Well, we went to our first meeting last night in Quichua. As we stepped out of Fernando's car and were walking to the doors, I felt like it was the first day of school! My heart was in my throat! Chad, Fernando and I just looked at each other knowingly like, "well, this is the end of life as we know it..."
But, I can tell you that it already feels like home. I am so grateful for that. I had prayed to Jehovah that if it was the right decision, it would just feel right. And it SOOO did (well for me anyway, I can't speak for the others!) We knew quite a few of the brothers and sisters already, and they all gave us such a warm welcome! Those that didn't know us were all like, "you must be Chad, Michele and Fernando"...they had been anxiously awaiting our arrival....awww, how sweet!
I didn't understand much...back to square one, and I remember thinking, this sounds like Japanese or Chinese to me. The old feeling of complete stupidity when they say something funny from the platform and everyone is laughing hysterically...except us. But, we are used to being lost, right? haha It definitely is different from Spanish and English. This week is the CO visit, and then next Saturday starts the class.
There were a few native Quichua-speakers there, a sister and some bible students, which was encouraging to see. The advantage/disadvantage is that the majority of Quichua speakers also speak spanish...it isn't their native tongue, but they speak very well. I say it is an advantage, obviously, because we will still be able to get our points across in Spanish if needed while we learn. The disadvantage is that if we rely too heavily on our spanish, we won't progress as fast in Quichua.
We found out tonight that they have their circuit assembly in Riobamba (about 6 hours in bus) in 3 weeks...and everyone is telling us we HAVE to go. We would like to go, it should be a good experience. Also, because the branch does not yet have a Bible in Quichua, we need to buy another translation, and they aren't really available here in Cuenca. But, someone told us we can get them in Riobamba. Yes, just another thing to add to our already bulging schedule! But, sounds fun, huh? The need really seems to be great here in Quichua...we found out that they sent the same letter requesting help also to the special pioneers here in Ecuador! They are really pushing! It makes us feel good to know we are a part of something so important here. Although every cong. here has a need in whatever language!
I took a few pictures. The sisters are from here and are learning Quichua, but gave a talk tonight, and to show their love of the culture, wore the traditional garb. Now, this clothing is native for those from more up north near Otavalo, but it happens to be one of my favorites. The women always look so beautiful. From what they say, it seems that each area has their own style. I look forward to learning and seeing the differences! I was told I have to buy some of my own...sounds fun!
Just wanted to keep you all updated! Thanks for all the words of encouragment...keep em coming...this next year should be a challenge!
Miss you all...