Teaching in Ecuador has been wonderful! We have classes full of students who care about learning. Since Keith and I have made ourselves available for students who need help, we rarely have time to ourselves. Students come in for help just about every period that we are not teaching. The period just before lunch usually has at least 10 students there for help. What a change! I also usually have students coming in before school and, if I can stay, after school. It is a lot of work, but we love it!
We are also loving our encounters with the work of Nazarene Missions while we are here. Every Sunday that Dwight and Carolyn Rich have been here, we have been invited to go with them to attend various Nazarene Churches in and around Quito. We have attended an indigenous youth rally in Otavalo (over an hour north of Quito), and an indigenous church plant in Latacunga (1 1/2 hours south of Quito). The first one was held at a school because none of the churches were big enough to host the event. We have found that the indigenous churches are the most generous with visitors. They usually prepare a meal for the visitors to eat. Something that really bothers me, but I know it is a cultural thing, is that the indigenous people will feed their guests the best of the food, but will not sit and eat with them. I have been told it is because they do not feel worthy to eat with their guests. We are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ. Not one of us is any greater than any other. At the first indigenous church they fed us a typical soup. We got pieces of chicken in our soup, but very few others did. The second indigenous church fed us a typical meal of cuy, boiled hominy, potatos, popcorn, baked plantain, pork and a cheese empanada. For those of you who don't know what cuy is.... we call them guinea pig..... It was good, but for some it might be hard to get past the roasted rat look....
We have also attended several Jesus Film Plant churches in suburbs of Quito and a church that has at least a 50% Haitian population. To see how God is working and transforming lives through the work of the Church of the Nazarene has been wonderful.
On Saturday, while we were attending a seminar in the chapel at the school, we experienced a first for us. At 8:51, while our principal was speaking, we heard a rumbling noise. Within seconds, the floor started vibrating and the roof creaking. There were a couple of pretty solid jolts and then all quieted down. Some people knew immediately what was going on and dove under the tables. Those of us who had never lived through an earthquake before just kind of stood there looking around. The epicenter was 10 miles north east of Quito (within about 4 miles of where we live). It was a 4.0 on the richter scale, so it was nothing major and there was no damage to any of the structures at the school or the seminary, but it definitely woke anyone who was sleeping up. They felt it more at the seminary than where we were. We have heard that a bridge north of Quito was damaged and one store lost some windows.
We continue to thank God for the privilege we have to be a part of His work in Quito. We pray that we can have a positive influence on the students we work with and the people we come in contact with.