We met at the Tampa Airport Saturday afternoon, introduced ourselves to each other then boarded our airplane to Miami and then on to Guayaquil, Ecuador. We were met at the airport by Ray and Anita Bradley. They are missionaries ministering to the deaf in Ecuador. There were others from the Maranatha Baptist Church there to help us with our baggage. Jake and Sharon Wiebe, the missionaries from Bolivia also met us there and joined the team to begin work on the Maranatha Christian School Building just outside of Guayaquil.
We boarded the bus and traveled to the Church. Just two years ago, the church was meeting on the roof of a two story building in the city. The Bradley's had a vision and were praying for a miracle. It appears that CWE was to be a part of that miracle. In 2001 the church building was built on an empty piece of property, later that year came the multi-purpose building, both were CWE projects. During construction of the second building, the pastor was having his house built. By the time were arrived, another building had also been built to house visiting missionaries.
The first thing we had to do was unload the fans and foam mattresses from the shipping container that had already arrived at the site. By this time it was very late so we prepared our beds and settled down for a good night of rest.
Sunday morning I went out side and shot a photo of the pile of block that would soon become a school.
Pictured here is the church building, behind it is the multi-purpose building.
After breakfast, we all filed into the church for Sunday School. This would be my first opportunity to meet most of the people here, I had not been to Ecuador before, although some of the team had come in 2001. My wife Kathy and Daughter Janelle were part of the team that built the second building.
We opened with music, (done in sign language) and then the children and adults split up for teaching. Adults toward the front of the church and the children split up between the back and the other building.
After Sunday school was over, I was able to shoot some photos of some of the children. They sure love the camera, especially the digital camera, because they can immediately see themselves on the screen.
Like I said, they love to be in pictures.
This little girl was leading a song. The music was interesting. You would hear the sound of arms moving about and the hearing people singing along with them. Pastor Ray is deaf, his teaching is all in sign language, his wife Anita interprets into Spanish. We fortunately had Pastor Jake from Bolivia to translated from Spanish to English for us.
We shot more photos after church. Look at the boy on the far right, he is running to be in the picture.
This little girl is Catherine, I thought she had some of the prettiest eyes I had ever seen.
Monday morning, at 6:00 am, Keith and Ron began sifting sand for mortar.
Once we had some mortar mixed, we were able to begin laying block.
Bruce Johnson saw this boy
watching us intently. He thought it would make a nice picture to have him
holding the blueprints.
I believe that this boy's dad was helping on the project, so he was there early every day before school started.
Before we went in for breakfast, we stopped in to see the opening of the school day in progress.
We laid a lot of block that day. Many of us don't do this kind of work every day. I will tell you, block laying is not the easiest job on earth.
I figure, if JW Peavy can lay block at the age of 72, I can do it at 37.
JW, Brent and I take a break at the end of a hard day's work.
Luis and Mauricio would teach in the morning, and when the kids went home, they would jump right in with us and do whatever was needed. Once I even saw Mauricio wearing an apron so he didn't ruin his clothes.
Early Tuesday morning we met early, opened the day with a word or two of prayer, sipped some coffee and chatted a while before getting too deep into work. Here, Bruce and Jake sharing a laugh.
I think JW wanted someone to think he was in charge, so he had me take this picture of him holding the prints.
The student admiring the workers.
The worker admiring the students.
Working hard before breakfast.
Sergio (from Peru) he is Anita's nephew, is volunteering his summer at the school. Here he poses with Enrique. Enrique is deaf, he is a teacher and also a deacon in the church.
Here I pose with Enrique, another teacher and some of the deaf students. If you look closely, you will see they are signing "I love you" with their hands.
Here, the students are boarding the bus for the ride home, they were all trying to get in the picture.
Gary and Ralph had to modify this drill, using a pipe wrench for leverage while drilling holes for security bars on the windows.
Alex kept finding scorpions and bringing them to us.
Pastor Ray and Anita come out to chat at the end of the day.
Wednesday morning, we worked for an hour or two, had breakfast, and then walked around the classrooms and watch school in progress.
I sure am glad to be a part of this miracle.
Some of the students wrote bible verses on little card and gave one to each of us as we worked. These are moments I will remember forever.
Here is a scan of the one they
gave me, It is Philippians 1, verse 3.
I reads "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you"
There was a side walk that had been broken by concrete trucks, so Ralph and I began breaking it up.
Then Dave, Jorge, and I finished it.
Jorge, Michael, Sergio and Corey
Sergio, Me, Alex, Jorge, and Michael with another blue eyed boy.
As you look at these pictures, it looks like we are sitting around talking, which would be right. The problem is that of the South Americans pictured, only Sergio knew a little English, the others knew none, I know just a little Spanish and Corey knew none. I learn so quickly when we sit around like this and I am forced to try to get along in Spanish. Fortunately Sergio's English was fairly good.
Thursday we laid the last of the block, prepared the window openings for windows, installed the plumbing then cleaned and stowed the tools for their journey home to Florida.
When finished, we decided to play a game of volleyball, or as the South American's called it, Ball Volley.
This is how the new school appeared after just four days of work. It is now ready for the second CWE team to add the roof.
With our part of the project completed, we went to the city to shop and see the sights of Guayaquil.
Guayaquil is a city of more than 2,000,000 on the Guayas River just before it opens into the Pacific Ocean. It is the largest city in Ecuador.
Many of the guys were hot and tired after shopping and decided to stay home and nap, Sergio and I decided to take a walk.
The school is located down a deserted dirt road outside the city.
As we walked, we talked about his home and family in Peru, and my home and family in Florida. He told me as we were walking that he thinks he is being called to be a missionary. He may not realize it, but he already is, and so are each of us, only to various degrees, depending on how we let God use us.
Arriving home we found Alex doing back flips off the sand pile.
Sergio playing in a toy house.
One last game of Ball Volley.
Then we got out of bed early, went to the airport and headed home.
I know I've said this before, but I'll sure miss those guys.