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 13

Today was the last day at the worksite. It was an emotional experience. The construction team was again ahead of schedule. The rebar on the roof is now in place so that the next team may place concrete blocks and pour concrete.

May 14

This morning, we woke up as usual, yet there was a difference in today’s plan of activities. Today was the day for the zip line through the cloud forest at Tucanopy. As we were on the way, the bus wasn’t able to accelerate uphill. So we’d coast to the side of the road, restart the bus, and try again only to coast to the side of the road and repeat the process. We were able to pull off at a stopping point to wait for a replacement vehicle. The two-hour ride ended up taking much longer. However, we were still able to proceed with the initial plan. A few team members were a bit hesitant about being attached to a cable and having to slow themselves with a leather brake. We all made it safely back to the beginning after flying through the rain forest. Lunch was homemade pizza prepared at the site. The pizza was made with ingredients from the reserve. Delicious! Because of the bus breakdown, we were unable to take the nature walk and had to return to the Hotel Tambo Real to pack up and eat our last meal here. We are getting ready for devotion at 7 pm. We leave for the airport at around 8:20 pm and fly out of Quito at 11:30 pm. We should arrive back in Atlanta, GA at 6:02 am, according to Delta’s flight information.

Devotion this evening was shared by Dan. The two questions were used to sum up both the day and the week.

Dan spoke of the concept of “thin places” from Celtic Christianity – the idea of places that you go where heaven and earth are very close, where God and the world aren’t so separate. He wanted to do a mission trip where we get away from the normal and get closer to God. The Scripture verse shared was Revelation 21:1-5. “The verses speak to what reality is; God is making a new heaven and a new earth as we speak.” Our challenge, now that we leave Quito, is to go back to where God is still very much alive in Livingston. Dan thanks the team for their gifts over the week: Scott for his inquisitiveness. Ketia for her scientific attitude, show kids, too. Ashley for her nursing. Richard for his hard work. Melvin for being Melvin – funny and full of joy. Wilson for his mouth, for translating, speaking words of kindness to team members. Rachel for her way with kids, how she loves on them. Genevieve for her strictness – ability to keep team on task, hydrated, and sunscreened. MaeLee for being so stable and brave; her words draw us back to where we need to be. Jeremy for his hard work, no complaining. Nanny for being with us and kindness to us here in Ecuador.

The two questions remain: How did we experience of God’s grace? How did we reach out to God?

Richard – It is easier without distractions to experience God’s grace. He also wants to learn to speak Spanish, now. The next trip he would like to get to work with the children a bit.

Scott – make time to worship Christ. When we make time for God, we discover God is already present with us. When we go back to Livingston, how are we going to be intentional with God?

MaeLee – speaks of making time for God. We must give up ourselves daily and pick up his cross.

Dan – Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven being near. We’ve experienced sickness and being tired. The presence of God in all that is experiencing the kingdom. God cuts through it, though it can be wonderful and powerful at the same time.

Ashley – Everything changed once she arrived in Ecuador. Seeing different people and places has had an impact upon her.

Ketia – One of her biggest challenges was experienced today. Today she hit a barrier. She is thankful for the support of her team in tough times. God purifies us; he wants us to be more today than we were yesterday.

Jeremy – This experience is new for him. Working construction allowed him to get out of his comfort zone, and the experience has been wonderful for him. He has felt love this week.
Genevieve – The work with the construction crew was a blessing as most of it was through interpretation with Nanny or by gesturing. These men allowed us to work on the foundation, one of the most important parts of the building, without any qualms for people with no prior experience in this type of construction. Nanny has been a blessing. Hearing of her love through the Wilmer crew has come alive through the week.

Melvin – Psalm 37. Before the trip, Melvin was anxious about fundraising. He has been prayerful about this mission trip and his upcoming trip to the Philippines. God works in mysterious ways, through the team members. This week he has experienced the love of God more. The love of the children at VBS has touched him deeply.

Rachel – She has been praying for a long time to be involved in some sort of mission project. She chose to put back money that was to be used for joining a sorority for the mission trip instead. The day after she decided to put the money aside for the trip, she got Dan’s email for the Ecuador interest meeting. She felt at home because the team has been so welcoming. She sees God in each of her team members.

As the devotion time came to a close, the team laid hands on Nanny and prayed for her. We also prayed as a group in thanks for the week and for the weeks to come.

Para los fotos, click here!

Update: Last photos here!