Our layover in Houston was 4 hours, which didn’t matter to us. We chatted with some of the Ecuadorians, and witnessed to a new friend, Angel, who lives in Riobamba, 5 hours away from where we live. As we boarded the flight, we were ‘sniffed’ by giant police dogs, and had 5 officers checking bags and asking us various questions. After this, we safely headed out to Ecuador. Upon landing in Quito, we were required to fill out forms with medical questions, and put on masks while still on the plane and keep them on until we exited the airport. After we passed immigration, there were doctors waiting to take our paperwork, and photos of us in our masks, to record everyone entering the country. It was all due to the swine flu situation. Life in Ecuador is always such an adventure!!!
The planes always land at midnight, so we spent the night in Quito. And had to stay an extra night, also, because Charles had to go the U.S. Embassy to renew his passport. We have to return in 3 weeks to pick up his new one. We took care of that and boarded a bus to Puyo, 6 hours from Quito. Finally after nearly 3 days of travelling, we arrived in Puyo.
Since we’ve returned, we’ve gotten right back into our work. But also in the last week, we had to pay all of our bills (which cannot be done online or by mail, all must be done in person, and that often includes an hour long wait or so just to pay). We also had to renew our censo’s, which is a card that represents the census, to let them know we’re in the country. That requires new photos, paperwork, like our apartment rental contract, our passports which contain our visas, going to the police immigration, them taking more photos in person, and renewing the paperwork there. And you need copies of everything, which they do not copy for you. You must go somewhere else and pay to have copies made. The whole process of renewing the censos usually takes hours, or even half a day!!! We had to do it in 2 days, because the first day we waited a while, and then someone finally told us the system was down, so they couldn´t do anything that day.
We also have had to renew our cedulas. That is a country card, which has your i.d. number on it. It also requires new photos, and lots of documentaion, a fee paid in the bank and a recepit showing you paid it, and copies of all that, and, of course, mostly several hours of the day, as well! Nothing is done in Ecuador for folks who are in a hurry!!:-)
We’ve also had to travel on 2 seperate days to Ambato, which is a 3 hour drive, one way. Once to have our oil changed in our truck and another to renew our car insurance.
It has been an incredibly busy first week back, but God is already doing great things! We are having some beautiful services, and more people are coming to church! We have begun construction on our new Puyupungo church, which will be much bigger than our current one. We’re excited about that!
So, the work continues….and we love every moment of it!!!