Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) "Vision Trip" to
Ecuador, June 2008
Charles Dickens was on to something when he penned the words, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times".
male waterfountains
Things started to look a little odd before we even left the US!
Male and female water fountains?! What next?
female waterfountains
"from here to here"
While the purpose of our trip was to see MAF operations and discover if mission aviation was God's desire for us, we still succumbed to a little tourism.
A little geography lesson before we delve into the details of our trip...

(mouse over the pictures for more information)
several thousand feet deep, they say
typical street in a rural Ecuadorian town
the crowd. Pam and Brian, our fearless leaders are next to us.
LUNCH! The food was a bit unexpected...
On day 2, our hearts began to stretch. It's one thing to read about poverty, and entirely another to spend time in its midst.
Carrying the responsibilities of Mom at a very young age.
Look at the funny man behind the camera!
The hill at the edge of Ecuador's capital city of Quito is peopled with the poor who couldn't afford more liveable land. They finally have electicity now, and they have the church that we went to. It was started rather by accident when Pam began a Bible class for kids and several hundred showed up. Today many of the kids, like the little girl on the right above, come every week with their siblings, but adults in the church don't know where they live or who their parents are.
"Uno, dos, tres, jump!" Looking down from a typical road on this hillside
Yet on dirt roads beside mangy muts, laughter rings out from such simple joys as Jump Rope. And amidst the unfinished cinderblock houses, a splash of color stands out - some loving parent had hung Barney and Pooh out to dry.
run faster, silly person!
in the middle of it all
Then it was back to being a tourist, standing on the "middle of the earth" and being amazed at the antics of the "bull fighters". Having spent the morning with kids, we pondered our own empty nest.
The next day we left Quito for Shell, MAF's main base of operations in Ecuador. It is a country of amazing beauty and a people of amazing perseverence.
our "empty nest"
Hope that rusty cable holds - it's a long way down an a raging river! farming on a 45 degree angle
Powered by an engine that probably belonged in a car, the cable car saved villagers an hour of walking down this cliff, across the bridge (below) and up the other side. Meanwhile farmers braved terrain that would defeat whatever farm equipment might venture this far up.
how solid are those boards?
"deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfall" Psalm 42
Shortly before reaching Shell, we hiked to 2 waterfalls. At the base of the second, a "trail" wound around behind the torrent of water - now that's an experience! The "trail" involved crawling through a muddy tunnel carved into a rock cliff. It was worth it!
Typical "Alas de Socorro" tail flash
this is one of those pictures you can take when someone else is flying
The picture to the right is the MAF "compound". The three buildings on the top left and one on the top right are homes. Across the bottom are the hangar, the workshop and the fuel shelter. The large building across the street in the center is a piece of history: it is the Nate Saint house, home to many missionary families thoughout the 1900's and early 2000's. Termites are its only residents these days. We toured it during our first day in Shell. Back of the house is pictured to the right.
a standing memorial to people willing to do "whatever it takes"
Bottom dial is controlled the output from Nate's capacitors that powered the radio
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