‘Twas the night of August 28th, 2018. The night sky was filled with stars. The far away conversations all in Spanish. The plane ride was over and we made it to Quito…
This wonderful couple picked us up from the airport and took care of us as though we were their daughters. They lived close to Quito and one of the first things I remember is that I sat at the very back of their van and just couldn’t believe that we were really there. Ecuador sort of felt familiar because of the language and some things here and there would remind me of my trips to Mexico; but there was something else there that still felt different.
I remember wondering what was in store. Up until that point, all I had was this imaginary idea of what would and could happen during that whole month. What will this experience be like? What will the preaching work be like? What new food would I have? What sorts of people will I meet? Yes, I would create imaginary answers to those questions. And the very common question (or personally common question that I usually ask myself): Once all of this is over, how will I remember it all? There was so much anticipation but I was also very sleepy. There we were and the experience was about to begin.
Now, if I could go back in time and tell myself something it would be this: “If only you knew how much this is going to make you grow inside. If only you knew just how much this experience will revive your sense of aspiration.”
That first week, they took us all over the place. We saw so many beautiful places and got to know more brothers and sisters in the area, including a wonderful sister from Uruguay. Though we preached some of the days, there was so much they wanted to show us and boy did they show us!
It was also around this time that everyone everywhere was excited for the upcoming International Conventions that were announced everywhere, a month prior. The four of us had all applied before to leaving for our trip, and while we were in Ecuador, they read letters during their meetings asking for volunteers to participate for the Guayaquil convention Ecuador would be hosting in 2019. At this point, neither of us knew we were going to be accepted to go to an international the following year.
Mitad Del Mundo was a cute little town not far from the actual center of the world. It was full of museums, gift shops, Cocoa stores and restaurants (yes, people do enjoy eating “Cuy“… which is roasted Ginea Pig). I didn’t want to try Cuy and neither did Tiff and Bree (at this point, the three of us were quite vegan). I think BG wanted to try it, but I can’t remember if she ever did. I remember it was also one of the most expensive items on the menu. (BG if you tried it, please remind me).
This first week, we did more sight-seeing. We got all of our souvenir shopping done in Otavalo and truly enjoyed the GORGEOUS views of the mountains and lakes and trees. Now, the funny thing about this was the elevation. If you wonder if you could tell the difference? You most definitely can! I remember whenever I got excited and marched up the stairs as fast as I could; by my fourth or fifth step, I felt a punch in my stomach and was already gasping for air as if I’d gone nonstop for 100 steps. It was quite comical if you ask me.
Towards the end of this first week, I was messaging my friend who had arranged for a place for us to stay at our next stop in Cuenca, Ecuador. The plan was to stay at a brother’s apartment while he was out of the country during the few days we were to be there. It sounded like a good plan! It was then that I received a message from another brother telling us he was going to pick us up from the airport. This all sounded well and we were excited for Cuenca… However, that ended up not being quite what we thought it would.
So off we went again! We were dropped off at the airport to fly to Cuenca… and boy is that a story that I NEED to tell you.
To be continued….