…and we got our own little bags ready (we just packed little carry-ons for each of us…we like to pack light and we also needed to reserve our check-ons for the big duffels we were bringing).
In the few weeks before we left we had a deal that everyone needed to walk ten miles to get ready for this adventure. Mostly our girl Lucy…we knew there would be a LOT of walking involved, and we wanted to be prepared.
When that girl has a goal you better watch out, because she’s gonna make it 🙂 She had one more mile to go when we reached the airport so we walked and walked that thing around in circles until we checked that thing off the list.
…as we watched the sun set on December 23rd with a glorious sunset outside the windows.
And then we were off.
All three of our flights were delayed…we were lucky to be able to make the connections…right through that red-eye.
This was our last flight…from Quito to Cuenca early on Christmas Eve morning:
We were all pretty excited.
…and my Dad will be excited to see which book Elle was reading 🙂
Then finally we were there.
Here’s one of the families we traveled with…you’re gonna see a lot of them 🙂 They are the best.
The other family arrived two days before we did, and were already sitting mingled in with the branch on Sunday when we got there, bleary-eyed and scraggly after all that travel.
I told all the details of that Christmas Eve sacrament meeting back HERE.
Then it was off to meet the “kids,” get to know the other volunteers:
…and figure out the volunteer house and how in the world to cook our Christmas Eve dinner:
(We kind of made do with the food they had available, whipped up two pots of soup and Claire and I whipped up as much flatbread as we could.)
We ran out of bowls and spoons so here is my Christmas Eve dinner in a mug eaten with a fork:
It was awesome.
Here was our centerpiece:
After dinner everyone gathered for a little devotional…
…which we snuck out of since MAX WAS READY for our call.
My heart was racing with worry…would the Internet work? Would we be able to connect? I had been worried about this since the day we booked tickets to Ecuador.
So it’s hard to describe how my heart leapt when his face popped up on that screen. We were SO incredibly excited.
It was such a a beautiful thing to be sitting in that little humble room in that orphanage in the middle of Ecuador talking to that boy, who is so earnest in trying to live up the end of this mission adventure. He got to hear a little of what every sibling was doing and we were able to meet his companion for a second and really talk for the whole 45 minutes.
So very, very grateful for that experience as a mother.
Then it was off to our own little “Santa’s workshop” to get everything ready for the kids in the orphanage that next morning.
We all kicked into gear sorting and wrapping.
The kids put up the snowflakes we had brought from everyone who wanted to help from home…they were everywhere, which to me symbolized a lot of love.
During wrapping breaks the kids stayed busy 🙂
And when we were done we went and situated all the stuff by the Christmas tree down in the main building.
Us mama were so happy to have that all wrapped up and ready to go.
We had hoped to make it to Midnight Mass, but by that time we were all so tired we deliriously headed to bed…ready for a very unique Christmas the next morning.
(Christmas in Ecuador is HERE.)