Parque La Carolina

July 6, 2015

The plan for Monday and Tuesday was to send all the teams to the large city park, Parque la Carolina, except for the team scheduled for south Quito. The original plan was for the teams to go to their assigned churches all week, but the Pope's visit closed all the downtown streets and we could not get to the other churches. The park was about a half mile from the Alliance Academy, so we all walked to the park after breakfast and crew planning time.

The park was very impressive and well laid out, and a great service to the residents in light of the fact that there was otherwise almost no open space in the city - no yards, no lawns, basically solid with buildings. The location for Crew#5 was near the top right corner just below the notch in the park outline. Alliance Academy was not far from the "Q" in Quito above right.

After training and crew planning, we prepare to head for La Carolina park for our first day of ministry. TJ, Jordan, Leigh, Curt, Dustin, Kaleigh, Kal'el, Haley, Aeron, Grayson with crew leader Tim with his back turned.

With our equipment and supplies for the park in hand, we walked to the grass soccer field in the Alliance Academy compound for a "big sendoff".

Shawn Edwards gathers us into a big circle for prayer and instructions, then Aeron Ravelo and Haley Edwards head for our sendoff location with some of our gear.

We formed a double line and then raised our arms to make an archway.

The end of the line came through and reformed the double column and we moved it toward the street. Missionary Ron Sutton is in the middle of this section.

Down the streets of Quito to La Carolina Park.

We have seen lots of street vendors all over the city, and we encountered them in the park as well.

Upon reaching the park, our four crews separated to our assigned locations.

Lunches had been prepared for us at the Academy, and we had our lunch in the park before proceeding to the sports areas.

We were pleased to have Daniela with us again as translator, and we met our other two translators, Mailyn and Markos. Kaleigh Baughn, seated, also spoke Spanish well and could help the rest of us.

Our first strategy was to start pickup basketball games as a way to get into conversations with people in the park. Aeron, Tim and Kal'el lift Dustin to attach a net to a goal on one court. Curt lifts Grayson to put a net on the court next to it. Haley, Leigh and Markos are with them.

Very quickly 4 or 5 young men came up and they chose sides for a game. A man and woman with two boys came up about the same time, and were interested when Tim initiated sharing with them using the IWC bandanna. Daniela translated for him and they had an extensive and meaningful conversation.

The conversation tool we were using was the International World Changers Creation-to-Christ bandanna. All of us had one with us. It was remarkably adaptable for persons of different age and personality. You started with the Creator of heaven and earth, dealt with the fact that all of us have sinned and talked about redemption in Christ. It also worked well with a translator since the different squares gave natural closure points.

Leigh, Kaleigh and Kal'el had a lively game with the Ecuadorans. Markos stands by in case they need a translator, but once they got to playing, they pretty well understood each other without words. Note that the sharing of Tim with the Ecuadoran family is still going on in the background. They must have talked for nearly an hour.

Grayson, Jordan and Aeron had a good basketball game going on the other court with 3 Ecuadorans.

Meanwhile, three separate gospel conversations were taking place around the other court. Tim with Daniela were continuing their conversation there. Haley had gone over to play with the boys and had joined that conversation. Curt and Kal'el with Markus translating were talking to one group, and Leigh, TJ and Dustin were talking to a third group with Kaleigh providing the translation.

Leigh, TJ and Haley share with two ladies and a girl that came along the path, with translation by Mailyn.

The preference shifts over to soccer for a while with Dustin, Grayson, Jordan and Aeron forming mixed teams with two of the Ecuadorans who had played basketball before.

Tim shares with two ladies and a girl above with Mailyn translating.

At left, Leigh and Tim share with four people on the basketball court with Daniela translating.

Curt and Kal'el spend some time doing basketball drills with two young Ecuadoran boys. The boys really seemed to enjoy it, and it added to our friendly presence in the park.

The basketball court gave us a lot of opportunities to share with folks in the park, and they were open to it. Here, after sharing with the bandanna on the basketball court, members of our team gathered to pray with them. Leigh, Daniela translating, Haley, TJ, Tim are in the circle with four Ecuadorans.

I thought it was neat that we even got to share with some of the venders in the park. I had noticed earlier in the day that a vendor on a bicycle card had stopped and leaned in to listen intently to what was being shared. Then these two young ladies, one with her baby on her back, stopped on the basketball court to talk.

Leigh, TJ, Haley and Tim shared with them with Daniela translating.

About that time it started raining with dark clouds covering the mountains to the west. We made our way to a nearby shelter, and had just made it there when an intense thundershower started.

The park venders knew the Quito weather, and they were under the shelter before us!

We hung out under the shelter for 20 minutes or so, thinking the intense shower would subside. When it showed no signs of doing so, we made a run for the mall which was about a block away. The mall was very modern, like a modern U.S. mall, so no poverty showing there. After another 20-30 minutes, we decided to move to the nearby McDonald's where we were to meet for supper.

Reaching the modern McDonald's about 5pm, we just had fellowship there until the time they had scheduled the food for the 66+ people.

Two of the groups, including Ashleigh's group had gotten drenched in the storm, so they went back to the Academy to change before supper.

Ron and the permanent mission team in Quito had a good relationship with the McDonalds. They were very gracious, including the owner, and seemed pleased to have our big crew there.

Returning to the Alliance Academy, we had our worship time and then devotionals by church group. Our Northshore group picked out a place on the roof for our nightly devotional and sharing time.

to Tuesday, July 7

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