When my friend Deanna came to visit, I asked her to write her guest perspective after she returned home. I requested the same of Amy & Melanie, but they got thrown back into their busy lives and never got around to it. So I warned Dana early on that I wasn’t going to let her forget to write her reflections from their trip. Here is what she had to say about her visit to Ecuador:
Hello all – first let me say I am a terrible writer, but Mary asked me to give my thoughts of my visit, so I will try my best to give a visitor’s perspective of Ecuador for the first time.
I was so excited to be able to finally get to visit. I have been wanting to go ever since she moved there, but year after year something big had been going on. I knew that I wanted to go in February, and I knew I wanted to have plenty of time there. So finally around November, I looked at the 2017 calendar, checked with my husband, Mike, and determined it was a “Go.” I called Mary and the timing was perfect. God was good to us during this trip, and I wanted to give you my thoughts on Ecuador and Mary’s life there.
I loved Ecuador, the people, Mary’s house, the food and her community. It was just a blessing to be able to go and visit. Mary was so wonderful to carve out the time for us, and she was a wonderful host. She had everything perfectly planned, and God gave us perfect weather. I felt like I was in a luxury hotel, the view was gorgeous with the beach and the sunsets, and then the mountains on the other side to see beautiful sunrises. It was peaceful from the very minute we arrived. I loved the little restaurant in Mary’s community – everyone knew everyone and it was like family. They just hung out, laughed and talked, and the food was fantastic. Since Mary’s water was filtered, we could drink and shower without fear of getting sick. I got to meet all of the people in her community, and got to visit her good friends, Bill and Elaine, the second day. What a great couple, and they treated us to dinner, pool time, beach volleyball and great stories. Over the time we were there, it was so amazing to see all the connections that Mary had made, and the respect that people there have for her. She has a great balance of respecting the culture and differences, and then bringing in her own influences. It was so fun to see Mary speak Spanish just like a pro. One of the days we went into town, we ran into Duver, who was riding on his motorcycle. It was a fun atmosphere to be able to just run into people on the street that she knew and just talk and visit, like we had all the time in the world. Also we got to meet Sam and see his place in town – we just stopped by and played cards during the day. Mary had us try all the local foods there, and the lunch specials that gave a taste of the culture. The food was fantastic, and the fresh fruit was amazing too. Such a variety of different tastes that would grow in one of the neighbor’s yards, or would come on a fruit truck. One of the other people we got to meet was Edwin, who had lost his transportation in the earthquake about a year ago. We got to listen to his first hand experience on how scary it was, and how he was so blessed with the donations from everyone. He was able to continue his business and make money to provide for his family (I was also able to meet his precious wife and daughter).
I was so excited when we found a church in Cuenca because the city has tons of Catholic churches, so I was not sure if there would be one there. But again God prepared the way and gave us our desire that day. One of my favorite songs, and was so appropriate for Mary, was the “Oceans” song. They were singing in Spanish and I was singing in English. We were all in one spirit, just different languages.
Mary planned our trip out so well, that we got to experience so much in such a short amount of time, yet didn’t feel exhausted when we got home. I loved that it was the same time zone, and that we had quality friend time with people, but experienced the big cities and “tourist” spots, as well as hanging out at the beach with friends.
If any of you reading this has the opportunity to go and visit, I would encourage you to do it. It was such a blessing. If you love Mary’s blog, the trip makes everything come to life. I would say just go if you can – you will love it!