This morning we got up early to go to church at Montebello. This was a new experience for me because in the past I had only heard people from my group give the sermon. They always preach on enduring suffering & discovering hope amid harsh circumstances. But today the preacher, Keno, did a lesson on something I didn’t expect – selfishness. He preached boldly declaring how the desire to serve ourselves should be replaced by a genuine, active, and biblical love of God & his creation. I realized that selfishness is universal, even among the neediest people on Earth. Selfishness is not wanting more material possessions or wanting the best for yourself – it’s doing anything other than what our omni-benevolent God wills.
After church we met Boris Salinas and went to Old Quito. Ron and Sharon, the couple that runs Montebello, adopted Boris as a teenager. Boris was born to a single mother in Columbia, who had trouble dealing with her problem child. She would often tie him to the bed out of her frustration. One day when Boris broke a vase she kicked him out of the house. 9-year-old Boris joined his 10-year-old friend and hitchhiked to the Ecuadorian coast. There they maintained a fishing job for a little while, but soon lost it. After significant effort, Boris realized he would have to live on the streets. Boris soon got involved in gangs and stole to survive. But when his friend killed a man, Boris found himself in greater trouble. A man soon attacked Boris, sending him to the hospital in critical condition. That’s when Ron offered to take him in. He agreed. After a few years of frustration and serious behavior issues, Boris left Ron & Sharon’s, but soon realized he had nowhere else to go. He turned around to go back and saw Ron running after him. That’s when he realized the love of this adopted father and the love of the Heavenly Father. Boris turned his life around and now lives to serve God with everything he has. But today he was our Old Quito tour guide.
We ate at a historic restaurant/ice cream shop, watched the changing of the guards at the presidential palace, and toured some of the most extravagant cathedrals in the world. The golden cathedral was filled with people – one elderly woman was frantically rubbing a statue of Mary, deep in prayer. Boris took us outside and said,
“Did you see that? That woman was praying to a piece of rock, thinking it would save her. The crippled man was dropping his money in the plate because he thinks it will save his ancestors. That’s why we’re here! For Christ! We have to tell them the crucified Jesus in all their murals doesn’t exist anymore. He came off the cross. The suffering Savior doesn’t suffer anymore. He reigns in Heaven forevermore. We don’t have to suffer because we have joy in the real, living Christ. That’s why we’re here.”
After Old Quito we went to the market so we could spend any money we hadn’t blown yesterday. We walked through the rows of souvenirs, laughed at all the giant nude murals, and ate watermelon off the street. We then got aboard another cart and glided between mountains, but this time we were significantly higher up and going a significantly farther way. And again, it slowed down in the middle and we convinced my teacher that it was broken. Panic attack may be too strong a description of what she did, but it was entertaining nonetheless. When we got back to the Coyles’ house we ate grilled cheese and hung out with their daughters until midnight.