I don't even know where to start since it's been so long since I've posted. We have had no Internet and have had to use wifi where we can find it in restaurants or cafes but the Internet here is so slooow. But I'm happy to announce we have found our home here in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador!
Last you heard from us we were travelling to Crucita. Well we did and it was beautiful but we had a yearning to travel a little bit more north. That night we got back from Crucita and I decided to Google Bahia (a little city north of Crucita). Well I came across a lovely blog from a sister from the states that is now living in the city of Cuenca, Ecuador with her family. WELL she had visited Bahia and raved about the congregation and the city on her blog. I felt like it was such a clear answer to prayer that I randomly found her blog. I emailed her that night and heard back the next day! She confirmed my one big question which was about if the hall was in need of help with a yes and gave us contact information. Thank you Jehovah. So the next day we boarded the bus to travel to a town where we knew nobody (all our other trips through the country, we had at least someone we knew or a place to stay) Well this time two days before Christmas, we only had a telephone number and the hope that we would be able to find lodging in Bahia. As we packed our bags to leave from Manta that morning, I told Matt, "you realize it's two days before Christmas, and we're travelling to one of Ecuador's biggest tourist areas right? If we find a place to stay tonight, it'll have to be a miracle." And he said, "well then we'll know its Jehovah answering our prayers wont we?..."
So As I sat back in my squeaky bus seat with salsa music blasting through the bus speakers, I decided to release all my anxiety, we were completely in Jehovah's hands.
Four hours later we were checking into the best most reputable hostal in Bahia. Ok, I thought, we're off to a pretty good start. We decided to take a walk around the little city of Bahia and let me tell you, we started to fall in love. First of all it was the cleanest city I've seen in Ecuador yet. On top of that, this city is just, well tranquilo...is how the locals here call it. In other words, chill. On our walk we passed a beautiful Condo high rise right on the water. The office front door was wide open and at the same time Matt and I were drawn to cross the street and walk in. "Let's just ask" I said all smiles. Well we met a really sweet lady at the front desk, that after we explained we were witnesses, told us she'd been trying to get to the meetings but she loves the magazines. The taste of this town in my mouth just kept getting better... She says let me call my boss, he's an American, I'm sure he can help you find an apt. She gets on the phone with him and passes it to me..."I'll be right there, let's grab some beers and you can tell me what you need for an apt" is what I heard on the other end..oh boy what did I get us into?! I was already blushing thinking about how I would explain that we could never afford his Condos that we were just asking for, ya know, fun?...sigh!
So he takes us to this beautiful restaurant on the water and we explain to him why we're in Ecuador and what our teeny weeny budget is. Well, yes we couldn't afford his condos BUT he says he's friends with a witness sister that could help us find an apt in our budget. He proceeded to call her for us, gave her our number and gave us hers. She called a couple hours later and at 10 that night when she got home she picked us up from the hostal and with her husband did the one thing I had been praying for and waiting for to feel like we had Jehovah's blessing on this destination: they pleaded with us to stay.
I can't help but get tears in my eyes as I type this because my heart sometimes just can't take it. As we round out on one month in this country, I still find myself amazed and in awe with Jehovah's astounding ability to never ever abandon His people. I have never been in such a position of complete reliance and utter vulnerability. It has made me squirm, it has made my cry but man, it has made me the happiest little girl in Ecuador in the end. My imperfection constantly causes me to fight this tendency to fret and become wrought with anxiety over all the decisions we've had to make and all the doors we've had to knock on, waiting for that one to open. But I am learning patience, sometimes very impatiently. And I am learning that the obstacles that I create in my mind are a waste of time to worry about. Jehovah never had them in His mind anyway.
Well since this blog is called EcuaDOOR to DOOR, I will be posting very soon about the ministry. But I will say it is amazing. The average seems to be starting two studies every time we go in service (!). And PS, the contact number from that sister that I emailed, was the coordinators number. We made service plans with him for Christmas Eve and it was awesome. He told us of the congregation and the territory's needs. And like the sister the night before, enthusiastically pleaded that we make Bahia our home.
It feels great to settle down and get to know this city. We've also been blessed to be adopted into an amazingly hospitable family while we searched for our apartment. Yes, with that same sister and brother we met at 10 pm that night, two days before Christmas. Yeah, I know:)
Here are some pics. Love you guys and miss you so much xoxo