The month of November was a busy one for many a JW. We were no exception. Our territory here is quite large, including the whole Loja province, and the neighboring Zamora-Chinchipe province. We quickly finished our territory here in the city of Loja. By the third week of the month we decided to travel to some other towns out in the provinces. First off were the small towns of Vilcabamba and Malacatos. You can check out our previous blog about Vilcabamba to learn about what a nice little spot it is. But Elena and I went to Malalcatos for the first time in November.
Malacatos is a really
beautiful spot just over the mountain fromVilcabamba.It is actually a few miles closer to the city of Loja.
As Vilcabamba is a popular spot for visiting foreigners, Malacatos is a popular spot for wealthier Ecuadorians to have a second home. We noticed a lot of beautiful homes while we were in the ministry there.
There are some beautiful homes in Malacatos
Next up we took a day trip to Catacocha. We really liked Catacocha. It is a picturesque little town that sets right on the peak of a small mountain. The people are all very friendly, and we were told it was very safe. Many locals leave there doors open during the day, while they go to the town center, or the market. There is no fear of thieves. Being that it is on the top of a mountain, the views were amazing, but walking was more difficult, as it was a constant up and down. We meant the group of friends from the small spanish congregation right after their meeting for field service. We met a few deaf and got a positive response. After service we went to the house of a pioneer couple and enjoyed a great lunch. Along with the 6 of us from Loja, two pioneer couples from the congregation ate with us. The conversation moved fast among all the hearing spanish friends, and Elena and I in our limited spanish found it difficult to keep up, but we enjoyed the experience none the less. The one couple had just been assigned here as specials by the branch after they finished couples school. There is a lot of need in spanish in this part of the country. We would visit Catacocha more often, but it is about 4 hours there on the bus.
Later that week we took a trip the other direction into the Zamora-
Chinchipe province, which lies in the Amazon region of the country. There are a few deaf living in the city of Zamora, which is the capital of the province. There are actually two deaf publishers there in the small congregation. We had meant one of these sisters, and stayed with her during our trip to Guayaquil for the Sign District Convention. What a beautiful trip it was out towards Zamora and back. Like most roads in the area it winded among grand mountains, but we found the flora to be greener. We passed countless waterfalls on our way there and back. We wished we could have taken more pictures, but unfortunately the bus doesn’t stop for eager first time visiter gringos to “get a good shot”. We met the friends at the small kingdom hall, and after a field service group, we headed out. We meant a few responsive deaf, and enjoyed our time with the friends. I ended up with a young brother in the local hall, and was really excited when we were able to converse during the whole walk. He said “hablas español muy bien” (you speak spanish really good ) This was a first. I’m sure that a little more time with me, and he would retract his statement. It is definitely easier one on one, then in a group. (see previous paragraph)
After the mooring in service we headed to a nearby river. We found a beautiful spot under a bridge, and enjoyed the cool water. Marcos and Eyvin even jumped in in their dress pants! I couldn’t get myself to go that far, as I was thinking of the 2 hour bus ride home in wet clothes. I thought of an old nickname of mine (Buzzkill Broadbent)
The ministry can take you to some great places, and there is no shortage of people to witness too, why not have some fun along the way!