A short-term mission team from the University of West Alabama’s Wesley Foundation will be in Ecuador May 8-15. Please pray for them as they serve the children and adults at Dulce Refugio in Villaflora, Quito. They will be posting throughout the week about their experiences.

May 12

On Monday night, one of our team members, Lauren, left Ecuador to head home.  We miss her and pray she is well and safe at home.

The entire team is the author of today’s blog.  We gathered for devotion this evening led by Melvin.  Dan led Communion, and the team members served one another.  Afterwards, we each took turns to write a bit for the blog.  The following documents what each team member has to say about the week thus far.

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Our current intern in Ixiamas, Bolivia, is 2008 Practicum graduate Becky Forrest. Becky served on short-term mission trips in 2007 and 2008 in Ixiamas. She is now in her second year as an intern.

April 12 was Kid’s Day in Bolivia, so the Internado decided to have a celebration for the kids of Ixiamas. We made an announcement on the Christian radio station and over the loud speaker in town. Every time we looked up more kids were coming. The last count we had was 85. It was a great Sunday afternoon of fun, games and sharing God’s word. We had prizes for contests, served yupi (the Bolivian version of Kool-aid), cookies and bags of candy for each one there.

A short trip to LaPaz to turn in papers to Interpol for my visa renewal turned into more than a week-long stay. Rachel, Mateo and I were stuck in LaPaz because of a strike, and the buses are not traveling down the Hill. Finally after three days of no travel, we decide I should fly back to Rurrenanbaque and take the mini bus to Ixiamas. I arrived back on April 30. The blockade continued until May 8th. This has created many problems for the people living down the road from Caranavi (which is about 6 hours from LaPaz). Most of our supplies and food comes from LaPaz, so nothing has been getting through. The shortage of diesel has created power shortages. The last week, we only had power from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. We are out of most vegetables, such as greens, tomatoes and carrots. You could still find some potatoes and onions for sell in town. Eggs were also hard to find, but we had stocked up when we realized it was going to be a while before they opened the road. We take a lot for granted in the United States when it comes to transportation. There is only one road from LaPaz to Ixiamas, so when it is closed for whatever reason, we have problems here. Can you imagine only one road from New York to Florida and all the food was grown in Florida. Or only one road from Texas to Atlanta, and no gasoline could come from Texas to Atlanta. But the people here are used to being without from time to time, and it really doesn’t seem to bother them. They just do the best they can with what they have.

Bolivar Sanga, SIFAT 2009 practicum graduate, arrived in LaPaz when we got there on April 22. Bolivar has come from Ecuador to Ixiamas to work on water projects in the jungle communities that don’t have clean water. He fortunately took one of the last buses from LaPaz before the blockade. Unfortunately with the gas shortage, he has not been able to travel to any of the communities yet. We have been getting the word out that he will be drilling wells for any communities that need it. We are hoping that the first community he will be able to provide clean water for will be the village of Puerto Ruso that we visited last fall. The only water the Tschimane’s have there is from a really muddy river, and we hear of sickness among the people. Please keep this project and the Internado in your prayers.

May God’s grace cover you with his love,

May 11 – Body of Christ by Genevieve Baughman

The theme for today seems to be the body of Christ. Nearly everyone mentioned something to this extent during our evening devotion. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look at the start of the day, and then we’ll work on up to the closing meeting.

We’re getting used to getting up around 6 am. Those who weren’t up this morning by then were woken with the phone call and the buzz saw outside the hotel. We gathered for our morning devotion given by Ashley, and then continued on to breakfast. Then it’s on to the bus to head to our work site. It seems a normal site to see the mountains every morning when we wake up and ride the bus to and from our destinations. It’s hard to imagine that we’re halfway through the week. We’ve become used to seeing the same smiling faces full of joy, full of God’s love and grace every day.

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A short-term mission team from the University of West Alabama’s Wesley Foundation will be in Ecuador May 8-15. Please pray for them as they serve the children and adults at Dulce Refugio in Villaflora, Quito. They will be posting throughout the week about their experiences.

May 10 – When is the Last Time You Drank Some Water? by Genevieve Baughman and MaeLee Taylor

Rise and shine, bright and early – without an alarm clock. There was a bit of a mix-up with the wake-up call.  Luckily, most of us were awake at some point before the morning devotional time. This morning, Rachel shared Scripture and a brief message.

Today was the first day on the work site. Our VBS and construction teams worked hard today alongside the Ecuadorian church members. The construction team on the roof was blessed by the songs the VBS team led for and with the children in the rooms below. The roof construction area was a tad bit on the warm side. However, the “water” person made sure the team was well hydrated and sun-screened. The construction team actually got a bit perturbed, in a humorous manner, by the constant barrage of “Make sure you drink your water. Have you reapplied sunscreen?”  The team worked on the infrastructure that will at some point be concrete pillars. This consisted of placing “S” bars, tying them onto the existing structure with rebar, and repeating the process many times over. The work was enjoyable though tiring to the team. We look forward to a good night’s sleep tonight.

The VBS team was truly blessed today, as we were able to share the Gospel with children from the ages of 1 to 14. The children are very loving and pay attention so well. It is amazing to see and experience God in this form of ministry.

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A short-term mission team from the University of West Alabama’s Wesley Foundation will be in Ecuador May 8-15. Please pray for them as they serve the children and adults at Dulce Refugio in Villaflora, Quito. They will be posting throughout the week about their experiences.

May 9 – Genevieve Baughman

Part of the team met early Saturday morning at the Wesley Foundation to pack the van and head out to Atlanta. Wilson, Melvin, Rachel, and MaeLee all met us at the airport since they drove separately. The trip to the airport was full of excitement and anticipation as we prepared ourselves for our 5:30 pm flight. It was also full of a few napping team members.  Scott mentioned that he was eager to witness the change in direction of the water. We passed through the normal checkpoints with only one hold-up: Ketia’s bobby pins.  We attempted to document this special occasion, but were warned by security that this was not allowed. The five-hour flight lasted what seemed to be well into the night. However, we arrived in Quito, Ecuador around 10:30 pm. Sleepy passengers waited in line to go through the South American customs to be joyfully greeted by Dr. Roberto and Nanny. After arriving at the Hotel Tambo Real, we were given a few instructions, room keys and permission to take our exhausted bodies to bed.

PhotobucketSunday morning, we met for a devotion given by Ketia from a few chapters of 1 Corinthians. Her message relayed the importance of unity in being the body of Christ and serving in love.  Breakfast was delicious (as have all the meals been at the hotel). Our next order of business was the bus ride to the Middle of the World. We were able to spend some time on the tour learning about early tribes native to Ecuador. We were also able to witness the water flowing in three directions: straight down, clockwise and counter clockwise. A few team members were able to balance the egg, in addition to walking the equator without stumbling. The next stop we were allowed to visit the spot that was thought to be the original middle of the world, yet it was not so due to miscalculations many years ago. The bus rides throughout Ecuador have allowed us to view much that we have not before. On our last stop of the afternoon, we went to church at Mama Yoli’s and were blessed by the welcome we received. What joy it is to see so many worship the Lord and in so many ways! Rachel and MaeLee joined some of the women in praise by dancing. Ashley shared a bit of her testimony. Wilson translated the message given today.

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