It has been quite a week!  It’s been busy, though not with school work… yet.

The weekend started off on Friday afternoon with a cookout for the school staff.  The housing development where Samuel and Paola (missionaries from Chile) has a pool, so they invited us over.  I didn’t take my camera to the pool, but you can see some pictures here.

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After swimming, I got my first taste (literally) of an Ecuadorian cookout.

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We had chicken, pork, steak, sausage and corn on the cob with a cheese and onion dip.

We were all quiet on 30 minute ride home; so tired, but full of good food and good times.

Saturday morning is “escuelita bíblica” or Bible school.  It’s an outreach to the neighborhood kids.  This week was special.  They piled all the kids into the back of a truck and took them to a park for a picnic.  Again, I forgot my camera, but you can see pictures here.

The youth group meets Saturday evenings at 7 or 7:15, depends who you ask.  The ages of the youth range from middle school to college and even beyond.  One of the girls told me that the group used to  average 25, but several left.  So they’re trying to get it going again.  There’s not a youth minister, so a couple college students and young professionals take turns leading each week.  This week we were 14, 4 of us were first time visitors.  Pastor Jose would like me to help the leadership, but I’m not sure what he has in mind.  We’ll figure it out.

Youth group

Church meets bright and early on Sunday morning at 8-ish.  They don’t have musicians or a worship leader, so we sang along with praise and worship cds.  I knew a couple of them and was able to sing along.  There’s no projector or song sheets.  I hope to learn the songs.  I do like singing.

church

Sunday evening, our family went for a walk along the river boardwalk to cool off.  Lupe, Jose and their son Adrian pose for a picture with the dark river behind them.  Notice the safety the rail provides.

lupe jose adrian

There, we came across exercise equipment that looks like playground equipment.  Here Adrian demonstrates.

Adrian

This is my friend Ronald.  He came to live with Lupe and Jose when he was a teenager and his family pretty much dumped him.  He spent the past couple of years studying at YWAM in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.  Now he’s back.  He’s teaching 7th grade this year.  We’re going to trade English lessons for dance lessons.

Ronald

As we walked home, we passed the house where our team spent a couple of nights last year.  We had bilingual morning devos on this porch with the team from Chile.  Good memories!

julio house

Monday is my day off.  Samuel and Paola are also off, so they picked me up at 6:30-ish and we drove 4 1/2 hours up the coast to visit friends in San Jose de Curia.  Just outside Samborondon there are rice fields (see picture at the top) and cows.

cows

After an hour of driving and not finding anyplace for Samuel to get his coffee fix, we came across this restaurant which advertised breakfast.

breakfast

I ordered a “bolón con queso y chicharrón” (fresh farm cheese or ‘queso fresco’ and pork rinds mixed in with mashed plantain and formed into a ball) with guava juice.  It was pretty good, though next time I’ll skip the pork rinds.

bolon

Samuel ordered the house specialty, a “volcano”.  It had a base of fried bananas, under a ball of mashed plantain with fresh farm cheese and pork rinds (like the bolón), covered with a white cheese sauce and crowned with a fried egg.  It looked pretty good, except for the egg.

volcano

I didn’t take a picture of Paola’s breakfast because she just got a boring old egg and coffee.

Karen and Luis moved to San José de Curía over 4 years ago to plant a church.  Many have said they just wanted to move to the beach and used the excuse of planting a church.  The truth is Luis needed some serious convincing from God to leave their family and jobs behind.

karen luis

Oh, and he hates the beach.  But their daughter Norkis loves it, so he goes and plays.

Norkis

But notice how he avoids touching the sand as much as possible.

beach

Olon beach, where we went with the missions team on our last day in Ecuador last year, was pretty empty because it was a cloudy Monday.  We didn’t mind at all.  We even just left our things at the “cabana” and walked 50 ft to eat lunch.  This was our view from the table.

beach1

We shared an order of “ceviche” (raw fish, marinated in lemon juice with onions and chilies) and I prayed we wouldn’t get sick.  We didn’t. 🙂

ceviche

The shrimp plates were only $6 so I ordered the spicey garlic shrimp.  As Maria and Monica can attest, the Ecuadorian definition of “spicey” doesn’t come close to the Mexican definition.

camaron

Paola ordered the Thai shrimp.  It had vegetables in a coconut based sauce.

camaron1

Samuel and Karen ordered shrimp fried rice.  The yellow disks that are served with every plate are called “patacones” or mashed and fried plantain.  Yummy!

camaron2

Luis ordered fish sticks which didn’t impress me enough to take a picture.  Norkis went to town on a corn cob that was soaked in the ceviche lemon juice.

corn

We also shared fresh coconut water.  Once we were done with the water, the guy we bought it from cut it up and scraped out the coconut meat inside for us.

coco

On our way home, we had car trouble.  One of the shock absorbers came loose and sounded like the whole wheel would come off at any moment.

car

That adventure deserves it’s own post, but I will say this:  God brought exactly the right people at exactly the right time to get us back to Guayaquil safely and we were able to sleep a few hours before the earthquake woke us on Tuesday morning.  That morning, I was able to take the bus by myself (first time!) from the Guayaquil suburb and get to the school in Samborondon just a little late… wearing my beach clothes… which shocked the conservative teacher who wears a skirt every day.  Ah, well.

Well, I don’t know if you’re tired of reading yet.  I’m getting to the point where I’m tired of writing.

Final odds and ends:

These are tree tomatoes.  They make sweet juice that’s really yummy.

tomatoes

These are two of the ducks that live in the backyard with the rooster.  They are called “Chilean ducks”.  Lupe says it’s because they are so loud.

ducks

This blurry guy is a gecko.  He’s great to have around because he eats mosquitoes and he makes a happy chirping sound that I love.  He’s a bit shy right now, but we’re working on it.

gecko

And last but not least, Paola visited Samborondon Wednesday night and joined us for Women’s Bible study.  Many of the ladies are from the church and some are school moms that are learning about the Jesus their kids learn about at school.

women

May 1 is Labor Day in Ecuador (and most of South America). So I’m off again tomorrow.  May you have a blessed weekend!

Peace,

Erin

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