SuperBowl Day! It seems appropriate that my last day in the States is spent celebrating a very American tradition. Some part of me will definitely miss eating way too much junk food and sitting around a TV. I am not positive, but I don’t think that will be part of the normal culture in Ecuador. I am very excited to begin this new adventure, but I do think that it is going to be challenging to take on a new culture and new traditions for almost 4 months! Since I received the acceptance letter this summer saying that I would be going to Ecuador in spring of 2009 I was excited about the opportunity, but also very nervous about how I would do with the change in language and culture. Although I am still nervous and anticipating a challenge in the upcoming months, I know that I am supported by friends and family from home as well as my new family in Ecuador. Last Friday I received an email from my host family in Ecuador and we have been writing each other for the past few days. As I read the first email I was a intimidated but was able to understand most of what it said. Then I started to write back and realized that I am able to understand more than I can speak. I hope that in the first few weeks in Ecuador that my Spanish will improve and I will be able to communicate more effectively with my family as well as with the people of the Verbo Church that I will be working with.
Part of my experience will be taking intensive Spanish classes, especially at the beginning, so that I can get accustomed to the language. This is going to an interesting experience because I am the only one that will be in the 300 level Spanish at the beginning, so I have a one on one teacher. I am the only one in the class. I’m still trying to let that sink in, talk about a challenge. I guess I will have no choice but to learn Spanish! I will also be spending a good portion of my time at the Church learning from the leaders of the Church as well as getting involved in some of the ministries. My friend Grant, the other Christian Education Major going on our trip, and I have the opportunity to learn about ministry and people through and addictions ministry, meeting with new people in the Church, and also working some with the Youth Ministry. Something that I am really excited about is the amount of trips that we get to go on. Over the 15 week semester we will be in Quito (the Capitol city), a few day trips to El Cajas, Gualaceo and Chordeleg, and three 5 day trips to the Jungle, the Galapagos, and also to Gualaquiza (a smaller town where Verbo has planted a small Church)! I am praying that we will be able to learn from as much as possible from the people of the Church, and I am also praying that we can be useful and resourceful to the Church.
As I finish any small preparations to leave, please pray....
1. That I will be open to any changes that the new culture brings, and that I will have an easy transition from America to Ecuador.
2. That I will make meaningful relationships with other students studying abroad with me, and also with the families in Ecuador.
3. For safe and healthy travels of everyone going, and
4. For the ministries at the Verbo Church in Cuenca