¡Holi! Hello (informal, the way the kids say it)!
I hope you are well. I hope you are full of joy in the Lord. I hope you see Him in everything and feel Him everywhere.
I am absolutely amazed at the way God is using this blog to touch hearts and encourage believers. My parents have shared the interés y apoyo (interest and support) I am receiving from countless sources, so I want to thank you for your investment and prayer. I can feel it!
I have felt many other things too. God’s kindness, grace, mercy, patience, and love are never-ending!
We returned to a full week of normal clases (classes), focusing heavily on grammatical concepts and oral skills. The third block of the semester closed with a three-part exam (grammar, rapid reading, and conversation) and intensified focus on OPI preparation. It is an Oral Proficiency Interview Assessment we take at semester’s end in order to graduate with a degree in Spanish.
Not only am I learning a second language, but also multimedia. On Tuesday, the production team met at church to learn about sound and how to better serve the congregation in that area. We asked lots of questions and exchanged jokes here and there, then walked through the rain to buy salchipapas (French fries and sausage doused in catsup and mayonnaise, a popular and inexpensive dinner option).

We study hard, but we also play hard. On Wednesday, Lucy took us girls to acquaint ourselves with el Portal. We walked around the mall, visiting some stores, eating ice cream, and browsing the selection of clothing, shoes, and other miscellaneous items. It was a touch of home for my heart because the centro commercial very much resembles those in the States.
On Thursday, Katy and I had the time of our lives. We decided to dedicate the day to avocados—ElDía de Aguacates. Although no one else was interested in joining us, we purchased different types foods to try with our beloved fruit. Strawberries, yogurt, bread, pizza, hotdog … I think my favorite was frozen chunks of avocado covered in chocolate and crunchy peanut butter. Call me crazy, but it’s actually really good!

Katy stayed to play a game with my siblings and I before we walked her home for the evening. It was such an adventure, we hope to bake avocado cookies and try avocado milkshake another day!
On Friday, we were invited to watch Claire’s sister Andrea present her final thesis via Zoom. It was a gran occasion (grand occasion), since it is the culmination of her undergrad studies, she has waited four months for the date, and graduation depends upon her success. Her performance was spectacular, and we celebrated with her family afterwards.

On Saturday, our bus driver Hermano Luchito drove us to Papallacta. We spent the morning at a resort, relaxing in the thermal pools heated by volcanic activity below the mountains. There is also one piscina filled with naturally cold water from the river. They say if you dunk yourself seven times in the cold and seven times in the hot, it is healing for the body (and improved Spanish ability, teases Pastor). I did it, but so far I don’t feel cured nor intelligent!
We zipped back to Quito to cook tacos at church and prepare a surprise party for Andrea. It was a special time to recognize her accomplishment and God’s work in her life with the jóvenes and los varones, the guys who had gathered for a cookout at the same time.
We celebrated Andrea otra vez (once again) Sunday morning after each service. We sliced our third cake in two days and enjoyed every bit of it! It always warms my heart to see the church of Carcelén loving one another like family.
During the second service that morning, the power flickered out mid-prayer. For some reason, I thought it was neat to finish praying, take Communion, and sing a final song without lights or audio. Despite any circumstance, the people of God gather and uplift Him name.
The rest of the weekend was time to rest, as our schedule has been full. After our most recent trip, a complete week of classes, and a busy weekend occupied with activities, we are spending this week in Galapagos.
It is a gift to explore such a renowned location, unlike any other on earth! I will have many photos to share the following week.
God’s Provision: Hace unos días, some days ago, God helped me work through a unique situation. I had to make an important decision about housing arrangements for my return to Olivet in the fall, but right now I’m obviously in Ecuador. Through various modes of correspondence and many FaceTime calls, God helped me see with clarity and provided godly counsel for me to make the best decision with His sabiduría (wisdom). I thank Him for His grace toward me, strong Christians in my life, and gracious reactions from my dear friends.
Palabra de la Semana (Word of the Week): Bendición. Blessing. One of our assignments for class was to arrange a chapel service around the theme “God bless the family.” We shared Biblical text, personal experience, and worship songs, during which I was overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s faithfulness to my family through the generations. We are truly covered in His blessing.
“El SEÑOR te bendiga y te guarde; el SEÑOR haga resplandecer Su rostro sobre ti, y tenga de ti misericordia; el SEÑOR alce sobre ti Su rostro, y te dé paz” (Números 6:24-26, NBLA).
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 2:24-26, ESV).
¡Que así sea! May it be so!

Although we didn't get to meet them, we received a precious photo of the rainforest kids who received our toothbrushes and soap! May God bless every one!

Authored by Abby Bennett on April 06, 2022.