Our team split into three groups so that we could attend local area churches this morning without overwhelming the locals.
Group #1 went to a service that started around 8:30 am so they ate breakfast early and headed out.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by a handful of Ecuadorians. In total, there were probably around 35 people present including us. We started off the service by singing a few hymns in Spanish, and then the pastor began speaking (also in Spanish). Every 15 minutes or so we would break and sing more hymns. After goings through a few cycles of hymns and speaking, another person would stand and act as a new pastor. About halfway through the service, they played a little Sunday school intro video, and all the little kids would exit the small church to learn separately. At the end of the service we talked with the 3 pastors and took many GPs (group pictures). Talking to the pastors, we learned that, in fact, none of them were pastors. They were all just members of the church that took turns speaking. In total, the whole service lasted about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (Written by Corey Shaunessey))
Group #2 went to a church that started at 9:30 in a small town close by.
The church that we attended is Ryan and Erica’s (two employees at el Refugio) home church.This service began with worship in Spanish with lyrics on the screen, so even those who didn’t speak much Spanish could follow along. We sang many worship songs in the contemporary style including one we all knew from campfire worship the day before, dos mil razones (10,000 reasons in English). After worship we were pleasantly surprised with the theatrical talents of a few younger members of the congregation. They acted out the story of David and Golliath as a preface for the sermon. The sermon was all about this well known Bible story, and comparing it to “gigantes” we face every day. All in all the service lasted for about an hour and a half and the “besitos” from everyone in the congregation made it an experience none of us will ever forget. (Written by Grace Higgins)
Group #3 went to the local church in town (Calacali) that started at 11:00am. We were able to walk 15 minutes to get there. This is Rick Borman’s “home” church and most of the EL Refugio staff and families attend here as well. It is a small church, only about 50 there this morning including our group of 12. They were so warm and welcoming. We worshipped together with words and video up on a screen. (They even had words in English for one of the songs.). The pastor spoke on The passage of Cain & Abel. Focusing on the question, “Are you your brothers keeper?” Encouraging us to not have an individualistic mindset, but rather be concerned for, and know what is happening in others lives around us so we can care for them, pray for them and love them. One of our students, Dillon Cooley, got up and shared his testimony while Katie Chenault interpreted. They did such a nice job! One of their members got up and shared a “God” incident that happened in his life this past week. We stayed and mingled with for a while after doing our best to communicate with each other..
Our teams all returned to El Refugio for lunch and then did our “Shoeless” activity. For about 1 1/2 hours, we took our Bibles, devotional and journals and went anywhere we wanted on the property. The only guidelines were that you had to be outdoors in Gods creation, you had to be alone, and you had to take your shoes off. (reference to Moses being on holy ground in God’s presence). El Refugio is 350 acres so it is easy to find a beautiful place to sit.
At 3:30 we loaded up to go to the equator located in Mitad de mundo. We got some GP’s on the equator and spent time shopping around the gift stores. We enjoyed bartering for Ecuador soccer jerseys, alpaca jackets, blankets, etc. It was a fun afternoon.
This evening we had the privilege of hearing testimonies from our three college graduate interns, Tom Ward, Matt Schuman, and Alex Carley. And then played an intense game of Shadows in the Dust. (Ecuadorian Capture the Flag) to end the night.
Tomorrow we have a 1/2 work day and then day #2 of our VBS. We appreciate your continued prayers as our schedule is tightly packed and the kids (and leaders) are tired, but doing really well.
Team Quito Quest