This morning I was sitting on the bus riding back from Saraguro to Cuenca, thinking about how much things have changed this year and how different than I expected it has all turned out. Now obviously there are some things I look at and think, "Well that sucked!"; Things that have been hard or painful or challenging this year. But then there are other things I've experienced, things I look at and think, "Wow, when did I get so lucky to be able to have this"! One of those such things is a friendship with a beautiful Ecuadorian Family!
I am so blessed by this family and it was totally a God thing how our friendship came about! I remember sitting on the porch skyping with one of my friends back home, the moment S. arrived at our "then" house for the first time. I was so nervous to meet her, mostly because she didn't know more than a few words of English and I was just starting to learn Spanish. Plus she is quite a bit younger than me and I thought there wouldn't be much for us to talk about even if we could cross that language barrier! Boy was I wrong! Over the next 9 weeks we spent so much time hanging out, talking and laughing together! I learned so much from her and hopefully she did from me too!
Flash forward about 4 months and there I found myself moving to a small little village in a community I didn't know all that much about, but there in the midst of it was S. excitedly welcoming me to her home community, showing me around, helping me get settled. Everything I needed, from translation to company, S. was there to help me with...and so was her family. I quickly fell in love with her adorable mom R. and amazingly responsible sister L.. In fact, I spent so much time sitting outside with them at their tortilla stand, that before I knew it, I was actually speaking fluent Spanish (and they had picked up a bit of English!).
When I came back from a Christmas visit home, I was sad to find out that S. was moving. Of course I wanted her to stay and hang out with me forever, but I also understood her need to spread her wings and discover the world for herself. So I prayed for her and said "See you later" and trusted that even over distance our friendship would continue. It did...thankfully! And my relationship with L. also got the opportunity to blossom during this time! Now not only was I S.'s friend, but L. and I were real friends too!
Since the start of this year, I have continued to grow fonder and fonder or both these girls and their mom! They are like second family to me, in a country where so many people around me view me as an outsider, they have taken me in! Not only have I been able to minister to them and be there for them, but they have most certainly done the same for me! And as I start preparing my heart to head back to the States in a few months, I know that one of the greatest treasures God has given me on this missions field is their friendship! If I could think of no other good thing that came out of my time here in Ecuador (which of course I can think of more than one!), this would be that thing! Real friendship is such a hard thing to find... I am blessed to have found it here, high up in the Andes Mountains, right smack dab in the middle of nowhere! For that I feel like the luckiest girl alive!