how to prepare two foods. We also exchanged gifts we had brought and made for them as well. This was bittersweet knowing it was our last full day at the school. In the evening, we had our final debrief which was a culmination of the entire week and we began to process our trip. We also prepared lunches for the fifth graders and our translator came to spend the evening with us.
Friday – Today was a very bittersweet day as it was our last day in Quito. We had an early morning and got to the school early for their worship and a program for us. It was beautiful to watch what the students and teachers had prepared. They sang a few songs in English. This was heart warming because it is clear how hard they have worked to do this for us. After the program each student hugged each of us goodbye. Needless to say, there were tears involved. Then, we had a few minutes to get ready for our field trip. We took the fifth graders to the water museum, where they learned about water conservation and had some fun. This was a fun experience for us too, as we got to interact with the students in a more individualized way. After the field trip, our team headed to downtown Quito to do some sightseeing. We saw some beautiful historic churches and some unique landmarks. We also went to see the Virgin Mary statue. We went up inside the statue for a beautiful view of the entire city. Our last stop was at the market where we bought some handmade souvenirs.
After finishing packing and cleaning up at Extreme, we headed off to the airport. Currently, we are waiting for our flight. By noon tomorrow we should be back home.
What an amazing week it has been. We have seen God working in extraordinary ways and our lives have been changed. May we take all that we have learned this week and allow God to continue to work in our lives
Until next time, Ecuador!
TUESDAY – Tuesday was our first day of teaching and it went very well. We taught K-3rd and what an experience that was from teaching them the terms of Baseball in English, to some addition and subtraction, and then wrapping it up with a fun craft! Next we walked the students through the rules of Baseball and then led them outside to try the game out. At first it was a little challenging, especially with the younger ones, but as the day went on the game got easier; still a challenge but easier!
Before we knew it the three classes of the day was over and it was time to move on to the next project of the day. We finished up our painting job and then headed to a big park in Quito. We saw a lot of different sports being played and got to admire the beauty. Finally, we came back to the house to settle down for the night and reflect on the past day.
WEDNESDAY – Wednesday was an eventful day! The sun was shining and we were eager to teacher our next age groups, 4th-6th. Again, we taught them different Baseball terms all in English, did some multiplication and division, and then finished with another craft.
After teaching all day we hurried up and ate our lunch and we headed off to the Center of the World. It was such a cool experience! After that we headed off to try a taste of Guinea pig, which is a common food here in Ecuador. No me gusta! But i guess its the cultural experience is all that matters. We finished up the day with preparing for our final day of teaching tomorrow. Praying for warm sunshine and health! Good night.
Sunday we woke up bright and early after a late night to go to San Pablos church. The service was very moving. The whole congregation learned part of a song in English just for us and the whole congregation came together in a heart felt prayer session for one of the members dealing with an illness. After church we had lunch at BBQ Pinchinchas where we took a few church members to talk to about their mission at the church, school, and neighborhood. We then burned off our large meal by walking down the hill to the school to get a feel for the neighborhood we are working in. We then headed to the mall in the center of Quito to look at the stores, which were very similar to our stores in America, and buy some groceries for the week. The grocery store was very busy and took a while to make our way through. After getting back to Extreme Response and unloading, we walked down the street to get some fresh bread for dinner and we made pasta.
Monday we traveled to the school where we first watched a music and dance performance by the students. Then we talked to a few of the administrators about their pillars for educating the students and were given a new critical thinking game to try to solve. It was rather hard! Then we went to recess with the children and played a game. We observed in the classrooms the rest of the school day and then helped to paint some of the trim in a hallway. Then we were off to dinner at La Tios for pizza. We tried the Hawaiian pizza with pineapples and ham on it as well as the custom pizza that had peaches, pineapples, and ham. They were both very good! We had a long walk back up the hill to Extreme but it helped to burn off all those pizza calories.
Tomorrow we get to teach! Very exciting! Praying the Lord will help with the language barrier and the next few days will go smoothly.
We had great flights! All our luggage came with us and the team is doing well. Thanking the Lord tonight and excited about the week ahead.
The first leg of the flight was great! We are waiting in the Atlanta airport, grabbing food, and enjoying people watching! Next flight at 5 pm. 🙂
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!
I am writing from our 5th day in Quito! It’s unbelievable that we will be returning back to the United States late tomorrow night already. This trip came and went so quickly, and I sure am going to miss everything about this place. Today, we taught our second day of lessons at the school with our assigned grades. I think it is safe to say we all felt a little more comfortable in front of the class today! As always, recess was a blast! You have never really experienced a real recess until you’re sprinting up and down steep hills and stairs, trying to avoid the super fast kids of Quito (who are faster than you, even in their school uniforms 🙂 ). As soon as we enter the school, it’s an immediate sense of belonging and warm welcomes, by both the children and faculty. The love that we all experience with the people of Ecuador is so overwhelming, and it is clearly a gift from God. We are all recognizing and thanking our Savior every day for this wonderful opportunity to pour ourselves into the children, teachers, and also community members of Quito. Without Him, we would not have been called to attend this trip. Without Him, we would not have the unforgettable relationships with the people of Quito that we do today.
We also concluded today with our last Professional Development meeting with the teachers! As a follow up from yesterday, we showed them different strategies and interventions to use with students who may have certain disabilities or weaknesses. The time spent with the teachers is such a blessing. They may view Professional Development as learning from us, but I know all of us have learned so much more through conversation with them. We concluded our night with a Chinese dinner. The teachers attended with us, and it was so awesome to have conversations with all of them! I know many of us have never laughed so hard (we’re not sure if everything was hilarious tonight or if we were trying to avoid our sad feelings of leaving everyone- but it’s fine, it’s fine!). We exchanged emails with many of the teachers and will continue to share what God is doing in our lives and encourage them in their faith and educational journeys! It is going to be so great to keep in touch with all of these wonderful people! They will always be in our hearts. As we know, “Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of Heaven…” James 1:17. The people of Ecuador, the Godly relationships we have built, and the new knowledge we are gaining, are all perfect gifts from above!
We are excitedly awaiting the first leg of our journey to Quito. The volume and energy in our corner of the gate at Hopkins has others around us wondering what’s so special about us! WE know….and we hope it shows!
We should be in Houston by 2:30 and then a couple hour layover until we board the l-o-n-g flight to Ecuador. By the time we get to our hostel it will be 1:00 Sunday morning. It will be fun to see everyone waking up for church on Sunday….IN ECUADOR!
Many thanks to everyone for the wonderful send-off and for the prayers!
Here we go!
I can’t believe that we leave tomorrow! I have been thinking about this trip since May of 2012 and it is amazing that my dream became a reality! Please pray for my team and I as we head to Houston, Texas tomorrow, and then from there to Quito, Ecuador! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us!
Eleven more days until we depart for our Ecuador adventure! You can feel the mid semester energy rising across campus, but within each member of our team there is sure to be a very special excitement for what lies ahead…11 more days!
You know that kid game called “Two truths and a lie?”.
1. I speak enough Spanish to fake my way through a thwarted conversation.
2. I have been to Ecuador before so I don’t expect to be challenged by anything new.
3. I am humbled by the hearts of the young people I am fortunate to be traveling with.
How about you?