In September we welcomed a new crew of Resident Coordinators to Living & Learning. Bryan, EBB and I spent about ten days training them in everything from what to do when there is no hot water in the apartment to what to do if a student expresses suicidal thoughts ... all while introducing them to some great coffee shops around the city. It was a fun time of getting to know the personalities behind these faces we interviewed via FaceTime way back in February. They are all passionate about Ecuador, living cross-culturally and guiding students into deeper relationship with Christ. Pretty neat! They really impressed me when we took them downtown on their 2nd or 3rd night for the Festival of Lights on the churches. Imagine a trolley packed with 3x as many people as you've ever seen during rush hour in Chicago. Then imagine walking the streets and entering total people gridlock. So crammed that if someone had an emergency there was no way for even one person to move back or forward without the whole crowd needing to move. They handled that cultural experience with aplomb and helped our kids get through it with shoulder rides and tight hand grips so no one was lost.

Near the end of training our full Quito staff (12 of us) took two nights to go on retreat together. To spend time all sleeping in the same house, talking through our goals and values for the year, how our strengths work together and how we can function in unity, how we can use both invitation and challenge to foster students' relationships with Jesus. We spent solo time in God's word every morning and came back together to talk about what God had showed us. We ate sandwiches, chochos and coconut cookies for lunch. We played hours and hours of spike ball whenever we weren't in sessions. And our last night we all went to Crepes & Waffles together where EBB and I downed our coconut lemonades, ate too much chicken tikka crepe and goat cheese, basil salad but managed to eat fudgy ice cream for dessert anyway. 

 

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New Living & Learning swag from Phil: LLI sunglasses

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My quiet time corner

 

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Student Life staff at La Ronda (oldest street in Quito)

 

And then!! Just as training was ending we had 30 students land over the course of 12 hours. This is such a fun time of the semestser as the next morning we are all together for Orientation Breakfast. We eat delicious pumpkin bread, quiche and more and then we all gather on the roof to worship God through music. As staff I look around at these new faces, logging names I learned in my head, and eagerly anticipated how sweet relationships will become as we live, work, learn together and how sweet some of the stories of what Jesus has done in them this semester will be.

 

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Our first chapel dinner staff cooked together, using our new LLI aprons.

 

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The sweet 30 faces and 11 staff members God has placed together to grow together this semester. Our first night on the town!

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