Honey, I'm home!
At last, we are finally in Salasaca, Ecaudor. I have been waiting to do my internship for quite a while, and it officially started today. We left Latacunga Saturday afternoon to drive down to Ambato, where the missionaries we are working with live (they are the Salay family). We had dinner with them before heading over to our little place in Manzanapamba Chico area of Salasaca. Manazanapamba Chico means "the small apple valley". It is so beautiful here; as far as you can see are little fields of crops and little homes. It is great.
Today we went to the Quichua church service. Shedd and Chris Waskosky, two other missionsaries, took us to church. It was suppposed to start at nine, but when we arrived at 9:05, we were the first to arrive. The service actually started about 20 minutes later. I'm glad I will never be late. More and more people arrived as the service proceeded.
We sang several songs in Spanish and Quichua. Jonathan and Larry did a good job of letting me know some of the lyrics. We clapped a lot, and I was glad to have some means of participating. There was also plenty to see-- a man with a large stick was chasing out the dogs roaming the sanctuary. Back to a spiritual note, they also had 2 long times of prayer, and it was so neat to hear so many Quichua voices being raised up to God. One of the missionaries read a passage from the Salasaca Quichua Bible. It was so neat to later hear the pastor say how much easier the Bible was to understand when it was in his own language. Then came the sermon, which was lead by a Quichua pastor. He is an older man, who just completed his high school diploma. His sermon was about Jesus choosing His people and providing for them. Larry kept us up with most of the points.
After the sermon was an offering and announcements. Larry stood up and introduced us. He told them what we would be doing while in Salasaca. He also gave Jonathan a chance to speak. I honestly don't know what Jonathan said, but I smiled really nice and laughed when I though appropriate. Hopefully I will learn some of the langauge soon in order to avoid being oblivious. The service ended with some more worship time in both Spanish and Quichua.
After the service, Jonathan and I met with the youth in the church community. There were about 12 of them, and they said that they were interested in doing some type of Bible study. The church is currently in the process of trying to build up a youth program. They have an out-of-town pastor meet with the youth leaders to train them. Right now they only have four of the six leaders they need. The whole conversation with the youth was another one of my oblivious moments. Jonathan spoke in Spanish, and Guillermo, the worship leader, clarified in Quichua. I could understand about half of what Jonathan was saying... I think my Spanish has improved in the past couple of days.
After church, we went with the Salays out to eat and to the grocery store. Ecuador has amazing prices on food. Jonathan and I spend just under $20 and got most of what we will need for the next several days. Yeah for being able to afford food! After the grocery store, we went to a park and played with the Salay's two kids for two hours. It was such a beautiful day.
I write you now after having a wonderful dinner of pancakes and eggs. It is great to have a place of our own. I can't wait till tomorrow when the linguistic part of our internship starts.
Last night when we got in to the translation center (where our little apartment is) I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has a decent amount of room. Though, after living in Culby for 4 years, that not necessarily saying too much. When you walk in the door to the building you come right into the translation room where Larry works. A curtain separates this from the rest of the apartment. Going behind the curtain you would find yourself in a small kitchen with a small fridge and a full size stove with a broken oven-- but all four burners work! Who's complaining? This opens into the sitting area with a couch, two chairs, and a tiny tv and dvd player where we could watch movies if we had any. Against one of the walls is a bunk bed which is functioning as a storage shelf for other missionaries. The bathroom and bedroom are off of this room.
Church this morning was pretty much what I have experienced in a typical Quichua church service, although the speakers weren't blared too much, and pastor Carlos smiled a lot when he preached. Everyone, even the older folks looked me in the eye when they said hello, which is not typical, as the Quichua people have a long history of being more servants than equals until 50 years ago, and looking someone in the eye was considered more of a challenge than courtesy.
I must say I was nervous when Larry handed me the mic after introducing us in church. I wasn't sure what I should say. Only an hour ago what I had thought meant "God bless you" in Quichua I had found out meant "May God not bless you." Oops...........
So I said hello in Quichua (which is about 1/7 of what I know) and told everyone that we were really glad to be there.
Speaking with the youth after the service was great, although I was quite nervous. I don't know much about these students and what they are facing at all (Although Larry and I talked about it later in the day). I could't speak their first language (Someone had to clarify what I was saying a couple times), and I only had another 5 weeks to do something with them. In one of our youth ministry classes we wrote out a Description of a Discipled Person (DDP) which is pretty much all the things what we invision a person we've discipled learning. My DDP would probably take around 2-3 years to complete. What can I give in 5 weeks? I might just be learning their names! We meet next Sunday for a Bible study (on I don't know what yet--Please Pray!), and I hope that by the time we're done here I can at least have everyone's name learned!