Kristen Bodniza (Intro + Our Women's section)
Martin Angus (Our Men's section)
Waking up exhausted from a five hour flight and going to bed past 2 A.M., you would think we were out of energy for this new day ahead. With a little cafecito, loved-filled breakfast made by the wonderful kitchen team, and prayer guided by Byron’s devotion, we were beyond ready to take on the first day of our mission’s trip!
Byron led us in prayer by offering his gratitude of being in the presence of his homeland.
His words of encouraging words allowed us to feel energized by God’s guidance into the divine mission taking place.
Our first activity of the day is arriving at the location of the home being built for the family that we have sponsored. We are introduced to the beautiful family of four: a husband and wife, and two young girls. Our Extreme Response director, Mike, acts as a translator for our partner Teresa, the wife of the pastor from the church we are working with here in Quito, who is explaining the story of the family and how they have been blessed as the chosen family receiving the home.
This family has been through ample challenging times from living in a small studio room (being a family of 4) that has no door, to rats eating their hard earned food as they sleep. While they are still struggling, their faithful attitudes have led them to the great blessing of manifesting this home and partnering with The Bridge Church for a better home and an abundance of prayer from our missionary team and beyond.
I leave with the women as we travel to the Women’s Center while men continue to finish building the home. We arrive and are grateful to join the women who have experienced years of working at the dump, working over fifteen hour days, to earn a living (about $70 a month) to help sustain their children. Glenda and Lucy guide the space of about 30 women into a teaching and devotion of Jesus Christ, following a fun arts and craft activity. Their comforting energy allowed for all the women there to feel safe and nurtured by our team as well. We were able to pass out self-care packages to them with some essentials and pray with love, ending with hugs and more blessings.
A few hours later after the women have left, the children of those same women arrive and we got to joyfully connect with them! We play a few games, create a cool Jesus themed art lantern, Emily performs a puppet skit with Ceci, and they leave happily with a fun-filled care package as well.
To end the evening, the team debriefs at an Ecuadorian restaurant with delicious food. We share prayer and have live music played for us by an Indeginous band whom carry many gifts! Overall, it was a wonderful first day and it is all thanks to God! Amen.
Upon our arrival to where the house will be built, we were greeted by smiling little faces with sun kissed skin and the songs of their hearts on the edges of their eyes. We’d slept no more than four hours the night before, after more than half a day’s travel to a new continent, but it was these faces that mustered the energy of titans within us. Our first objective was now completed – we arrived.
Daniel, Johanna, and their two daughters. For 10-15 minutes, we hugged, we smiled and we exchanged pleasantries. In that moment, we knew that everything was as it should be – all that was left to do was to recognize God’s presence. Within 20 minutes of our arrival, we walked into what will soon be Daniel and Johana’s living room. The housing structure Johana, Daniel and their family will be living in is integrated into the side of a hill at roughly 9,000 ft. elevation. When you look into the distance it feels like you can see all of God’s earth. Rolling hills, mountains that weave in and out of each other like the bird that inhabit them. To say the view is incredible, is an understatement.
Johana and Daniel began to tell us their story. They told us of their struggles. They spoke of the challenges their relationship faced and they told us what is was like when they committed to God. After some tears, and thank you’s we all knew what needed to be done next- the continuance of God’s work. Soon, the men said our farewells to our women’s mission team and started building. We blended, stirred, poured and laid cement. We lifted, broke, aligned and laid brick. We dug, compiled, mixed, and shoveled dirt. No, it was not easy, but it wasn’t about being easy. It wasn’t about being hard. It was right, and we all knew it.
After 6 hours in the sun, smiling, working, collaborating and laughing we had completed about 40% of the second floor wall structure. Johana and Daniel worked with us the entire time. We could feel the progress and we could feel God’s love. To us there was no difference.
At the end of the day, we enjoyed our work and God blessed us with a full missions team meal at a restaurant 150 feet from the equator. From the center of his earth. God is good.