As our airliner descended into Quito’s narrow valley, the downtown buildings were startlingly close below our plane. At the landing the passengers all burst into applause. We thought it was relief at a safe landing, but Jody’s Ecuadorean seat mate explained that it was tradition to clap upon arriving in Ecuador.
We were arriving for a three-week working vacation with HCJB Global at their Latin America Region headquarters. After years of dreaming and months of searching, it was time for a visit, the last step in our “What Next?” process.
After 31 years as a CPA, Scott was retiring from public accounting. Our search was for a Christian missions organization which could use Scott’s accounting expertise. HCJB Global seemed like the right fit — was this where God was sending us?
Our three weeks flew by. We had lots of rain, and people teased that we brought it with us from Oregon. We had sun, too, and electrical storms. We visited the coast and boogie-boarded in a warm Pacific Ocean. We traveled east to the edge of the Amazon jungle. One of the few disappointments was never glimpsing even one of the three snow-capped volcanoes that rise to the east of Quito (and are visible on a clear day).
But most of our time was spent volunteering in north central Quito at the headquarters for HCJB Global’s media and healthcare ministries in Latin America. Quito is a city of approximately 2 million people in a high Andean valley. At 9,350 feet above sea level, it is the second highest capital in the world (surpassed only by La Paz, Bolivia at 12,087 feet). We were heartened that we didn’t suffer from altitude sickness and that we were noticeably better acclimatized by the end of our stay.
HCJB Global started in Quito 80 years ago as the world’s first missionary radio station (HCJB are the call letters of the original station). Now active in over 100 countries, it seeks to spread the good news of Jesus Christ through the creative use of media while also ministering to physical needs by providing health care and community development. We were impressed with HCJB Global’s strategy of partnering with other organizations and equipping locals so that their programs are self-supporting.
We were encouraged by the many missionaries we met, their dedication to serving the people of Latin America, and the welcome we received. We returned to Oregon, excited about what God is doing in Ecuador and through the worldwide ministry of HCJB Global. About a week later we purposed to make Quito our new home!