Underway in San Isidro

I arrived in San Isidro last Wednesday, and have been going non-stop since. Between sharing in the church services and liturgies, and visiting families and villages, it's all a crash course in getting to know everyone. I'm living in the local church/parish house with Fr. Oscar, and have been teaching and preaching in the religious education and some services. There are 46 villages in San Isidro, here's a list:

 A list of all the villages in San Isidro

A list of all the villages in San Isidro

In the photos below, Fr. Oscar and I put together some navidades for the religious ed teachers for their Christmas gathering. They come from a lot of the villages to teach religious ed on the weekends. Overall, it took about 2 hours to make 100 navidades...

The other night, I was able to share briefly with a community celebrating the one-year anniversary of a deceased elderly woman. In the reflection I gave, I noted that I had never met the woman, but now I can get to know her through them. It is difficult, the life here (meaning rural Ecuador, wherever you go). People have great difficulty being open about difficult things, and usually repress everything. It leads to a fatalistic, miserable moving forward in life with the inability to accept weightier realities like death. The encouragement I give is to share stories about the deceased, and I try to listen....

There are many homes here in San Isidro that have written on them "Unsafe" by what appears to be a government inspection. The community is still early in the stages of rebuilding, though you do see new construction here and there.

Anyway, I may be heading out to a village or two this week to help prepare for Christmas, and internet access might be off and on, so have a great week and I'll keep updating!