It is crazy to think that our time in Salasaca is now over and that we are leaving Ecuador on Thursday. So much has happened during these past 6 weeks, and Jonathan and I have grown so much as a result of the challenges and blessings the experience has brought. So here is our last week in Salasaca and some concluding thoughts...
Monday and Tuesday
I was sick most of the week before, so I was glad to be finally out of bed in time for conulant checking. The translation team had finished the comprehension check of the book of James --where they have a Salasacan read a passage and answers content questions-- so they were ready for the next step. We met with the consultant over Skype, and they went verse by verse through the book. It was a very neat experience. The consultant spoke a great deal of English the first day, so I was able to understand a lot. The next day he spoke mainly in Spanish, but Larry let me know what was going on. James was an internsting book to observe because of all the idioms.
There were several difficulties in the checking because Salasaca Quichua doesn't have several words that are necessary in translating James. They don't distinguish between compassion and mercy, so it made translating James 5:11 very difficult: “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” Also, the idea of testing of your faith created issues because the language does not have any comprehension of the idea of testing. One humorous part of the consultant checking was James 3:9, which talks about cursing. Salasaca Quichua doesn't have a word for curse, so the consultant suggested putting a curse instead. They co-translators started sharing all these different curses in SQ. It made for a good laugh.
The consulting checks went by a lot faster than we expected. We spent so much time in the earlier part of the book that we expected it to last through Wednesday. Everyone was relieved to have the book finished by Tuesday. Now the translation team just needs to make some changes that were suggested. Then a meeting with all the translators and the book will be ready! With so many long hours spent on translating, it was a relief to know a job was well done.
On Monday we went with Kris and Andy-- someone who has been in Ecuador for the past 6 months and happens to live less than 20 minutes from where Jonathan and I will be living in Ohio-- to one of the schools. Kris read the Little Red Hen in Quichua to the three different classrooms, and Jonathan, Andy, and I played the roles of the dog, cat, and mouse accordingly. It was a lot of fun. We passed out copies of the Quichua book and gave the school several different Arch books—simple Bible stories that have been translated into Quichua.
I have been working on transcribing a book into Salasaca Quichua. Nancy, one of the co-translators, had read a Quichua story to me about a bird and an ant. I recorded it and transcribed it into both IPA-international phonetics alphabet- and in Quichua. On Wednesday, I had Nancy check my transciption so that I could make it into a book. I got the stamp of approval, so I started making the book. The book will be given out to students as a means to encourage reading in Quichua.
More often than not, literacy and translation go hand in hand. Most Salasacans are not very good Quicha readers. Though Quichua's orthography is similar to Spanish, most people don't take the time to learn these differences. It is extremely important though that Salasacans are able to read their own language, because if they don't, the translation of the Bible wouldn't be useful. In addition to doing Bible translation, the two families also focus on increasing literacy. They have made several primer books which help with the ease of reading. They have also translated Arch books to make the transition easier. Like the Little Red Hen, the book I translated will be handed out at schools.
After Nancy and Juana left, Jonathan and I took on the role as mom and dad. We had volunteered our services so that Larry and Susan could have some time away from being parents. We made hamburgers for dinner and played more legos than I imagined could keep them entertained. Jonathan was in heaven, because the two hours we spent playing legos at his house while in Latacunga wasn't enough. We also invented a really fun way of playing Ticket to Ride with just two teams and watched part of Journey to the Center of the Earth.
It didn't seem to matter that we kept the kids up late, because they were up and ready at 7 to spend a fun day with Maggie and Jonathan. My cough had woken me up during the night, so Jonathan took over breakfast and let me sleep. I'm so thankful to have a caring husband. After breakfast we played more Legos, Monopoly, and colored. Jonathan and I made brownies for our last youth meeting during some down time.
From the day of being parents, we have concluded that God has his reasons for giving you babies instead of 8 and 10 year-olds. You need all that time to develop the patience and endurance it takes. I'm happy to have just my husband in the family for now.
We enjoyed our last Thursday dinner with the Salays. I think that our Thursdays won't be as much fun without our weekly get togethers. It has been so much fun getting to know this wonderful family over the past 6 weeks. God is using them in so many ways, and He is giving them strength when things get hard. They have been such an encouragment to Jonathan and I in more ways than I can express.
It was hard to believe that this would be my last day doing linguistic things for my internship. Our final language session with Bertha was a lot of fun. We went on a walk and used the Quicha that we knew: “There are 2 sheep”; “That is a flower”; “What is this?” We have really appriciated Bertha's patience with us as we've been learning. She has always been so encouraging with all of her allimi (good job). I, of course, got sunburned during our walk. I'm now supporting a v-neck tan.
