We began our international journey in Quito, Ecuador as teachers with the desire to find where God would have us to serve in the local community. We quickly realized we had no idea what we were doing so it was a good thing God had a plan. A trip out into the countryside turned into a predestined date with God as He brought us to Guayllabama and the Tulcanaza family who not only had been waiting and praying for us, (unbeknownst to us!) but with whom we have built a personal relationship and shared many experiences over the years. We were able to bring several mission trips from the states to help with ministry and construction, as well as partner with our local church to help Ninos en Riesgo, a street kids mission sponsored by El Batan Church, and later Dumanis Foundation, which was started by one of those street kids to help sex trafficked girls find hope and a better life. Ecuador will always hold a special place in our hearts and be a place we will always return to. You can click below to find out more about Dumanis Foundation.
If you are looking for travel suggestions, check out the information at the bottom of the page!
While in Ecuador, we were able to work with several mission projects. We partnered with missionary groups in Guayllabama and Quito to help in the local community.
We were able to bring several mission teams over the years to work with children's ministry, construction, and church planting.
The key to success was definitely building relationships with people and living by Christ's example. We continue to support the work in Ecuador and pray for the continued growth.
When we first arrived to work at an international school in Quito, we started to learn Spanish so that we could be more effective in our outreach. Because of that, we ventured out into the community and God lead us to the Tulcanaza family in Guayllabama. When we showed up at their door accidentally -- in our opinion -- but God's intervention in reality, to drop off some supplies, they were expecting us because they had been praying for God to send them some help and there we were! God always has a plan and a purpose and if we will just venture out and be willing to go and listen, He will connect us where we can do the best for Him.
One mission that had a lot of extensions was los Ninos en Riesgo. Several of the street kids that were saved through this program and an orphanage in Los Andes have gone on to be missionaries throughout the world. The Dumais Foundation is one of those groups. The head of that organization, Boris Salinas, has an incredible story of his journey from Colombia as a young boy, living on the streets, involved in street gangs, and finally God's intervention in his life that connected him to Ron and Sharon Stiff. (https://43bluedoors.com/2017/12/17/life-on-the-street/).
Traveling to Ecuador? Our Recommendations: Where to stay: The Traveler's Inn, Quito - great location, safe, easy to find! They speak English, include breakfast, clean, and have travel services if needed.
Things to be sure to do: 1. Go to the Volcano Cotopaxi - climb to the refugio; do it your last day as you want to have some time to aclimate to the lack of oxygen. It is a good leave early back around 7 PM trip. Dress warm. The park entrance is about $25.00 per person.
2. Puerto Quito - jungle near the city - Cabanas del Rio - 06 733470 - ask Clemente about tubing, visiting the chocolate and fruit farms; halfway to the beach. The cabanas are great for atmosphere but bring bug spray. If you don't want to rough it but want the activities, the Gran Hotel as you come into town is inexpensive as well and has AC and hot water.
3. la playa - Atacames - AcroIris Hotel - 06 731 069 - ($30-40 a night) it is behind the new huge condo hi-rise and is nicely hidden. We prefer to stay in Same down the road at the Cabanas del Sol ($35-45) because it is like having your own private beach ,and then come to Atacames for food and shopping now that it has gotten so sprawling. Love the batidos and tortillas de camerones.
4. Mitad del Mundo - Museo Solar Inti Nan - science museum behind the tourist attraction - you have to visit the center of the world to try all the cool experiments of gravity; take a bus or cab as it is to the north of town; it is on the way to the beach and Puerto Quito if you plan it into your trip.
5. Artisanians market - Mariscal and El Ejido - the craft and painting artisanians are in the park El Ejido on Saturdays and Sundays. The market in the Mariscal is open daily from about 9-6. It is located one block off seis de diciembre and down two blocks from El Ejido.
6. Otavalo - famous for the craft market - only on Saturdays and just crafts on Wednesdays. Be careful if you take the bus as there can be hijackings every so often. We've never had problems but have heard from others. (Car rental is about $30-$35 a day from Budget Rent-A-Car and we've been really happy with their service) The items are similar to the markets in Quito, just more and the same prices. You get more atmosphere and photo op's. While you're there, get some pie at the Shenandohah Pie Shop off of Sombrero Square - they are great! On the way home, stop at Lago San Pablo for lunch and the great view. Sometimes you'll see fisherman out in their reed boats on the lake.
7. Old Town - el Panecillo - go to the Plaza de independencia and see the old churches and buildings. Take a taxi up to the Panecillo to get a great view of all the city. Climb up in the towers of the Basillica but don't climb out on the ledge like Steve!
8. Calderon - famous for bread dough ornaments for Christmas and other occasions. It is on the way out of town toward Guayllabamba. The best guy is the one with the big wooden parrot by his door. You can actually see the workers making the ornaments and bread decorations. You can usually see a good outdoor market here as well. Open usually from 10-4 daily.
9. Visit the Teleferico on Pichinca - go early, opens at 10 AM - great view of all the volcanoes on a clear day.
10. Tena - good jungle trip - we've not been, but other friends highly recommend it. We went to the Sacha Lodge in Coca which was amazing but pricy - worth the one time visit! The hostel has some brochures and info. on Tena. http://www.sachalodge.com/
If you've never seen the process of making chocolate or where chocolate comes from, maybe these pictures will give you an idea.
All photographs are copyrighted and the property of Cathleen L Carpenter Photography