Friday, June 19, 2009

OM - Day 19

I made it to Ecuador two days ago, and walked off the plane with some really good stories! My first flight was from Mexico City to Houston, Texas. Apparently, you have to go through U.S. Customs even if you're on a connecting flight and your baggage is automatically transferred. Nevertheless, I made it through, if only to stay in America for a few minutes. I had good phone reception so I used what time I had to make a couple calls before I left again.

On the plane to Panama City, I sat next to a guy named Michael, who is traveling to Panama to stay with his mother for a month before he starts college. He was nice and took lots of pictures from the plane, which I hope to get from him. A girl sat in front of us who went on to Santiago, Chile to study abroad (don't know her name). I told her I'd be in Santiago in a week, but I'm sure we won't cross paths again.

The Panama City airport is nice because you don't have to worry about customs or immigration if you're not staying in the country. On the plane from Panama City to Guayaquil, Ecuador, I was sick of flying (almost literally sick). I didn't have a good seat, and it was getting late. I just wanted to lay down and sleep for days. I sat down next to an elderly lady who only spoke Spanish. Soon after, a guy from Ecuador sat on the other side of me; he spoke English very well. We started a conversation, and he asked me what I was doing in Ecuador, etc. It didn't take long before I mentioned the word "gospel" and he said, "Oh, do I need the Gospel! What do you know about it?" This was perhaps the most exciting moment of the trip so far. This man (whose name I later found out was Luis) had grown up Catholic but separated from the church because of all the hypocrisy he saw. He recognized that his life was in a bad spot, and I had the chance to share the gospel with him! He asked some really good intellectual questions. I was quite impressed. I didn't have all the words to say, and what words I did say definitely came from God. God also provided the witness of the lady on the other side of me. As we were talking, she said something to Luis, and he told me that she was a Christian. Later on, after we were done talking, she and Luis had a deep discussion about Christianity in Spanish. I don't know what was said, but I trust that God used her to reaffirm the truth.

As far as I know, Luis wasn't a believer when we parted ways in the airport. But hopefully a seed of truth was planted in his heart, and God will use that encounter and many others to draw this random Ecuadorian man to Himself. If you would pray for Luis and that God would send the Holy Spirit to teach him truth and to convict his heart, I would appreciate that. I doubt I'll ever see him again on this earth, but I'm hoping and praying that I'll see him in eternity.

And that was the plane ride.

I got to Ecuador and felt like sickness was in the air because of all the people wearing masks. At any rate, I got dropped off at an apartment, where another OMer is staying. Darren is a guy from South Africa (an MK I believe), and he's been working with OM Ecuador for a while. He's out pondering life right now.

Guayaquil is busy and loud. On first impression (which are never really that good), it seems to be more American than Mexico City, but poorer. I've heard that it's not even safe to walk two blocks from the office to the apartment with a laptop or other valuable items. Everything is locked up really well. You need three separate keys just to get to the apartment I'm staying at (which I don't have, so I rely on others to get me places). Like in all Latin America, the tap water isn't safe to drink, so we have large jugs of purified water. I have internet at the office and at the apartment, but it's not as reliable. Neither is the electricity. I don't know why, but my cell phone won't charge at the apartment, but it will at the office. My laptop works fine. The outlets aren't grounded, but they are the same interface as America. Ecuador also uses USD as its currency, which is nice if I ever bought something.

Without boring you to tears, I'll try to close up. There are three German students working here. They've been in Santiago for 9 weeks and have been here for 3 weeks already. They are doing stuff like going to orphanages, putting on presentations, and ministering to local people. I have a nice long list of things to do in Ecuador, but I haven't been able to work on them too much. I got some computer problems fixed, but I have to wait until tomorrow to work on some other things. I might be helping Roberto buy the necessary hardware for two PCs and then building them, but I have to decide if I have time to do that. I leave Tuesday for Chile, so it would be stretching it if I decided to do that. More updates later.

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