I spend the rest of the day finishing up my book in time for kids club. Jonathan has been working on all the necessary adult things that we need to have by the time we return to the states: renter's insurance, car insurance, health insurance, and all the other fun things you can imagine. Why can't we stay in Ecuador where we can live for $5 a day?
With my book finished, we helped Larry out with Kids' Club one last time. Jonathan led them in a game of Spud after we had finished playing all the boardgames. Larry read them the story of Jericho, and I had drawn a picture for them to color. It was my last piece of work, and sadly Jonathan's coloring job was only able to be displayed on our fridge for a couple of days.
Friday's are our most exausting day, because we only have an hour between kids' club and youth group-- or we are only supposed to have an hour but everyone shows up late. Larry, Jonathan, and I decided that we attempt to climb Illiniza Norte (just under 17,000 feet) the following day. This meant we would have to leave our place at 4:30. It was going to be a short night.
The youth started to arrive at 8. We ended up with 15 students, which was our lowest number, and most of them were from church. We played this really fun game where everyone is a statue except for a tourist and a tour guide. They walk around with a flashlight, and if they see a statue move, the statue joins them as a tourist. This was the perfect game with the number we had. We also played 4 corners – I was surprised by how much they liked this. Jonathan gave a wonderful devotion about hitting the mark. He had them throw darts and then tied it to how we are dependent on Christ. It was wonderful!
Nancy had asked us the day before if we could stay in Salasaca longer to work with the youth. The whole church has been greatly concerned with what will happen once we leave. We invited the president of the church, the pastor, and other church leaders to come to our last meeting. They all did, and after the youth meeting, everyone-- youth included-- discussed what would happen. Jonathan encouraged them to continue meeting. The hard part had been done- getting everyone together-- and the meetings could easily continue with a little effort from the youth. We encouraged them that they all could play a role in leading. We also encouraged them to pray about it and to trust God to take care of the details. Salasacans often want to do things big or go home, but they could easily maintain the meetings. They finally decided that they would meet the following week. Lord, please let these meetings continue.
Jonathan and I went to bed after 12. It was a short night.
We really wondered what we were thinking when we decided to climb a mountain after so little sleep. It didn't help that when we got to the foot of the mountian at 7:30 that there were clouds overhead. I was still recovering from my bad cough and congestion, so we took things real slow. We were doing very well at first, but then came the steep up hill. We were completely in a cloud, and were soaked before we knew it. The cold breeze didn't make anything easier. We were ¾ way up, when the cold and my cough started to get to me. We weren't really prepared for the cold weather-- we thought it would be a sunny day-- so we decided to turn back. It took us forever to get down the steep slope. I have a huge bruise on my rear to show how hard it was. Though it was difficult, we all really enjoyed the experience. It was a nice hike 95% of the time, and we will all have to summit when Jonathan and I return to Ecuador.
Our final week in Salasaca flew by. We couldn't believe that Sunday came so fast. Jonathan and I had spent a lot of time deciding on our final lesson topics. We settled on 1 Corinthians 12-- talking about us being a part of the body-- and warning about false teaching. I spoke on 1 Corthians 12, and Jonathan taught on the other topic. We tried to encourage them that God gave them gifts that they can use to serve the church. They can also use these gifts to keep the youth group running. Jonathan's topic was really necessary because of the influences around them. He encoruaged them that they need to always go to the Bible to varify things they hear.
The sad thing was that half of the Sunday school class was working on throwing us a good bye party-- called a Despedida. We generally keep on teachign Sunday school till we hear them singing in church, but this time someone came in to get us. The church wanted to say good bye to us. Jonathan played a song with one of the students, and then said a thanks to everyone. The church gave us some nice Ecuadorian bags. After that, we went to the youth's party. Sadly, they separate the guests of honor, so Jonathan and I sat on the opposite side of the room as everyone else. Several students gave speeches of how they will miss us, and Jonathan and I were able to express our appriciation. We had cake, jello, sang songs, and said all of our good byes. Please be praying for the youth of Salasaca as they continue to meet. Pray that God will raise up leaders within them and will encourage them to serve.
We had a good bye lunch with the Salays and Waskoskys afterwards. We are really going to miss theses two families. We packed up our things and headed back to Latacunga.
We have really loved our time in Salasaca, and we are glad that we will return to Ecuador some time in the next 18 months. Please continue to pray for all those we have met.
We head back to the states Thursday evening, if we can catch a flight.