Market day

18DEC

This past weekend we ventured over to Otavalo, a town about 2 hours from Quito. They are known for their large markets on Saturdays. We enjoyed the view of the mountains and countryside on our bus ride over. (Everyone except Lille enjoyed the bus ride. Lille apparently gets a little bus sick.) On Friday night, we had dinner at a little café and started chatting with the owner. He was a very enthusiastic man with a huge smile. As we talked, he shared how God had changed his life. He had been an alcoholic, unfaithful to his wife, estranged from his children and truly in the depths of despair. As a last resort, he stumbled into a church and was changed by Jesus Christ.

He has reconciled with his wife and is about to celebrate both of his children getting married this spring. His passion for life and for Jesus is undeniable. He said repeatedly, “Jesus saved me from myself and terrible decisions.” I wish you could have seen his Bible. It was tattered, torn and clearly well used. Saturday was market day. The entire town turns into a huge market. On one end of town there is a fruit and vegetable market; the other end of town has animals (goats, sheep, chickens, rabbits, etc); the rest of the town has blankets, sweaters, jewelry, paintings and many other goods. It was a fun experience! The most memorable for us was to see an older man walking his goats up the street. As we were admiring his goats and the unusualness of seeing goats in the city, someone stopped and gave him 25 cents and he milked the goat and gave the woman a fresh cup of goats milk. A true dairy bar! A great weekend of exploring, chatting with a bunch of locals, and hearing how God continues to change lives.

A match made in Heaven…

13DEC

We had the chance to meet with some great people last night!  Youth World, a ministry here in Quito, runs a variety of ministries to youth here in Quito.  One of their ministries is the Delhia House.  The Delhia House searches for girls that are at risk.  Many of the girls have been rescued from sex trafficking, most are young teenage moms.  The Delhia House gives them a home, counseling, an opportunity to go to school and a chance to learn a trade. The stories of girls being rehabilitated is amazing. And while the stories are amazing, the stories of what led these girls into being abandoned by their families and ending up on the street is sad. Youth World is working at ways to support youth and families to prevent the sad results of children living on the street.

Esperanzart is a ministry that has come from The Delhia House. Esperanzart consists of the girls from the Delhia House learning a trade, how to make jewelry. (Esperanza is Spanish for hope, they added art at the end so it Loosely translates to:  Hope Art.). The jewelry is amazing. It is handcrafted by the girls and being sold to provide a future and a hope for these girls and their little ones.

We just bought everything they have right now and put in an order for more to be arriving when we return in April.  This is truly what The Yada Project is seeking out. A way that we can come alongside a ministry to share their story, raise awareness and to find tangible ways to support them.

We are excited to be partnering with them!  Watch for lots more stories in the next few weeks (and maybe a few pictures of the jewelry!).

We made it!

10DEC

We arrived late last night into Quito, Ecuador. It was a good day of traveling:  a prayer filled send off with friends and family, easy connections through airports and surviving customs.  We all slept really well last night!

Quito is at an elevation of 9500 feet.  It has been recommend that we take a day or two to acclimate and adjust to the elevation.  So far none of us have had any symptoms, but we may feel it over the next few days until we adjust.

We enjoyed breakfast this morning with a family from the Netherlands that are serving here in Ecuador doing community development. After breakfast we braved public transportation to get to a grocery store, find a cell phone, and explore more of the city. I don’t know if you have ever been on public transportation in a Latin American country before, so let me describe it for you. Imagine a bus that has seats for 30 and you figure about 20 more can stand and hold on. That would be a full bus, right?. The bus we got on today had about 3,000 people on it. Ok, slight exaggeration, but it had to be close!  Seriously.  Even a sardine would find it too close for comfort. It was a great  learning experience and since it didn’t kill us, we took it back to our guest house.

We are enjoying the evening playing games, talking with the family from the Netherlands, and eating fresh mangoes.

Adios!

09DEC

Yesterday there was beautiful snow falling throughout the day. Today we left out house at 15 degrees. It is now 82 degrees outside as we have a short layover in Miami. Next stop is Quito, Ecuador. What the difference a day and a few hundred miles makes!

We are humbled by the well wishes and farewells we have had the past few days. We each feel loved and look forward to sharing our journey with you…

South America 2013

The Williams Family is heading to South America from December 9-April 9.  Why?  Read on…

After our trip to Central America last year, we came home with a different view of poverty.  Poverty is rarely a choice someone makes.  We met some amazing people that live in extreme poverty.  These families had hearts of gold and a willingness to work hard.  All they needed was an opportunity to change their circumstances.

We came home committed to figuring out a way to help.  We looked at clean water projects, education plans, etc.  But really what helps someone get out of poverty?  Income.  These people needed a consistent way to make money.

After lots of research and communication with those that work in extreme poverty throughout the world, we launched a non-profit called The Yada Project.  The Yada Project is a fair-trade store that partners with artisans throughout the world to help them get their products to a larger market.  Many fair-trade stores will only partner with artisans that can fulfill large orders.  We are working with “the little guys”, women or families, that need a consistent market, but can only fulfill smaller orders.

Our goal in South America will be to build relationships with these artisans, bring back a lot of great products and to share the stories of people throughout the world.  We will also be volunteering throughout Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Chile in various orphanages and children’s homes.

Departure: 15 days and counting

I am sitting watching the Badger football game and just checked the temperature outside…16 degrees.  Burrrrrr!  I also have the weather app on my phone that helps us know how to pack:  Ecuador 63; Peru 70; Brazil 68; Chile 70.  That is much more my style.

Apart from the weather, we are excited about many other aspects of our upcoming trip.  We have had great communication with missionaries and ministries that we will be meeting up with and volunteering at throughout our journey.  Their information and hospitality has already been a blessing.  There will be plenty of opportunity for us to get to know a bunch of kids in various children’s homes and to do some soccer camps.  Don has already been in high demand for his handyman skills, and the girls are gearing up for painting nails.

We are in the midst of our final planning, packing, and farewells.  We appreciate your prayers and we tackle all these things.  None are easy, but will be worth it as embark on this adventure.

Thanks for checking in at The Yada Project and joining us in our journey!  We appreciate the encouragement, support, prayers and friendship.