This Sunday I made the permanent move to Romerillos, 1.5 hours directly south of Quito. It’s the total opposite of the metropolitan area of Quito. Romerillos is a small, rural town of about 600 people. When I say small, I mean SMALL. I’m guessing only about 25 families actually live in town, and the rest live on the outskirts or small surrounding communities. Here there is no bank, post office, hospital, grocery store, etc. Everyone goes to Machachi, the nearest bigger town, for errands and shopping. That being said, the town has one small convenience store that is open most days, an elementary school, a childcare center, and two churches: the Catholic Church and the Methodist Church, where I’m working.
Life here is so different than what I’m used to, even growing up in a small town in Indiana. Most people here are farmers, and their daily routine is organized around the planting and harvesting of crops, and necessary chores such as cooking and cleaning to maintain the household. This leaves me in an odd situation. My role here is not to help with the manual labor, but rather, work with the church and community to develop programs that with improve the lives of people here, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. Everyone should feel that they have worth and are loved by God. Though it may feel weird and uncomfortable at first coming into a community where the culture is so different from mine, and the people are a bit hesitant about a foreigner living among them, I know that God has a purpose in this. Through the various tasks I will be doing, I hope to truly appreciate the beauty of this town and that despite our differences we will be able to work together.
Yesterday I had a meeting with the pastor here, and we talked about what my role will look like. Primarily I was sent here to help with programs in the church, but since that won’t be taking all of my time, I will also be helping around the community. One or two afternoons a week I will continue teaching English in the school where I have been for two months already (I live closer now). Possibly I will help out in the child-care center or elementary school one day a week as well. In the church, I will be working with the Sunday school program on Sundays, and starting to develop a kids’ program on Saturdays. The pastor also is interested in restarting a youth program and Bible study, both of which were functional in the past but have died off. It sounds like a lot, but really each event/program does not take much time itself. What will be more time-consuming is all the planning.
Please keep me in your prayers as I adjust to this very new environment. I hope to be able to see the differences in a positive, not critical, light.