In the last 6 months, we have been blessed to travel some around Ecuador. I have enjoyed each of our ventures into this beautiful and diverse country. Here is a little taste of some of the trips we have enjoyed.
Back at the end of July and the beginning of August, my mom came down to help me out with the kids while Josh was traveling. We took a day at the very end to take her out to a wildlife reserve a the base of the volcano Pinchincha. We had a picnic (found a great place to camp) and did a little hiking. This reserve one they claim has more original native vegetation. It was a beautiful reserve and a lovely drive.
Right before Christmas, went with Josh's folks to one the the newest, biggest malls to open in the Quito area - with a huge area with games and rides. The kids loved it! Although the downside of the day was Jana wiping out down a set of stairs and fracturing her collarbone.
At the end of December we took a trip for both ministry and pleasure to the southern coast of Ecuador. We stayed at the beach for a couple nights and then traveled to Portoviejo to bring in the New Year with the church and team there. The drive to the southern coast was unique: switchback roads for over half the trip through one of the biggest and most unusual national parks in Ecuador. It is dry brush among rolling hills, spotted by ceibo (or baobab) trees - reminding me hauntingly of the drive to Mombasa in Kenya. When we drove down, the ceibo trees were just starting to bloom. I wish I had taken more pictures of the drive down, but the kids and I all got motion sick in the car due to the super windy roads. The beach itself was beautiful - much cleaner and quieter than the beach in Northern Ecuador. And we ate seafood fresh out of the ocean.
Our most recent trip was to the cloud-forest town of Mindo with the entire Marcum clan. We stayed in a quaint little hotel called the Dragonfly Inn. The following day we went ziplining through the canopy of the cloud-forest and then went hiking to a waterfall. It was an amazing day.
Then a few weeks ago in March, we took a whirlwind trip to Guayaquil. I was invited to do a seminar on children's ministry, so Josh took care of the kids while I did an all day marathon with about 50 church members from 10 different congregations. That night we did manage to get away to do something fun: a pirate ship ride around the Guayaquil bay. It was wet and rainy, but it was fun: the girls got their faces painted and we got our pictures taken in pirate hats.
Finally, for James' 15th birthday the girls, Josh and Papa took James to a little amusement park at the foot of the teleferico going up Volcano Pinchincha. They all got to ride several rides.
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13
But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13