Ecuador, Day 2

Wow, have things gotten started here. We began our first full day in the country with a great breakfast on the veranda of our hotel and then made it to the missionaries' office for 'orientation.' We got to meet a handful of the locals working with Guy - Marcos, Julietta and Giovanni. We worked through the details of the week and sang a few Spanish worship songs together.By lunchtime we had worked up another appetite and went down the street for an excellent local lunch - I had a shrimp platter with rice and fried plantains for $4.50. Upon arrival back at the office a group of women had gathered for their weekly bible meeting. These were around 20 former and current local prostitutes that had been meeting regularly - most were even baptised. Us guys stayed out in the smaller room and gave them and the girls on our team time to meet, share and celebrate a few of their birthdays. Then it got exciting - we all piled into the cars and drove out to Marcos' neighborhood, Balerio Estacio, a very poor slum with roads that certainly tested our then-shiny-clean vehicles. We split into groups that each included an English/Spanish speaker and visited homes in the immediate area. Sam, Guy and I first said hello and shared with one of the strongest believers in the neighborhood. She told us about her sister and how she was one of the only members of their family to not have come to Christ. We left with her and walked down next door and met Francis, their 61 yr-old father. He was an amazing man, so passionate for God and thankful that we could come and share a few words of encouragement with his family. His daughter said she loved to read the Bible and hear the gospel from people, but still just wasn't ready to make any commitments of her own. She let Sam and I hold her little daughter, who had a full head of dark hair and was so adorable! We moved on to our third and final house, belonging to a woman who was not connected to the missionaries but did have some faith of her own. She said that she somtimes heard the worship music from Marcos' house and loved to sing along to the songs. The word of God is contagious! After leaving the slum we headed back into downtown to go to Giovanni's house church. We were all introduced to one another and sang a few more Spanish worship songs. Sam was able to share with the group about how God has been teaching her to live in His joy and to possess a heart of humbleness. The entirety of the rest of the evening was Spanish-only, so I tried to pick up as much of it as I could. We made it back to the hotel just before 11pm - a long and especially fulfilling day in Guayaquil!