EMT 2015

EMT 2015
2015 Ecuador Mission Team

Day 8: Filling Our Cups in Nono | June 20th 2015

Just like a car has gauges telling us speed, engine temp (we learned this one day one!), and fuel level, so we ALL have gauges telling us our level of fullness or exhaustion.

The three gauges we all have are PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, and SPIRITUAL. For those who have been on a trip like this, you know this well.

And suffice to say, by the end of the week, our gauges were reading in the red. We were like cups with holes poked in them. We once held water but that water has flowed out to give someone else a drink. It is time for us to refill.

Our amazing hosts, Pancho and Pity, have been around enough trips to anticipate our low gauges and had an incredible day of refilling the heart, body, and soul in store.

And so it was off to Nono, a rural mountain town about an hour outside of Quito where Pity's friends and and family have farmhouses.

The nimble cows of Nono.

The headmaster of Alliance International School , the "Whitefield of Quito", was kind enough to host us during the morning at his house. We enjoyed stunning views, horse back rides, and fresh air.

Olivia and Bailey wrangle "Chocolat"

Christina takes a ride!

Malcolm saddles up for the first time!

Olivia and others hiked to a spot where we fed horses carrots, the Spanish for which, "zanahoria", is fun to say because it sounds like the title of a bad sic-fi movie. Also, it probably has way to many syllables (5) for a basic orange vegetable.

We left the The Wells' house and several of us biked the windy paths to Pity's parents. It was exhilarating, but again, ALTITUDE, WHY YOU KNOW LIKE MY LUNGS?!

We rode...

We walked...

And filled our cups!


After lunch it was on to a USA vs Ecuador soccer match, this time (thankfully) on grass!

While some filled their gauges through soccer, other were filled connecting to their artsy side.

Though the US went up early, the game ended in a tie. Thankfully, too, as our bodies were WORN! Something told us though that Pancho wouldn't let this game end any other way!

Nono is dairy country...here is a typical road block!

Back at the farmhouse we played games, sang worship songs, listened to a devotional, and reflected on our experience. A gift Pancho gave each of us was 10 minutes of silence. It's amazing, in our world of screen and insta-everything, just how challenging this is.

But the gift was received and the result was evidence of our cups filling back up. The specifics of our time will stay within the group but know that words of new healing of deep wounds were offered - that tears were shed, hugs given, and hearts clearly changed.

It seems like cup-emptying experiences are often the most memorable - we will certainly remember this one! And the solace of Nono was the perfect host to help us see the growth that's begun.

Thanks be to God for this wonderful time, this wonderful place, for open hearts, and and for unlooked for healing of hurts. And thanks TO YOU for supporting us!

Tomorrow is our final day! Amazing that we will finally be coming back down the mountain.

Until then, Amor y Esperanza to all!

~EMT 2015~

Day 7: La Despedida | June 19th 2015

"Despedida" can be loosely translated as "farewell party" and is the perfect word to sum up our final day at the school.

As you'll see in the pictures, we leave this place with hearts full of love, arms full of kids, and in some cases eyes full of tears!

From the beginning we knew that this trip was just as much, if not more, about us than the kids we set out to serve. Today we felt it! We thank the Lord for "hearts opened wide" (2 Corinthians 6:13, 7:2). Our hearts are full not just knowing that a job was well done, but more that friendships bigger than this world were formed. Thank the Lord!

The 3rd graders practiced their verse of the week, Joshua 1:6 by popping in on the other classes. The verse is a theme of Amor y Esperanza, "Sea fuerte y valiente"...in English below.


After classes the school held an assembly for us. They went all out making us feel like the guests of honor, including plays, songs, and handmade cards for each of us.


There was a special and moving presentation for Jackie Tolford, for whom this is her 8th and final trip. Jackie is a truly beautiful soul and a blessing to ALL who have been grace to know her!

