This has been one of the best weekends of my life. There could be many reasons for this since it was such a weekend filled with fun and exciting new things. However, there is one particular reason.
Sure, Kimberly and Katie and I traveled to Mindo, Ecuador about two hours away from Quito. We traveled by bus and proved to ourselves that we really can travel on our own.
Sure, this was an opportunity to take my mind off of my recent health concerns. It was a time to get away.
Sure, we would be visiting a completely different area of this beautiful country of Ecuador. We would be experiencing very different weather from Quito; thankfully this weather was quite a bit warmer.
Sure, we stayed in the most amazing hostal in the middle of the selva complete with hammocks on the second and third story porches.
Sure, we loved exploring the tiny, quirky, tourist-supported town of Mindo.
Sure, we were delighted as we went canopping (ziplining) all through the forest in all the different poses... Superman (self-explanatory) and Mariposa (butterfly; means that you go on the ziplines upside down).
Sure, we enjoyed the leisurely walk back to town. We walked downhill eating packages of precious Chips-Ahoy cookies.
Sure, we fell in love with the little cafe "El Quetzal" where we took part in a tour of how chocolate is made. We got to see and taste the whole process from seed to chocolate. We also ate the most amazing brownie, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate syrup (all made from there) and authentic ginger ale. We also had to buy home grown coffee for loved ones.
Sure, we squealed with delight over our stone oven cooked pizza and salads that we had for dinner in a quiet open air restaurant.
Sure, we loved resting and talking in the hammocks on the second story porch of our hostal. We shared stories and Captain Crunch cereal. We even enjoyed talking with the other curious yet entertaining guests at the hostal.
Sure, we laughed as we scared a decent size rat out of our room before heading to bed.
Sure, I woke up delighted with breakfast on the porch made by Claudia, our hostal mom, who called us her "honeys". We had mango yogurt with all types of fruit in it, scrambled eggs, bread with butter and jam, and coffee! (I really ate the most that I have eaten in Ecuador so far which hopefully will help me to gain back the weight I did not mean to lose).
Sure, we loved the tarabita ride... think small metal cage that crosses over from one mountain to another via a pulley system. As Ecuador is in most things, they like to pack you close even on the tarabita.
Sure, we had a great time hiking to see five different waterfalls and swim in the frigid waters of the sixth. We took lots of pictures and regretted only that we could not take the sound home with us.
Sure, we rode on the craziest truck taxi on the way back into town... think wild taxi driver and screaming locals!
Sure, we loved lunch at "El Cheff" in town where we ate a big and filling lunch.
Sure, we enjoyed the bus ride back to Quito as we munched on our new favorite brownies.
Although all of this was incredible, this was not why the weekend was so amazing. The weekend was amazing because Kimberly and I got to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with two men at the hostal. We were explaining late into the night and they were listening... and Katie was listening as well. As we shared why Jesus Christ was everything to us, the Gospel fell and the Lord drew Katie to Himself. We shared about what Christ had done on the cross to pay for our sin and our inability to merit His favor. The night ended with Katie asking the Lord for forgiveness of her sins and stepping out in joy into a relationship with Christ!
This is why the weekend was so wonderful and why I am still rejoicing now! The Gospel of Jesus Christ (that while we were so far off in sin and we could never have a relationship with God, Christ died for our sin and made a way for us to have a relationship with God) is worth far more than any of these fun activities or experiences. Christ is worth everything! He is my greatest joy and satisfaction... my greatest pleasure. Now, someone else is experiencing that as well.
Is He worth everything to you? Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? He beckoned Katie... His goodness is so abundant.
(more pictures can be found on facebook)