Starting a blog post is always the hardest part. As is now evident to you, today I took the easy way out of that problem. Right now, there are so many thoughts floating around in my head and so few hours until I have to leave for campus.
A twist from the normal routine, we did not go to campuses today, but instead had the morning free. I did all kinds of productive things like eat breakfast, read my Bible, nap on my bed, eat lunch, and nap on my bed. The first half of my day in three words: food, Bible, nap.
The rest of my day was a bit more complex. This afternoon, we had a service day at a local church to make sandwiches for kids in a children's hospital. Perfect! I thought, I am a woman! I am MADE to make sandwiches! We assembly lined a few hundred of those babies in no time. I was on butter duty. If you need anything buttered, I got you, pal.
After eating pizza with "GRINGO: carryout" printed on the label, and dying a little bit from the humor of the lack of effort/necessity of getting a name from Chris, we got to know the church folk we would be with for the evening. We all introduced ourselves, each in his non-native language. Then, the Ecuadorians taught us a much more spiritual, much more Spanish version of "If you're happy and you know it." Part of the song called for those truly saved to whistle. THIS WAS OUR TIME TO SHINE.
*Fading into flashback.* At the Emelec game, we could not help but to notice people whistling in a context and manner unfamiliar to us. It appeared to be a sign of booing and was done by pulling out the lower lip. *Fading away from flashback.* For the last week, we have all been perfecting our obnoxiously loud whistles. Gradually, we have all joined the club of lip mutilating, teeth clenching, out of breath, screeching, whistlers. The better we get, the more consistent the noise is and the less saliva you hear. Though I was a late bloomer, my whistle has much improved in the last couple of days, and it has a distinct glass-breaking quality to it.
Back to the Spanish call to whistle. Upon "If it's true that you're saved, whistle!" all of us gringos cracked up, fiercely grabbed our lower lips, and forcefully inhaled repeatedly. I can only imagine what our new friends must have thought. These thoughts likely were along the lines of, "Wow! They are all showing such determination in making that spitty, horrid, air sucking sound. What work ethic! What laborers for the Lord!" It turns out that this whistle is not as common of a cultural thing as the soccer game had led us to believe, but we are still AWESOME. Personally, I love everyone's stubbornness in learning the skill. Truly inspirational.
We all took our sandwiches and went to the hospital in our matching borrowed yellow t-shirts and yellow baseball caps, as our friends mentioned that, oh, by the way, WE would be PREACHING to the families of the patients. No big. I was grouped with Ashley and our new buddy Regis, who translated for us, to share. We all three took turns sharing the gospel to a larger group in the hall and praying with children and their family members. It was so humbling to see pain on the faces of children. My heart broke. These kids were not acting like kids. Kids should play, run, laugh, smile, joke, be annoying. These children just sat or lay on beds, two to a room, hooked up to machines, presumably thinking about things children should never have to think about.
In each room, we extended an invitation to the chapel to hear a gospel presentation and eat sandwiches. When people showed up to the chapel, it was awesome, yet simultaneously terrifying because I had to help present the good news to these people. Ashley, Regis, and I took turns explaining God's love for humanity and the necessity of a Savior. At the end, Regis asked me to pray and to provide the people listening with a repeat-after-me, come-to-Jesus type prayer. Terrifying, but growing experience. I hope the people there felt loved.
After we sat down, I had my first witnessing of speaking in tongues. I have much more studying to do on that subject.
By the end of the night, with my giant t-shirt, backwards hat, cargo capris, and flip-flops, I had fully embraced that 90's elementary school tomboy who is still bigger than all the boys, in addition to being a huge bully, look. So there is a fun mental picture for all of you.
When we got back to the church, we had to wash and dry the containers that had held the sandwiches and the tea. Perfect! I thought yet again, I am a woman! I was MADE to wash dishes! Be that as it may, there was a shocking standard of perfection for this wash/dry process. If there was one smudge, back to bucket number one! If there was one drop of water, back to the drying table!
We gave the taskmaster a hard time for his strict judgement, giving him obviously wet items or cheering when a container passed inspection on the first try. I think he liked us. I like us.