Los "decimos" (10th graders) take a bow after performing "La Bella Dormiente" (Sleeping Beauty) in English for us!

After the program we had a chance to get pictures and give LOTS of hugs to our new friends.


Now it was our turn to throw a Despedida, this time for the teachers and staff of Amor y Esperanza, all of whom work tirelessly (without much compensation) to create an world of light in a place often full of darkness.

Upon entering we serenaded them with worship songs and, er, Firework by Katy Perry. They loved it! A highlight was singing "Our God", a song AyE had sung twice for in Spanish. This time it was our turn to reciprocate in English, with our friends joining in their heart language. The mix of languages worshipping the same God was truly beautiful and powerful moment...a taste of heaven when all cultures worship in peace together.

After singing we lead our friends in, what else, a square dance! One appropriately titled "Marching Down in Georgia"! Smiles were big as were laughs.


A Whitefield tradition is to leave gifts for the teachers. Here, our beloved cook Bachita, poses with our girls and her new handbag.

We left full of love but completely exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I guess there is a cost to going deep and making an authentic connection. Well worth it though!

Thanks be to God for the strength this week. We pray for the "strength and courage" of our friends, as well as for ourselves, as we prepare to come home with a broadened perspective of the beautiful family of God worldwide.

Ok, now to sleep!

We love you all...Strength and Courage!

~EMT 2015~

Day 6: Vision for a New Amor y Esperanza! | June 18th 2015

Today started special with us waking up for a 7am (instead of 7:30am) breakfast to allow time to visit the site of the New Amor y Esperanza school.

What a vision! The new school is just down the hill from the present one and has an unbelievable 180º view of the city and mountains.

Currently AyE is BUSTING at the seams, and that is for a school running 1st-10th grade! There is zero space left to grow and each year another grade level is added.

The vision for the new building is bigger though - to not only make space for a complete 1st-12th education, but also to utilize its space as a two year career and skills school during the nights.


Unfortunately (or fortunately) a recent earth quake prompted building code changes meaning the initial funds raised for the school ($300,000 for the land and $350,000 for the building) is not enough to complete the project. They estimate they need $290,000 more.

Here we are praying for the future of the that school, for God's provision, and that AyE would continue to be bright light in Quito.

Here are some pics of class yesterday:

Alejandra and Valentina created this rocket using the design cycle process.

Kenneth, Josue and Steven proved that the volume of a cone is 1/3 the volume of cylinder with the same base and height using cut outs and marshmallows. Their brains definitely clicked with audible "ahas!"...and WAAAAYYY too many marshmallows got eaten!

Here is Josué's notes for volume of solids. Math geeky stuff :-)

EMT does EMT. After a tumble down a hill, Gabriel had a pretty decent bloody gash in his head. Fortunately, we had our med kit and got him cleaned up! Way to go Bailey using your Whitefield Sports Medicine training.

We've spent the past few afternoons losing our breath from altitude and dust playing soccer with the students. These kids have skills! Here's the crew.

One incredible thing about Quito is that EVERY house has a view of the mountains and valley. This is the view from an empty lot near the school. In the foreground is the local version of "value barbed wire" i.e., broken bottles cemented to the top of walls. They are at once glistening and terrifying!

Tomorrow is our final day teaching. We're praying to finish well!

Amor y Esperanza,

~EMT 2015~

Day 5: It's about the kids...and us! | June 17th 2015

We are now halfway through our trip and it's unbelievable how fast it has gone!

We're hitting a groove with our classes and gelling more and more as a team. As well as things have been, it's about this time when the exhaustion really catches up. Pancho and Pity know this from experience and delivered a powerful devotional aimed at OUR hearts and God's call on OUR lives here and beyond.

We said several times leading up that this trip is just as much, IF NOT MORE, about what happens in our hearts than about our mission to the students. This was confirmed last night as we were given the gift of time to process what we've been experiencing and how this might impact our engagement with mission, home or abroad, in years to come.

More, how loved each one of us are. How we are pursued by a God who loves us when we're on top of the world, and when we're a mess. We have permission to question why there is pain in the world but are reminded that we are loved by a God who experienced all the confusion, frustration, sorrow, joy, laughter, and celebration as we do. Thanks be to God! We pray you feel this as well.

And so afterward it was incredible to receive hand written letters from home. They were VERY well received and more than a few tears of joy were shed. THANK YOU!!

As I said, the exhaustion is catching up...so here is a peek in on our day yesterday!

Kristen and her precious 1st graders learning Philippians 4:13 


Maddie and Olivias 2nd Graders with their animal creations!

Mariah and her 3rd graders

Building towers with the 10th graders. These girls were on it with triangular design. Future engineers of Ecuador!...just, don't eat the tower!

Stomp Rockets with the 9th graders!


After class, we're back up the STEEEEEP hill for soccer and fun!

We love and miss you all. We feel your prayers for strength. Please keep them up as we hit the home stretch!

Paz y Amor (peace and love),

~EMT 2015~

Day 4: Settling In...and the legend of Perrito | June 16th 2015

It's Tuesday and we're settling in to a routine here now.

Thank the Lord!

Day one was stretching, challenging, tears enduring, and exhilarating all at once. So we were grateful for everyone to walk into a much more comfortable situation today.

Here are a couple pictures of our classes.

Mariah and Bailey are teaching third graders english via song, games and creating musical instruments!

Olivia and Maddie are doing an incredible job with the 2nd graders, teaching them English with animals.


Coby and Christina are teaching 7th graders about American Football and Cheerleading by making footballs and pompoms.

 How'd you like for this to be your view from school?! I wouldn't want to leave class!

Malcolm and Henry became our "Profeseros de Ciencias" (Science Teachers) today and lead students through the brainstorm-prototype-test-evaluate-repeat cycle of design by building the tallest marshmallow and straw tower. Here are the 9th grade boys with their creation.

Each day we have lunch in a room on the roof. It's a welcome respite from the sometime chaotic classroom and the constant "teacher teacher, please help!" Today we had the opportunity to hear the story of "Teach Dani", an American woman from Alaska who after graduating came to Ecuador to teach. She is now finishing her first year. We were inspired to see someone make such a bold decision to follow the call to be a on mission. 

In the afternoons we play outside with the students. Several of the team took part in a soccer game, and wow, was it humbling! If it wasn't the altitude, or their crazy skills, getting to us, it was the dust kicked up at every step. Again, check out the view!

"The Legend of Perrito"

During rec time Olivia and Mariah made friends with a local they named "Perrito". Ecuador is overrun with strays, which means lots of "awwwwww" moments from our compassionate dog loving team members. We all learned something from this dog though.

After rec time it followed us back to the school and lingered near our van as we loaded. The girls said their goodbyes (after I made sure they knew we would NOT be taking him home!) and we drove off.

Well, little Perrito would not be deterred. In an amazing display he sprinted up the hill (the same ones that get us winded WALKING up them) for a good two minutes, staying along side our van. Suddenly, a pack of strays jumped out and assaulted him! The cries from our came started, "Come ON Perrito! Don't hurt him! Run run run!"

He fought through the strays and stayed with us until we left the neighborhood, watching as we pulled away.


Now, I'm no dog person but it did make me realize:

That may have been the best day of his life! 

The dog just experienced love like never before!

No one pays attention to or appreciates or TOUCHES a stray!

I couldn't help but think of Jesus touching the Lepers and showing them...showing US a love we've never had before. I pray that we would run after that love just like Perrito. I pray we would share that love with ALL in our lives. If we can share with a dog, how much more with the students at Amor y Esperanza, with our friends and families, with the overlooked in our lives.

Lord we pray your grace to SHARE your grace!

Amor y Esperanza (Love and Hope) to you all,

~EMT 2015~